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Your thoughts on the Martin Henriksson takeover

Discussion in 'Dark Tranquillity' started by farren, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. anita_job

    anita_job Member

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    Agreed on all points. I noticed these phases as well.

    Another way of looking at it is thinking about what a loss Fredrik Johansson's departure was. If you look at the credits for The Mind's I and The Gallery, you'll see how much influence he had.
     
  2. Frosties

    Frosties Blind @ heart

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    Now that Construct is out, it's funny that I should think of this thread - it seems that the "takeover" is either over, or at least on a break, since Martin H.'s only got 2 song credits on the new album.

    I wonder what changed...
     
  3. Tranquillian

    Tranquillian Svartmetallist

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    I think I read in an interview that Martin had some personal issues to take care of so he couldn't participate in the songwriting as much. Also, they had this whole new music creating process that may have inspired the others to write mote writing the songs in the studio and not in the rehearsal room). Martin B has two solo song credits and I don't think that has happened before.
     
  4. Maxim1110

    Maxim1110 Member

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    If I'm not mistaken the song "Fabric" from Haven was written entirely by Martin B. but other than that, no, I think you're right.
     
  5. farren

    farren Member

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    Good point on Johansson. Considering my focus on Damage Done as a turning point (you could be right that it was really Projector/Haven), I hadn't really thought back that far. I like the phase classifications from your old post.

    You know, I just revisited this thread after completing my first spin of Construct. I'd not checked the booklet till you mentioned it so I hadn't yet realized Martin contributed less than normal, but I came here to say, after one spin at least, that I'm optimistic about DT's future again for the first time in several releases--I'm really digging this album. (Although perhaps I shouldn't be optimistic considering Martin's personal issues kept him out of the studio this time around--probably a one-time deal.) It's a new direction and not a revisit of the old, but I don't think anyone wants to see The Gallery II anyway. This album sounds much more progressive to me with less "brutality."

    I have to admit I feel more justified in creating this thread upon reading that Martin's diminished involvement seems to have been, though not everything, one significant factor at least. That said, I still feel like a bit of a jerk ;)

    Edit: And here is the interview Tranquillian was likely referring to:

    "Did being a member down change the songwriting process for Construct?

    Mikael: One less wheel was perhaps a good thing. We have always been extremely democratic in the band. The recording for We Are The Void was very difficult in many ways. It kind of left a bad taste because it took forever and there was so much friction and conflict and frustration. The album came out really great, perhaps because of that, but the process was so long and so arduous.

    After coming back from 2 1/2 years of touring for the album, we started thinking if we should go back and start writing again where it felt so weird last time. We said no, and just kept booking more tours. We were afraid of getting back into writing. Eventually we realized we had to do it, had to come up with something new.

    Martin Henriksson is usually the guy who runs everything and makes sure everything happens and arranges most of the material. He said he couldn’t do it, he was too burned out. He said we should start and see what happens. So Martin Brandstrom (keyboards), Niklas Sundin (guitar) and Anders Jivarp (drums) sat in the studio and collected all the material we had written and started building songs.

    That was totally different from what we normally do. That’s never happened before. It was an experiment at first, but then it turned into this really creative thing. We were all really excited. We could talk and be more objective about the songs and what they needed and what the album should be like. It was so liberating. Finally we could make music and not argue about it too much. It was a very positive experience."


    You can read it all here.

    I wouldn't want to read the last paragraph if I was Martin. I realize Stanne was mostly talking about Antonsson who tried to dominate, but he only joined in 2008. I get the impression that this "democratic" band was a bit more democratic during this studio session. Stanne says specifically Martin was absent from the arranging process, but it would appear from only two credited tracks that he was less involved in the writing of the material as well. Maybe two less wheels was a good thing?
     
