Interview with At The Gates: The Soul’s Swan Song

It is sort of a mythos; you have a band that puts out this record and then breaks up, but it becomes this iconic album that turns out to be a great record, and they haven’t done anything since.

Yeah. I compared it to the new Exodus recording. I haven’t really gotten into the new material, I haven’t really listened to it, but I’m pretty damn sure that it’s so much more well-played and even probably more well-composed than Bonded By Blood, their legendary record. It’s probably like 10,000 times better, quality-wise, but it’s still not Bonded By Blood for me.

You’re never going to like it as much.

This was a record I listened to when I was 14- years-old, and that kind of special feeling it gives to you, that historic bonus you get, it responds to a certain part of your primal brain.

Does that seem to be the age range that is coming out to the shows, like people who are 25-years-old?

Yeah, it’s even the fans, new fans, that weren’t even around at the time—they listened to it probably when they were 10 or 15-years-old, and now they have a totally different perception of the band that we may have had when we did the record. I think it’s easy for a band like us to leave it like that. Live, you don’t get that kind of judgment. Live, we’re what we were in ’96 when we broke up, with a bit better quality, because we’ve been playing for all these years, honing our skills a bit.

Has your approach to playing the songs live changed?

No, not really. It was really natural after the first rehearsals, how the songs came back into their natural sound, immediately. The way that we play them now is exactly the way we played them then. Most of the songs have a really easy song structure; they kind of take over and speak for themselves than the actual technique of playing. The songs have their own life, and we’re just the players doing it (laughs).

Is there a big production planned?

We’ll always be what I would call a t-shirt-and- jeans kind of band, so there’s no big show or anything like that, no smoke machines and lasers (laughs). That’s not really what we are about. We’ve always been more of a punk/hardcore band in that sense. Basically, me personally, and I think the guys would agree, the way we put the bill together, being a bit more hardcore- oriented bill, makes it more honest to where we are and where we were as a band when we broke up, a more natural way of looking at it, without all the surface.

In metal, you have more surface. Honesty and heart were our main focus all the time. Inviting Darkest Hour, Municipal Waste and Tortured Holocaust to the bill, it’s really giving it less surface than usual metal shows might get. Today, I feel the metal and hardcore genres are once again reconnecting as they were in the mid-‘80s, even though the metalcore of those days were probably better than the metalcore of the day (laughs), but that’s a matter of taste I guess.