Interview by Jordan Sibberas
Since forming in 1990, Sweden’s death metal heavyweights At The Gates have relentlessly burnt the melodic death metal sound into the minds of headbangers worldwide. In 2019, they bring their furious sounds down under with fellow Swedes The Haunted and Witchery for what will prove to be an impressive evening of Scandinavian heaviness. Jordan from Music Injection sat down with Martin Larsson to discuss the tour
Jordan: How are you looking forward to the tour?
Martin: Oh yeah, we always are! I think it’s our third time, and we’re looking forward to it very much. We have a good relationship with Australia. For me personally, I started writing to bands around 1990 or so, and I feel like myself and the band have had a great relationship with Australia. The hospitality there is also really great.
J: Without giving too much away, what can the Aussie fans expect from the tour?
M: We try to work out a good blend of the new material, that still feels like a solid blend of At The Gates. Plus, the usual live energy, and a bunch of excited swedes playing metal!
J: Doesn’t get much better than that! Speaking of Swedes, how did the awesome package with The Haunted and Witchery come about?
M: This time, it’s more like a family tour, because we’re all interconnected in one way or another. It’s a pleasant thing to do, kind of like a school vacation. It doesn’t really change how we approach playing as a band, but if you have bands playing that you really enjoy, it does kind of drive me personally to do better myself.
J: Since To Drink From The Night Itself was released, how have you found the new songs have been received live?
M: I feel like it’s been good! We as a band feel like the new songs blend in really well, like the setlists are coherent. From the reception from the crowd, it feels like we’ve been making it work.
J: To Drink From The Night Itself is the first album to have Jonas Björler on guitar, how has having a new member changed the live dynamic of the band?
M: It’s worked really well! It is strange; we’ve been playing with Anders off and on for thirty years or so, so its something you have to mentally adapt to. But playing wise, it’s just like before, and we’re happy we found him. Actually, re-found him, because he’s an old friend of ours from the ‘80s. It worked out in a very good way. We didn’t audition someone new so I can’t compare what that would be like, but I’m sure that we did it the right way.
J: Considering then how “locked in” the guitars are in your songs, do you find you also need to be “locked in” with the guy playing the other guitar parts to make it work properly?
M: I’m not sure! Maybe, and that’s what we kind of try to do. We aren’t the best players, but we do pride ourselves on being as tight as possible.
J: On a different note, since the 1980s, how have you seen the death metal scene change around you?
M: Mostly I grew out of death metal in the late ‘90s, when it became very clinical and lifeless. I’ve always been a metalhead though, but at the same time I’d get bored if I only listened to it. At that time I drifted towards punk, hardcore, and crust, because those scenes felt vibrant and honest then Now, the metal scene has bounced back, but it took me a few years to catch up, and now I’m still backtracking. It takes a while too, I have a full decade to catch up on! I’m not complaining though, it’s much better to be struggling to hear the good stuff than to hear shit all over!
J: I have to ask, is the Scandinavia being full of metalheads and bands true?
M: That may be the case in the commercial sense, but I’ve always drifted more towards the underground. There are a lot of metalheads around, it’s like the ‘80s again! Especially in Finland, every other person has a band shirt and is wearing black! All in all, I’d say the scene is super healthy. That said, I’m missing the more established bands to be honest. For instance, if we weren’t recently touring with Behemoth, I might have missed them, because there’s so much they’ve done to keep up with, but that’s another reason I love touring with bands like themselves.
J: Would you like to mention anything else?
M: We’re very much looking forward to coming back to Australia and I hope the fans are keen for us too! We might have a few hours for the tourist thing too, which might be good, Australia is very exotic for us.
Tickets to The Ultimate Triple Bill Kill can be purchased at: https://hardlinemedia.net/tickets