When metal outsiders think of the massively influential Swedish death metal scene, Dark Tranquillity co-founder and vocalist Mikael Stanne is probably not be the type of person they'd expect. Stanne is not intimidating,abrasive or angry. Instead, he has a very positive attitude, which is difficult to reconcile with the stereotype of death metal as a violent genre of music.
Stanne doesn't even have an attitude about being frontman in such a well-established band, and perhaps that's because he acts like he's been there. Dark Tranquility is currently touring in support of its latest effort, 2013's Construct. In advance of the band's Valentine's Day show tomorrow night at the Bluebird Theater, we caught up with Stanne at a tour stop just outside Chicago for a quick chat.
How is this North American tour going?
It's been amazing. It's been really cool and different every night. It's been a while since the last time we were here, so it's very exciting to come back. We're halfway through this North American leg of the tour, and looking forward to nice weather in the south.
It's not nice where you are in Joliet?
It's super cold but nice.
Are you happy with the fan response to Construct?
Oh yeah for sure. At first, it was polarizing because it's different from all the other releases, but people love these new songs. It's the greatest compliment we get every night. I couldn't be more happy.
I know it hasn't even been a year yet, but do you have plans for another album?
Not really, right now. We're excited to come back, but perhaps in January of next year, we'll sit down and discuss what is next. It's going to be really exciting. The writing for Construct was so interesting and so smooth; we will come right back to it.
Are you excited about Team Sweden in the Winter Olympics?
Honestly, I don't follow it that much. I'm not a sports guy. I can kinda watch it and sports are always on, but I don't even know who is playing. I have no idea [laughs]. I love to watch the fans, like people going nuts at soccer games.
So you like to watch the fans more than sport?
Yeah, especially if Sweden goes to the finals in soccer.
Do you observe fans as much as the band when you see a concert?
I do. I love it. I love standing on stage and seeing it. When I go to a show, I want that feeling to be there as well.
What makes a show exciting to you?
Just passion, seeing fans having fun, getting into it and having that connection with the audience. All those things click, and it can be magical.
We recently legalized recreational marijuana in Denver. Would you consider smoking some here?
No, I'm not a weed guy. I'm a beer drinker, but I support it. I think people should be able to do whatever they want. Basically. I'm excited to see what will happen next, and I follow it on the news.
We do have many breweries here in Denver and all over the state, do you plan to visit any of them?
I do. I have some places already mapped out.
Should someone bring their date to Dark Tranquillity on Valentine's Day?
Fuck yeah! It can't get more romantic than that!
Will you play some slow dance tunes? "Lady in Red"?
Uh, I don't know [laughs]