AT THE GATES – The official story of At the Gates is over
Etter at AT THE GATES tok en reunion turne i 2008, som også inkluderte Bergen og Hole in the Sky, har bandets gitarist Anders Björler jobbet med å få gitt ut en At The Gates DVD. Denne er nå ferdig og blir å finne i butikkene fra og med februar i år. Det blir en trippel DVD som blant annet inkluderer bandets Wacken reunion gig i 2008, en 130 minutters dokumentar om bandet og haugevis med bilder og tidligere uutgitte ting. Total spilletid er på rundt 5 timer og her kan du lese hva Anders selv sier om DVD-en og andre tanker rundt AT THE GATES.
To kick off the interview, please state your name and what your role in At The Gates was?
I am Anders, the guitar player. It's also me who made the documentary and produced the DVD.
The new DVD, "The Flames of the End" is coming out on February 22nd, what can viewers expect from this DVD? Can you briefly explain what you get if you buy the DVD?
It's a box set consisting of 3 DVD's. It includes a documentary (130 minutes), the Wacken reunion show 2008 and a lot of old (and new) shows captures on tape. There's also all the music videos, deleted scenes etc, so the actual playing time is around 5 hours. There's also a huge collage of old and new pictures inside the booklet.
All in all, we are very happy with the outcome.
Is the DVD a last gift for the fans, both old and new, or can any death metal fan enjoy this DVD without any prior knowledge to the band?
The documentary is about the whole story of the band, but it could relate to the most people out there. You don't have to know anything about At the Gates beforehand.
This DVD is pretty much a combined effort to be some sort of definite collection box, but if it's the last thing we ever release? I don't know. We still have the Sweden shows from 2008 professionally filmed, but we haven't edited those yet.
Was it important for the band to make this DVD as a final effort as band before you draw the line as a band and end At The Gates one last time?
Yes, I think it was very important. First off, At the Gates never released a DVD in the past. The documentary took me 2 years to finish, and has given us all the perfect ‘going away present'; also for the fans. There's a lot you probably didn't know about ATG that is now told thru the documentary.
Disc 3 on the DVD contains 26 live songs from 10 different locations all over the world, how was those songs and locations chosen?
The bootlegs out there are all pretty bad quality, so we wanted to cover that field too; getting in touch with people who had the original tapes from back in the day.
We mainly chose the best sounding and the best looking shows we could get hold of.
Unfortunately, getting hold of the old shows was very hard, but we managed to get a few.
Some of the shows are only in the documentary for instance since the quality wasn't the best. We tried to compile the songs to get a good spread of songs, and also try to cover the whole era of the band.
Will there be any more releases from At The Gates, for example a best of album or an album with previously unreleased material?
As far as ‘Best of', or compilation albums, we can't control that. It's up to the record labels. We usually try to co-operate though to ensure the product meet our standards.
We have some more material from the reunion shows in Sweden that we didn't finish in time for deadline. But we'll see what the future holds.
"Slaughter Of The Soul" is primarily responsible for making At The Gates an iconic band in the death metal scene and together with Dark Tranquility and In Flames responsible for establishing the Gothenburg Metal Scene, how did you experience the success the album gave At The Gates?
It wasn't really a success when it came out. All the hype came after we broke up. I am of course proud of SOTS, and I think it's a very special album. It has inspired a lot of people, and a lot of bands, so I am happy to have made something that serves as an inspiration for people.
When I think of lines on different At The Gates songs that have really stuck with me and that describes what I feel At The Gates was all about, I think of lines like "I feel my soul go cold, only the dead are smiling" and "Children of chaos – born of holocaust seed Inherit the addiction, angels of genocide breed" just to mention a few. What lines do you remember from At The Gates songs that have really stuck with you and that you feel describes what At The Gates was all about?
The lyrics were never really important to me. I know Tomas writes great lyrics, and I enjoy that, but for me it has always been about the music. I feel the same way when listening to other kinds of music. I don't really care about lyrics. I care more about the phrasing and rhythm in the vocals than the actual lyrics themselves.
When At The Gates first started out the death metal genre was quite new, what inspired you and the rest of the band to make the music you did? If any bands inspired you, could you name a few and how they inspired you?
We were very inspired by the Death Metal bands at that time: Autopsy, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Death, Carcass etc.. At first, I and Jonas were mostly into Thrash Metal like METALLICA or SLAYER. When we met Tomas everything changed, and we got into the world of Death Metal.
Metallica inspired me to play guitar, but Morbid Angel inspired me to start a band of my own.
If you could take an At The Gates song and make a new cover version with a new band, who would it be and why would it be that song?
Probably some of the older songs, just trying to play it better, and give it justice.
I like "The Break of Autumn" and "Neverwhere" a lot, so maybe on of those?
How much, if any, has the success you experienced with At The Gates shaped you and the decisions you've made as a musicians in your career after At The Gates?
Like I said before, it wasn't a success back then. We were happy if there were 100 people
in the crowd. All the hype came after we broke up, because suddenly everybody wanted a piece of At the Gates, something they couldn't have. Anyway, the stresses of the touring we did in 1996 led to my decision to leave the band. I continued in THE HAUNTED, mainly enjoying the pressure-free environment in the rehearsal room writing songs, and not caring about the outside world, record labels or anything.
I'm sure you've been asked this a million times, but is there any chance of an At The Gates reunion further down the line or was the tour in 2008 the final tour, no chance of further tours?
Right now it's definitely over. We will never record any new material. But, if we decide to play at someone's wedding – that's another story. The official story of At the Gates is over.
There are a lot of bands from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's touring with a limited amount of original members, has the band made an agreement so that won't happen to At The Gates or is it open season if one or more members wanted to do that?
It wouldn't be At the Gates if some of us did that. If that would be the case, the rest of the guys probably would have continued without me in 1996, but they didn't since they knew it wouldn't have worked…….
Before we end the interview is there anything you feel like sharing with anyone who is reading this interview?
Thanks for reading the whole interview 🙂 – Check out ‘The Flames of the End" DVD box set if you have the chance.
Thanks a lot for the interview and good luck for the future.