  6. Matse

    Matse Customized individuum

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    I would imagine it more like a group of old friends that all of a sudden has a comparably new guy among them (Antonsson) which changes the atmosphere no matter how cool the new guy may or may not be. It just brings insecurity into conversations, you cannot make the same jokes, misunderstandings happen and so on. This time it was one wheel less and the old atmosphere may be back so misunderstandings regarding decisions probably became less, problem-solving was something that had been done successfully in the past with the same people and among old friends it is usually easier to take a break from the process and join in at a later point without further ado again. So I wouldn't worry too much about the old members and what we should do is just wishing Martin H all the best and maybe on the next album his flame will shine all the brighter [picking up on the burnout/flame imagery here] and light the fires of musical genius where only barren lands and ashes have been before [overdoing the flame metaphor now and even putting ashes were supposedly no fire has been before just because of the fire/ashes-association]. And if you are burned out it often helps to know that things run without you as well, to know that not all the responsibility lies with you and when there is the need you can share as much of the burden as needed.
     
  7. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    Once again, I think you're mis-interpreting what was said. I don't think it's either Antonsson or Henriksson Stanne is talking about here - he's talking about the band as a whole. They've argued about the arrangements since the Septic Broiler days, sometimes more and sometimes less. You're trying to simplify the internal dynamics of the band by painting them into black / white positions based on your personal preferences. I doubt the band was any more or any less democratic on the Construct-sessions - there were just two less people "voting", which made it different this time.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this change brought a refreshing atmosphere into the recording process and we can all now enjoy the results. But implying that Henriksson had a final say on everything before that is just silly. I recall it was in 2002 or 2004 when I asked Sundin why he didn't contribute as much as he used to and he answered he had written lots of material, but no-one else in the band thought his stuff fit the songs/albums they were working on back then. Do you really think if Jivarp, Brändström and Stanne had all voted in favor of Sundin's material that Henriksson could have just vetoed them down?

    Heck, I witnessed first-hand a short argument concerning their setlist back in 2007, when some members of the band thought one song they had just played didn't work that well live (I think it was Blind at Heart, but I'm not 100% sure). That happened supposedly on the heyday of Henriksson's reign, according to your hypothesis, yet I saw nothing of the sort - it was a short dicussion where everyone's opinion was heard and in the end the majority side won. Curiously enough, Henriksson himself told me that half the band didn't like Misery's Crown very much, yet they chose to put it in their setlist - even though he would've chosen something else. If Henriksson was a band-dictator on par with Dave Mustaine and the like, he was pretty damn good at hiding it.

    -Villain
     
  8. farren

    farren Member

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    If you read the rest of the interview, it's quite clear Antonsson was a problem in a way that was apparent to all in the band, so I think it's clear he was talking about Antonsson in what I quoted. I don't think he was thinking specifically of Henriksson when he said that, but his absence was a significant factor which contributed to this new creative environment.

    The band as a whole versus the individual components of the band is mostly semantic--of course the complex chemistry between said components was key, but who would suggest it wasn't? Any differences present in the studio this time around could be said to have contributed to the improved creative atmosphere (and in my opinion the improved creative output evident in the album). I'm not attempting to quantify it in terms of how much of it was due to Antonsson not being around versus Henriksson not being around versus any number of other differences we could probably suggest from interviews. I'm happy with the result and I think we'd all agree Henriksson's absence from the arranging process was reflected in the finished album--and how could it not be? There are a number of other factors, but this seems like a significant difference from the last several albums and it's no small wonder why I and others would consider it key. I'm not blaming Henriksson for everything I haven't cared for that DT has produced, but a preponderance of evidence suggests to me that I like the band more when he is less involved in the creative process.
     
  9. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    I read it all and it is clear Stanne was not talking about Antonsson at all in the part you quoted. He was already (on his way) out of the band, yet they were reluctant to start recording regardless. Mind you, this was not the first time that happened - they've often commented about the arduous nature of the studio-sessions, long before Antonsson was even in the band. WAtV-sessions just turned out to be even worse than usual in that regard - and I don't think there's anything that suggests it was because of Antonsson in particular.

