Guitarist, Artist Niklas Sundin Reflects On Metal Cruise And Chimes In On North American Tour
Band Photo: Dark Tranquillity (?)
Dark Tranquillity has stayed busy since releasing "Construct" last year. Among this promotion is a tour with Darkane (support in Sweden) and Tristinia in 2013 and the heavy metal cruise, 70,000 Tons of Metal at the beginning of this year. The group is currently travelling throughout North America with Omnium Gatherum and Exmortus in support.
Although At The Gates, In Flames and Dissection appeared in North American venues before their Gothenburg brethren, DT has proved the most enduring. In addition to maintaining the same core members since the beginning, DT has (arguably) remained closer to its original sound than these titanic artists, albeit a denser, more synthetic version than heard upon onset. Goth/industrial sounds have pushed aside black and death metal tendencies. Still, the band acknowledges the worth of these early recordings, as evidenced streaming their first two recordings "Skydancer" and "Of Chaos And Eternal Night" on Bandcamp.
This topic as extensive travel plans, new tour merch, rejoicing with In Flame's alumni and the lasting effect of early recordings are addressed in the following interview with guitarist/artist/core member, Niklas Sundin.
Rex_84: Welcome back from the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. Did you have a good time on the boat?
Niklas Sundin: Definitely! It’s very special and unique place and it’s always a great experience playing on a the ship.
Rex_84: Dark Tranquillity played on the first 70,000 Tons cruise in 2011. Do you feel the cruise has improved in any way in these four years?
Niklas Sundin: Hard to say; the basic setup is the same and things were just as professional back then as they were now. Of course one can’t expect optimal sound conditions on a cruise ship, and there’s always a randomness factor (for example, the pool deck stage had to be closed down the last day because of rain and thunderstorms), but everything was always very well handled.
Rex_84: Fans in Australia, Greece and Japan have a chance to see you perform this spring. How do you feel about playing these places? I hear very good things about how bands are treated in Japan.
Niklas Sundin: We’re very much looking forward to those shows. We visit Greece and Japan on every touring cycle, but for some reason we haven’t been in Australia since 2006 so that will be a great experience. Yes, Japan is always awesome for bands. You won’t get a more professional and flawless treatment anywhere, so it’s a nice change from certain other places where it’s a struggle to get things set up for a proper show.
Rex_84: Are you excited to hook up with old friends in The Resistance again?
Niklas Sundin: Definitely! They’re a great addition to the bill, and a lot of Japanese fans are eager to see Jesper and Glenn playing together again.
Rex_84: How have your crowds received the material from "Construct?" How is this album holding up in regards to past material?
Niklas Sundin: The response has been really good. We've done about 50 shows in support of the new album, and the “Construct” tracks really blend in well with the rest of the catalog. We’re still trying different songs out and try to make a good mix of old and new. So far I’d say that “The science of noise” and “What only you know” are my live faves, but that changes from time to time.
Rex_84: Dark Tranquillity has been on tour in North America since late January. How is the tour going so far?
Niklas Sundin: The shows themselves have been great. We've had some practical problems (bus breakdowns, lost passports, lost merch shipments) that took some time and energy to overcome, but hopefully things will be smooth from now on.
Rex_84: Omnium Gatherum and Exmortus join you on this jaunt. In your statement on the tour, you refer to both bands as "good buddies." Have you toured with these bands before? How do you know them?
Niklas Sundin: I haven’t read statement myself, but we’ve toured with Omnium Gatherum several times before (first time was in 2007 when they supported us on a small UK run) and they’re a great bunch of dudes. We hadn’t met Exmortus before this trip, but they’re really cool people and a truly excellent band, so we couldn’t be more happy with the billing.
Rex_84: Fans can purchase the 7" "A Memory Construct" EP at each stop of the tour. What led you to created this record? Do you feel vinyl is becoming a major component of any band's merchandise?
Niklas Sundin: Well, we always end up recording more songs that what we can fit on an album, and for that reason we’re happy whenever there is a chance to get those additional songs out there to the listeners. The 7” release was actually the record label’s idea. People talk a lot about the return of vinyl, and while there’s a certain truth to that, it’s still just a tiny part of the whole. I guess that the real vinyl fans and rabid collectors will try to get hold of the 7”, but I’m not sure if it’s that interesting to the average fan. We’ll see; the delivery of the singles got delayed, so we actually haven’t began selling them yet.
Rex_84: "Sorrow's Architect" also appeared on a Decibel flexi disc. It could also be heard on Metal Sucks.net. Why did you decide to release it in two formats?
Niklas Sundin: The Decibel flexi was too good of an offer to say no to. We’re avid fans of the magazine and have known some of the people involved since the early ‘90s, so it was a great honour to be featured there. Also, it was a good way of making the song available shortly after the full length album was out as opposed to having to wait until now.
Rex_84: A few months ago you streamed your early mini CD "Of Chaos And Eternal Night" on your Bandcamp page. Why do think this album has held up so well (20 years). Are there any memories associated with this album when you hear it now?
Niklas Sundin: Hmm...hard to say. I think that the production really turned out well, especially given the short amount of time that we had. Also - without wanted to sound like a complete egomaniac - the material was really ahead of its time. Back then, it was very rare to incorporate the traditional melodic metal elements to death metal, so it took a few years for people to catch up with what we were doing. As for memories, I mainly recall being stressed out during the recording but still thinking that the studio was so much better than where we had recorded our debut album two years earlier.
Rex_84: After this tour, what comes next? Will you picking up a pen and a guitar again to make more new music before hitting the road again?
Niklas Sundin: We’ll be busy touring until April or May, with very little time at home, so I don’t think that we’ll start writing new music just yet. Maybe it’ll be time to start thinking about the next album after the summer festivals are over, but at this point we just take one step at a time.
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