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Niklas Sundin Interview

A Conversation With The Laethora and Dark Tranquillity Guitarist

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Niklas Sundin Interview
Laethora is a new band, and March Of The Parasite is their debut album, but this is a group of metal veterans. It includes Dark Tranquillity guitarist Niklas Sundin, along with vocalist Jonatan Nordenstam, guitarist Joakim Rosén, bassist Jonnie Tell and drummer Joel Lindell. I talked to Sundin about the new project and album, how he got started in music and much more.

Chad Bowar: How did Laethora come together?
Niklas Sundin: It mainly started with me and Joakim talking about playing harsh and intense music together a few years ago, and from there it slowly evolved into a real band. The main idea was to create something very organic and gritty sounding that would differ from most of today's lifeless and overly clinical death metal productions. More dirt under the fingernails, so to say.

What does the band name mean?
It's our own little secret for now, but these has been a lot of online activity from people trying to solve this little cipher of ours. The most daring suggestion is that it's a mixture of Latin and Swedish. Might be true, might not...

What can fans expect soundwise from this album?
Uncompromising death/grind brutality with a slightly eccentic approach. The sound of rusty nails driven through the heart of the world while one-eyed S/M gimps in Emperor shirts whip themselves silly under showers of clown blood and red wine.

How did you decide on the title March Of The Parasite?
It's taken from the chorus in "Parasite" - the first song we ever wrote - and simply felt like a suitable title that sums up the lyrical matter in a good way. In addition, it has a good ring to it.

What are your expectations, both in Europe and the US?
The whole idea behind this band is to create good music for our own enjoyment. If people like it and feel that the album is worth investing in, it's of course great, but it's not like we have to conquer the world or expect to become masters of the universe. In other words, there isn't any huge list of expectations apart from the hope that the album gets well distributed so that everyone that is interested will be able to get their dirty hands on it.

Do you see the band as a continuing project, or just a one off side album?
It's a real band that rehearses and will release more albums in the future.

Do you plan on touring or doing any live shows with Laethora?
We'll see what's possible given everyone's ultra busy schedule, but we definitely will play live as soon as the possibility arises. As for tours, it will largely depend on the interest from the promoters and booking agents. There's no pressure; we'll see what the options are and how we can combine eventual live activities with all the other obligations that are floating around.

What can we expect from the upcoming Dark Tranquillity album Fiction?
Diversity, dedication and lots of screaming.

What are you most and least favorite things about the US?
I'll limit this to music related stuff. The least favorite thing would be that the venues (with the exception of the House of Blues chain and some other places) are of lower standard than in Europe. PA systems, lights, food and so forth are worse that what we're used to, so it's all a bit more punk rock-ish (which actually can have its charm as well). But it's a shame that the US audiences generally get to see the bands under substandard conditions, unless they're huge enough to afford to bring in all the extras. My favorite thing is that the audience is really supportive, and I like the fact that hard work usually pays off. Also, for us lazy Swedes it's always amazing to hear of people that have driven for hours and hours only to catch a show.

What was the first concert you attended as a fan?
I think it was an Iron Maiden/Helloween show here in Gothenburg back in '87 or '88. I probably had seen some concerts before, but this was the first one that I went to out of real interest.

How did you get started in music?
We were basically a group of friends involved in tape trading and the whole underground scene, and the logical result of that interest was to learn to play an instrument and form a band. We decided who should play what and then went ahead and began rehearsing, without any previous musical experience whatsoever. Needless to say, we truly sucked in the beginning, but after a few months of work, a sound of our own began to emerge.

Was there a song or album that inspired you to want to perform music?
Not as such, but there were some bands that were more important than others. I remember Sabbat's History Of A Time To Come being a huge trigger for forming a band with a certain level of seriousness and devotion. Other than that, artists like Morbid Angel, Kreator, Forbidden, Merciless and Sadus played an important role, as well as lots of classical and traditional music.

What was the worst job you ever had?
I've never really done honest work; it has either been studies or music or my graphic design business. But of course some of the conditions you encounter when touring wouldn't be out of place in a series like "America's dirtiest jobs".

What CD do you own that people might be surprised about?
Most people that know me as a musician probably also know that my tastes are pretty eclectic. You'll find everything from classical music to 80's pop to industrial to electronica to extreme metal in there. Maybe the biggest surprise would be that I don't own a lot of CDs as all, and that I have everything in MP3 format.

What's the biggest misconception your fans or friends have about you?
I honestly don't know. I'm a pretty private person and don't discuss personal matters in interviews, so there really aren't many things that people assume or misunderstand. If anything, I've noticed that more and more (younger) people approach this sort of music as being some "hip" or "cool" entertainment thing and expect us to be some kind of crazy-ass, hell raisin' rockers instead of the aging geeks with bowel problems that we truly are.

What's the best advice someone gave you?
"Trying is the first step towards failure." - Homer J.Simpson

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