    As I said, you're reading way too much into what is said and keep mis-interpreting it. There's nothing wrong with liking the output of one band-member more or less than that of the others, but the assumption that the changes in direction the band has taken (or has not taken) are somehow decided by one person alone is, again, silly. Brändström wrote or co-wrote most of the songs on Construct and most of the instruments were recorded in his studio, so his influence must've been huge, right? If the next album continues in the direction of Construct, will you call it the "Martin Brändström takeover" then?

    -Villain
     
  10. farren

    farren Member

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    You couldn't possibly misinterpret what I've said less accurately. I'm not even sure you've read half of my words. If you did, you either misunderstood them or chose to throw out what wasn't convenient for a thoroughly oppositional (even defensive) response.

    "Mikael Stanne: Yes. It was one of those things where we felt he was going in a different direction and not really focusing on what we wanted. His head was somewhere else. He thought he would be better off playing guitar and focusing on his own thing. He wants to be the main guy in a band, and with us five strong-willed dudes, it’s hard to break through that. I think he wants to be in charge, and that’s really hard with us."

    If this doesn't suggest to you there were control issues in the studio thanks, in part, to Antonsson's presence, I don't know what possibly would. The part I quoted previously was interpreted partially through the lens of what I just quoted above. Not to view the entire interview as the context of its individual answers would be ridiculous.

    If you think I'm reading too much into the details, I'm not sure if you're reading the details at all.

    It is indeed silly, and this strawman you've constructed is even sillier. To quote myself:

    It's a complex situation and early in this discussion I attempted to make it clear that I didn't think Henriksson's influence was the sole reason the band had declined in my eyes. It's logical to infer, then, that today I don't think Henriksson's lesser involvement is the sole reason the band was able to produce Construct which I think is an excellent album.

    But perhaps you'd forgotten that since I said it in the topic post earlier this year. Similarly to the interview with Stanne, I suggest reading my words in the context of other things I have said in this thread. That brings us to this:

    How could I be any more explicit? It wasn't solely the result of Henriksson being less involved than usual, nor solely the result of Antonsson not being involved in the studio this time. It's a complex process and if I was to suggest those weren't at the very least significant factors in the forming of Construct it would be inane. To take issue with me for holding the opposite view is even more inane.

    ... Another strawman? Really? I think burning one of them with this post was quite enough, thank you. This second one stands and crumbles on its own.

    If you still have major issues with what I've said, I'd invite you to read it all again with an open mind. I think it's safe to say we both feel there are nuances and intangibles involved that outsiders like us can't hope to learn of or understand--I'm only suggesting what seems self-evident: among the many factors, the decreased involvement of Henriksson and the total lack of involvement of a guy who Stanne says is more of a band leader type at heart who would clash with his "strong-willed" bandmates were probably quite important.
     
  11. Thimon

    Thimon Member

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    After reading trough pretty much all the thread I pretty much come to the same conclusion.
    It's good to know that the guys can pull it off without Martin to be involved at every corner but I have to admit that I sometimes miss his distinctive guitar work on Construct so I wish him all the best and hope for some more contribution by him the next time around :)

    I never really had a look who of the guys wrote which song before reading this thread and it surprised me a bit that it was Martin who wrote the majority of the DD-Fiction stuff which comes to be my favourite era of them.
    After listening Construct for a few times I missed some of the characteristic guitar work that I love DT for but I couldn't tell why this was so. After looking at the song credits in the booklet I saw that two of the three Songs I liked best regarding the guitar work were written by Martin and also were the only ones he was mentioned.
    Another example for that is Fiction. Probably the best DT album ever made and to come. The Only song on it which I wouldn't count in on my all-time favourites is the one he didn't contribute to.

    So I really hope that his creative flow will be strong again in the coming years so maybe we can have both the best of Fiction/DD and Construct/WatV in the future :)
     
  12. farren

    farren Member

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    Well, Thimon, I think we can all agree on this, at least: Henriksson's participation makes a big difference--for better or worse is a matter of taste ;) Henriksson does get a lot of credit from me for writing one of my favorite songs, ... Of Melancholy Burning, on my favorite DT album.
     
