At The Gates

At The Gates don’t need an introduction. And if they do, then you’ve done this whole metal fan thing wrong from the start. We recently spoke with the band’s singer, Tomas Lindberg, about everything At The Gates, including their upcoming headline tour, and all things heavy metal.

How are you doing today, Tomas?

Pretty good man, we’re getting ready to go to South America.

Have you guys been to South America. I notice that nowadays a lot more metal bands are trying to get down to that part of the world.

Yeah, we’ve been there twice before. It’s one of those continents that is really enthusiastic (laughs). It’s a great place to play in as a death metal band.

That’s pretty cool. With those more ignored countries as far as tours go, do you think that when big metal bands like yourselves tour, you can draw such great crowds because they’re, as you say, so enthusiastic and hungry for those bands?

Yeah, definitely. I think with the Western world, and without sounding too negative, we are told to not be too passionate in our cultures. And I think that sometimes we forget about the passionate.

Yeah, I can understand that, and I see that in Australia. With touring, you guys will of course be here next month, and this is the first time back since 2012, so have you guys missed us at all?

You guys were a part of our reunion, and now that we are no longer a reunion band playing all the old hits and are back as a relevant contemporary band, it’s totally different for us. We loved reuniting but now it’s all on a different level. It’s more rewarding to go out there on a new record.

As this tour is for ‘At War With Reality’, have you guys been finding it hard to cater the set, with fans wanting both old songs off ‘Slaughter of The Soul’ and ‘The Red In The Sky Is Ours’ as well as all the new songs?

You know, it’s actually been not that much of a challenge. When we get to you guys we’ll have played about a hundred shows for this new record, the response has been fantastic. The songs merge into the set that it’s pretty seamless. They kind of bridge the gap between the melancholic older material and thrashy, more aggressive Slaughter of The Soul material. From day one, since we did the first show for this album in late 2014, in Finland, the fans have just been eating out of our hands. It’s been really good (laughs).

Ah, that’s awesome to hear.

Yeah, and we always play some of the old songs. The back catalogue is difficult as there’s so much of it. It’s hard to bring out songs from all of the records as we have new up-to-date songs in our heads. We always play one song from one record, and then another song from that same release at the next show, just to keep it interesting for ourselves.

Right on, man. Do you think some bands, both new and old can get a bit lazy with playing the same sets for multiple tours?

It’s kind of a fine line. There are always the songs that you can’t not play. Then you have to bring other songs out to please those select few people. We always experiment with the order of the set, to get the right flow, but some songs almost flow seamlessly from one to another. So certain songs come after others as it’s like they were meant to go together.

In terms of countries and their history, I’d say that Sweden has one of the richest histories of metal bands, so what are your thoughts on our own country and its metal scene?

For me, it’s never been about where the bands are from, as there’s always different scenes popping up in different cities and countries. I think you have one of the more interesting bands, which is Portal.

Ah yes, Portal are a… very interesting band.

We saw them play not too long ago, and their live show was insane.

Fuck, is it ever. With yourself, Tomas, do you find it interesting that you’re considered one of metal’s best vocalists and front men among fans and the industry?

Oh no, never. But you always push yourself to be as good as possible. But I see myself more as a fan, than as a musician or as a performer and maybe that’s how it comes across to others (chuckles).

Well said. Finally, with this Australian tour, you’re playing in some very intimate venues, so I wanted to know your preference – festival shows or those smaller clubs?

It’s two different worlds, really. If you’re playing a really huge festival like in Europe somewhere, it’s interesting to see if you can control such a big crowd. It’s quite some job. But if you have you a smaller audience in a club, then everything happens more instantly. The intimacy really makes the energy quicker. I remember that the last time we where there was in Perth, and that club was totally crazy. I had no power over it, it was just totally out of control. It was awesome.

I remember some of those shows being pretty hectic. Thanks for your time today, Tomas, it’s been really good to speak with you. I hope the tour goes really well dude.

Hey, no worries man, and hopefully we’ll see you at one of the shows.

At War With Reality’ is out now.

Catch the band touring nationally this October. Details via Metropolis.

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