Everything New
(This interview is provided by Thomas Bonnicel )

The fantastic album ‘The Gallery’ made them quite well-known in the progressive melodic death metal scene, ‘The Mind’s I’ confirmed their talent, and now that they have changed both label and musical direction, we needed some explanations about Dark Tranquillity’s intentions. Which is why I talked with the very friendly Mikael (vocals) in Strasbourg’s ‘La Laiterie’, during their tour with In Flames, Children Of Bodom and Arch Enemy. Let’s see what this cool Star Wars/Video games/Internet addict has to tell…

You have just released your new album, ‘Projector’. Please tell us more about it.

It’s our fourth on Century Media, it has been very difficult for us, but it’s also the most personal one. We wanted to do something like that for a long time, and this time, we have been able to do it. We’re really happy about every song, it works very good with the label. We thought “nobody is gonna like it, our old fans are gonna hate it”, but we just felt we loved it.

You have added a lot of keyboards and female vocals too. Is that a choice willingly made, or did it just come like that when you wrote the songs?

We wanted to do a different album, we had no idea what to do, we said to each other “let’s just see what happens, just take everything we have, all our ideas, take them in the rehearsal room and see what comes out, be totally honest without saying that we’re gonna do a progressive album or whatever. Just do what we felt”. And when I started writing the lyrics of the songs, I wanted to change my vocals as well…

But don’t you think that you are now more conventional? I mean, ‘The Gallery’ was something never made before…

Yeah…I don’t know…perhaps. But I think it’s not a complex album, it’s easy to get into it. The tempo has slowed a bit, it’s more accessible now.

OK. You signed with Century Media. Why did you choose them?

We decided after having recorded ‘Projector’ that we needed to release it through a new label. We were on Osmose before, who were excellent, but we felt we needed something new. Osmose have their style, and we said “lt’s just see if we can’t get something else”. Our manager sent copies to different labels, everybody was so excited, we negociated a lot. It took some time, which was really scary, because of all this changes. And eventually, Century Media was the coolest option, they were open-minded, understood what we had to say, and they have a great way of promoting stuff.

So, you also mean that you don’t have bad relations with Osmose? You haven’t been fired or anything?

No, no. Osmose paid for the recording, but we have been totally honest with them. We wanted to change, we told them that we were going to go with another label, and so we paid for the recording, because we had a new contract. There were some hard feelings at first, but finally, we had nothing but good things with them, and we still love them.

Your evolution is something you chose, but when we see how Samaлl and Moonspell evolved after having signed with Century Media, we ask ourselves if they said something about your evolution in the future?

No, they said nothing. It has nothing to do with the label, it’s just that the bands who want to evolve in a new direction feel comfortable with Century Media, because they promote all kinds of music. They’re not only doing black metal, or death metal. They can do everything, and that’s why it’s great to be with them. We have two more recordings on our contract, and we can do whatever we like, without any problem. We can do what we want, and if we have that inspiration that we wanna change, we can do it.

Since the last album, you have had another line-up change. Why? And can you present us the new guys?

At the recording, we felt that our guitar player didn’t really give us enough time, he didn’t have enough time to rehearse, in fact he hated rehearsing, he didn’t like touring. So it was getting boring. So we said “it doesn’t really work. You have to give us more time or you leave”. And he had to leave. It was sad, because he is a good friend, but…So, we needed a guitar player, and as our bass player was also an excellent guitar player, he wrote some guitar parts, and so he just did it. And then, we needed a bass player. And the first one who came is an old friend of ours, he has played in Luciferion before, he’s been a fan of the band, and we told him that if he wanted to be in the band, he would have to spend some time with us. And he left his job. We have also always wanted a keyboard player in the band, and the new one is also an old friend of mine, but he never was in the music before.

You have recorded some covers in the past, like Metallica and Mercyful Fate. Will you record some more in the future?

Yes, I think so. We are gonna do some covers. The next one I think we are going to rehearse is a Radiohead song. And when you are asked to do a cover for a tribute record, it’s always a good way to get into the studio.

And do you think you will remix some other tracks, like you did on the ‘Enter Suicidal Angels’ MCD?

I’m not sure. Perhaps, if we do a sort of special release…

About the tour, how is it going?

Excellent! Way above all our expectations! It’s far better than the last tour we did, because it was so hard work…But this one is so much fun. Everybody is so cool, the crew is excellent, all the bands are good friends of us. We have two and a half more weeks, and it’s gonna be sad when we’ll be come home. We have an average of like 500-600 people every night, and it was even once sold out with about 1000 people. We’re really happy.

I also saw you in the Wacken Open Air. How was that for you?

Excellent! One of the highlights of summer, for sure. I really had a good time. We were there only half an hour before we got on stage. We got there, saw some friends of us backstage, and then we took our guitars and went on stage. We hadn’t even walked on it before! And there were friends of us everywhere in the audience, coming from Greece, Italy…And after the show, we had to take off, we didn’t have time to see anything else.

During this show, I realised you had changed your old songs, and readapted them. Why?

Just to make it more interesting. And also so that the keyboard player has something to do (laughs). But it’s just to make something more emotional, with a better sound. We can add melodies with keyboards now, I changed some vocal parts…That’s a new experience, it makes the songs feel more fresh.

But still, some old fans were a bit disappointed because of these changes…

Yes, I know. It’s not the same as on the album, but if we hadn’t made these changes, maybe we wouldn’t play those songs.

Would you have one last word for all the people who are going to read this?

I just wanna thank you for listening to our music, France has always been great for us. We are very happy from all the responses we had, thank you!