Singers on Singing 2015

Feature3TOMAS LINDBERG

Contact: Nikki Law - Century Media Records, nikki.law@centurymedia.com

After a 19-year recording hiatus, Tomas Lindberg helped resurrect melodic death metal legends At the Gates with last year’s widely hailed At War with Reality. The band followed up with one of the spring’s hottest tours, also featuring Converge and Pallbearer, and have a whopping 23 countries on their docket for 2015.

What makes you a better singer today than when you started?
I am more focused now, on the actual job, than before. I’ve also become better at “holding back,” saving myself, so that I can last 90 minutes of death metal. You could say that I am more aware now of what I am actually doing.

What are the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a singer?
Stamina, not overcompensating, not hearing yourself live (due to a bad monitor system, for instance) while screaming your lungs out and, doing so, losing your voice. And of course all kinds of colds/flus that get to you on tour.

Have you had any formal vocal coaching? What effect did it have?
No, never. I’ve gotten good advice from other singers, though, and sound engineers, on how to use my voice effectively.

Do you warm up your vocal cords before a performance?
Not really. Actually, for me the main “issue” is, as I mentioned before, stamina––so before a show, it’s more about saving myself. And my voice.

What are your diet do’s and don’ts (alcohol, caffeine, weed, etc.)?
I don’t smoke either cigarettes or weed, so that’s good, I guess. Alcohol has to be kept to a minimum before shows, mainly to stay focused so I don’t burn myself out vocally. I drink a lot of tea with ginger and honey during the set, to coat the throat. I think it helps, but it could also be a mental thing. In general you could say that the more healthy you eat and drink, the easier it will be for you to perform at your highest ability.

How do you deal with stage jitters or red light fever?
I always get nervous before a gig, no matter how many shows in a row we have been playing. But for me it’s a good thing: I feel that it keeps me focused and on my toes. To be nervous is proof that you care, at least that’s what I think.

How do you calm yourself and focus? Do you meditate before a performance?
No, it’s not a problem for me. I love playing live. And we have a great atmosphere in the band. So we just fool around before we go onstage. The focus is there naturally, so to say.

What are your favorite personal performances of yours, live and studio?
I am very happy with how the new At the Gates record came together in the studio, that was a great and rewarding experience. I have been enjoying playing the new songs live, using the in-ears system––I have been able to perform on a whole new level, personally.

Can you name a few of your favorite all-time recordings or performances by other singers, and why?
I love the old death-metal recordings from Chuck Schuldiner (Death), David Vincent (Morbid Angel) and John Tardy (Obituary): crisp, clear and raw. It has a certain edge to it, an attack of some sorts. At the same time, the words are clear and hearable—well, maybe not John Tardy then. (laughs)

What are your most memorable stage mishaps? And how did you deal with them?
I try hard to forget all mishaps, especially the ones that affect my performance in any way. All vocal-related mishaps are mostly related to not hearing myself properly. Now, with the in-ears system, I seldom have those problems anymore.

Are you loyal to specific types and brands of microphones and in-ear monitors? If so, which ones?
I exclusively use Sennheiser, both wireless microphone (EW series 100, with a 935 cap on it) and a wireless in-ears system (EW 300 series G3). Great stuff! As for why, they are just crisp and clear and pretty flawless.

1 2 3 4 5