Interview with Mikael Sandorf (guitar)
Interview conducted by Scott Murray
Date online: July 15, 2003
Congratulations on the fantastic release that is Frailty! Did the album turn out the way you wanted it to, or are there things you wish you could go back and alter?
Thanks a lot! We talked alot about the way we wanted Frailty to sound like and I believe that Daniel Bergstrand, the studio engineer, hit the nail with this production. We are all 100% satisfied with the songs and the sound due to the fact that we made some changes to alot of the songs after hearing the new sound produced by Daniel. We removed some of the melodies and added more aggression to the songs and I´m very pleased with the way Frailty came out in the end.
Why was the album titled Frailty?
The title was something I had been playing with for a long time, I had some different approaches and after the lyrics were finalized, Frailty was the only title that could do the album justice. The theme for the album is the "human frailty". It is what's wrong with the people of the world today: Greed, Religious wars and World pollution and I think that the title gathers all the themes into one image.
What do you hope listeners will take away from hearing the album?
A feeling of satisfaction and an urge to play it again and again while drinking beer and driving their neighbours crazy...
The comparisons to In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and all the classic bands in that genre are inevitable, but what do you think separates The Duskfall from the rest of the pack?
Well, I've been writing this style of music for over 10 years now and I have never aimed on being original in any way. We just try to deliver music that is fun for us to play and interesting for the fans to listen to.
What motivates and inspires you as a musician?
I try to listen to all sorts of music, I personally enjoy catchyness over tecnicallity but I still get amazed by the tecnical perfection shown by masters like Yngwie J Malmsteen, Trey Azagtoth and John Petrucci. They make me strife towards evolving as a guitarplayer and pushing myself towards my limit. My music comes from the heart and inspiration comes from everyday life. If I'm sad or angry, the music will be more melancholic and aggressive but if I'm happy, then I usually write more melodical pieces.
Could you tell me about the downfall of Gates of Ishtar and how that led to the formation of The Duskfall?
We had many problems within the band in the past and also with our label at the time, Invasion Records. It all came to a point when we decided to close the gates. We still are in contact with eachother and since we all has grown as people and musicians there might be a reunion in the future but nothing is booked right now. The Duskfall was formed in January 1999 by myself and Glenn. Back then it was supposed to be more of a "jam/cover" metalproject, playing metal in the vein of Pantera and Judas Priest. It only took a couple of rehersals until we realized that we wanted to put together a full-time band, playing our own music. At that time I had plans on doing a soloproject after Gates Of Ishtar was buried, named Duskfall, but I changed my mind and took the written material to this new project instead.
What is different now with the new band in terms of your attitude towards what you do?
I do this because it's my way of life and if I would loose the focus or get sick of it, then I'd stop instantly. Without soul and engagement there's nothing. In the past I took everything so damn serious but nowadays I aim on having a blast while hopefully writing good music for people that also live for metal.
When did you first start listening to metal and what bands got you into it?
I started off, listening to my older brother's LP's. He was into Iron Maiden and Yngwie J Malmsteen. I have a strong memory of listening to Metallica's "Kill E'm All" for the first time in 6:th grade and it totally blew me away. After that I descovered Napalm Death and that was it... I was caught.
Was this what triggered your desire to play guitar?
Yes, Yngwie J Malmsteen played an huge impact on my choice of instrument. Still I started out as an bassplayer and I even played drums for a couple of years but when we started Gates Of Ishtar I got hooked on the guitar. I was the singer there, but I also wrote some of the music. I loved the feeling of writing music on the guitar and playing it in the rehersals, so I choose to stay on that path instead of screaming in this band.
How do you feel about the popularity of In Flames and Soilwork? Is it for the better that their sound has changed and they've become more accessible to a wider audience?
I like what In Flames ans Soilwork are doing, they are not following any guidelines as they evolve as musicians. I still don't have to like everything they currently do as musicians, but I respect them and I'm happy that they finally has recieved the attention they deserve. I think it's great if a band can make music that goes over the genres, making more people aware of the metalscene. This will help all metalacts to get more attention to their music. The scene will get bigger, the labels will invest more money on the other "not so well known" acts so they can record better sounding albums and the fans will get more qualitiative metal. This will gain all of us in some way.
Would you ever want to reach the same plateau with your band?
Yes, I would love it if I could live on my music, play liveshows and drink beer for the rest of my life but that's only a dream at this point. Still I have decided to follow my heart when it comes to my music and I'll continue writing the music I like to play and it's up to the fans if I will be able to continue as an musician. I will always stay true to my fans and keep my music within the fields I have grown for over 10 years now.
Could you describe the live experience of The Duskfall?
I think that it's better to be 100% aggression live, all moshing and delivering the power of the music. I don't like to go to a live show just to se a band stand like statues, trying to get every note right, then I'd rather be listening to their CD.
Are there any plans to tour extensively in the near future?
We are currently focusing on the next CD. After the recording and release of that one, we'll be in another stage of negotiations with booking agencys and festival organizers. We'd love to go on tour and as soon as anything get's confirmed we're off!
How is work on the new album coming along? Can you give any idea as to how it will compare with Frailty?
Expect a harder approach. We have 90% of the songs done and it will be a mixture betweeen Frailty and some good old Gates Of Ishtar. There will also be a flirtation with more brutal deathmetal in one track, currently titled The Destroyer wich will surelly kick some serious ass!
Have you ever given any thought to recording some cover songs? Any idea of what songs you'd like to do?
Yes, we will probably do one cover for an At The Gates tribute CD while we record the new CD. We are talking things through as we speak and the track we'll cover will be Blinded By Fear.
Are there any recent releases that you're digging at the moment?
Yes, I'm currently blown away by the music and especially the vocals of Lost Horizon's A Flame To The Ground Beneath. Other good band's CD's I'm slaughtering at the moment are: Incapacity, Eternal Lies and Omnium Gatherum.
Anything you'd like to say in closing?
Thank a lot for the very interesting questions. I hope some of you that reads this interview gets your eyes opened to The Duskfall and our music. Keep your eyes and ears out for the new CD and I hopefully will see you all outthere on the road! Take beer!
Thanks very much for your time and I'll be looking forward to the next release from The Duskfall.
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