  13. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    Perhaps it is because of the confusing way you express yourself: on one hand you seem to make reasonable points about what you like / dislike about the band's output, on the other hand you seem to throw wild assumptions with little basis in reality - even when these contradict each other. I have simply ignored the former and argued against the latter.

    It's not that I'm not aware of the context of the interview - it's that you're not aware of the larger context of the band's history. Arguments in the studio are part of that history, not something that only happened on WAtV-sessions. As Stanne said in the interview, every member of the band is head-strong in these issues. The part you originall quoted shows that even when Antonsson was no longer in the picture, they still worried it would turn out that way - if they thought it had really been about Antonsson, surely they would not have felt so at that point anymore, right?

    I am reading the details - I'm simply not giving them excess weight, because I also see the bigger picture.

    Let me throw in a different quote of yours here instead: "Henriksson had the final word on everything". See my point?

    On one hand you say it's not all about Henriksson, on the other you claim he was the de-facto band leader and had the final word on everything. Is it my fault I found your points contradictory and confusing?

    I have no issue with the above statements

    It was a genuine question, and I read your refusal to answer it as an admission that you have found your own position (whatever it is) indefensible.

    Really, if you want to look at this "who influenced what" issue from a much clearer angle, how about you just read the credits on each song / album?

    Roughly put, Henriksson wrote about half of Damage Done, Character and Fiction each, with Jivarp and Sundin writing most of the rest. So, no surprise those albums have some similarities, with a rather obvious progression from one album to another.

    On We Are the Void, Sundin and Henriksson reversed positions (in terms of songwriting - not in terms of "band leaders"), causing that album to sound slightly different from the previous three. Yet, the parts Henriksson / Jivarp wrote could still fit on Fiction (while Sundin's Inside the Particle Storm from that album would've probably with WAtV perfectly).

    Now, suddenly, on Constract the main songwriter is Brändström, followed by Sundin and Jivarp - and it sounds very different. Who could've guessed? And still, the two songs Henriksson co-wrote have recognizable elements of past DT-albums.

    As you can see, you don't need to attribute these changes to "takeovers" or "de-facto band leaders", or any such unfounded speculation.

    Change that to "possibly not completely unimportant" and I agree with you.

    -Villain
     
  14. farren

    farren Member

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    I'm once more in awe of your army of strawmen. Either what I've written really is beyond your comprehension, as you humbly suggest, or you're attempting to obfuscate by deliberately misrepresenting my statements, establishing yourself as the local paragon of intellectual dishonesty. Given your decent grasp of English, I'm leaning toward the latter, in which case there's no reason to engage in further discussion with you.

    I'm glad this thread could nudge some of the more open-minded fans of the band (who are not conspicuously defensive) to revisit song-writing credits, note the correlations between favorite and least favorite songs and albums, and perhaps come to some sort of understanding of what they think of Henriksson's work as lead arranger and prolific writer, positive or otherwise.
     
  15. stizzleomnibus

    stizzleomnibus Decisively Human

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    This thread just gave the whiners a chance to whine more while engaging in conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories about a band which, by all appearances, is made up of guys who get along well and are enjoying the best album sales and touring opportunities of their careers. This thread is literally the dumbest thing I've ever read. Seriously, who cares about the internal dynamics of the band? As long as they're not on the verge of a breakup (which they don't appear to be), all that matters is that the music continues. Everything about this is a waste of time.

    This is the bravest and most euphoric thing I've ever read. I can feel the neck-beard and fedora behind this post.
     
  16. anita_job

    anita_job Member

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    Thanks. :)

    In a parallel universe where Johansson didn't leave, a similar thing might have happened with DT's sound settling into a comfortable space rather than continually shifting with every release except instead of Henriksson driving that process it would be a more collective process perhaps. One individual doing too much of the musical work over 3-5 albums will inevitably lead to a band going into certain "ruts," especially as a band ages and their personas stop "growing" and instead become more "refined" (the brain stops developing new pathways at like 26 or so and instead sort of "prunes" what's already there). (Sorry for all the metaphorical quotes.)

    I think the inter-personal dynamics in a band drive a lot of the end product in music. Trying to grasp those dynamics is a bit like opening the hood of a flying saucer -- you wouldn't know what you were looking at, except that this machine somehow produces magic i.e., a saucer that zips around at light speed and leaves you in awe. To really understand those dynamics, you'd have to be in or really close to the band for a long time, to get a sense of people's habits, ruts, pet peeves, favorites, and predilictions. DT has been remarkably stable personnel-wise and I think that's a big reason for its creative longevity. These guys grew up together and so any conflict/friction is more like a married couple that makes up at the end of the day so no one sleeps on the couch rather than a professionally-driven thing where there's cliques, infighting, hiring, and firing. The two examples I can think of of the latter are Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir and that kind of garbage really took a toll on their musical output in my opinion.

    I wasn't thrilled with the EP and haven't had the time to sit down and listen to Construct. I really, really, really disliked WaTV and didn't realize they were dealing with a new (difficult?) bassist. Music is extremely personal, almost as personal as religion, so having a new person come in that just doesn't fit into the machine nicely and neatly I imagine would be excruciating for any group of creative geniuses who usually have an inspirational vision they are attached to and won't give up without a debilitating fight. The pressure to "put out" and meet deadlines and fan expectations on top of that... makes for a combination I don't really want to contemplate, but for me it explains part of the reason why WaTV didn't grab me.
     
  17. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    As you wish. However, if you ever decide to return to this topic, I suggest you start by explaining what you mean by "takeover" and having "a final word on everything" so that people don't mistakenly assume you use those phrases like, you know, the rest of the world does.

    I'm not arguing with you for the sake of argument. I have absolutely no issue with many of the things you've said in this thread, especially later on - and I even admit I probably should have expressed it more clearly when I agree with you, instead of just concentrating on the parts I disagree with. It's just that you have also made statements that seem completely unjustified and even contradictory to your other statements - and when I argue those points or ask you to clarify them, you keep claiming they are strawmen.

    The reason I asked about your view on the "Martin Brändström takeover" was exactly that - if "takeover" in your vocabulary means simply that a member writes a larger portion of material than before then sure, there has been several takeovers in the history of the band. Then again, I doubt anyone else uses the word to mean that. Perhaps your grasp of English is not quite as decent as mine?

    As for being "defensive", I find it funny that when I have simply expressed disagreement with a couple of points you have made, it is you who has taken that as some sort of a personal attack and even suggested I'm being purposely dishonest. That's you being defensive, and you're simply projecting that to me.

    -Villain
     
  18. Villain

    Villain Doctor BenQuillity

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    And this is why I dislike uninformed speculation - it leads people to draw erroneous conclusions.

    By the time they recorded We Are the Void, Antonsson had already been in the band for well over a year and had played lots of shows with them; he remained with the band for three more years after the recording was finished.

    -Villain
     
  19. Naglfar

    Naglfar As Naglfar devours us all

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    How the fuck did miss this flame war?

    Musicians are human beings and professionals. Work-related disagreements can lead to personal conflict, but since work disagreements are legion in any profession 99% of them don't come to anything. So it's unlikely that disagreements over music led to any serious rifts in the band. If they had, since the band members are public figures (or at least, as entertainers, people of much public exposure), you would have seen far more tangible evidence of such rifts.

    As there was no evidence of this, we can conclude that any turnover in band members, and any change in direction of music, are the result of the normal songwriting process. If anyone got fucked over, they would have said something. Like David Kinkade with Borknagar and Soulfly (the latter which he couldn't even talk about out of fear of legal action from Max Cavalera - and how do we know this? Because he articulated it).
     
  20. Defiance

    Defiance I vårens ljusa kvällar

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    I honestly didn't bother writing because as I said before, it's a stupid thread due to the use of the word "takeover".

    Re Dave K. it is kinda sad, I'm not sure if Borknagar screwed him as he made the mistake of moving to Norge, but I'm sure he was f*cked quite hard by CC; even if the guy's a douchebag I wished he hadn't retired.
     

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