Updated: 07/11/02

Bands fronted by Tomas Lindberg: At The Gates, The Crown, Lock Up, Disfear, Skitsystem, and The Great Deceiver. A man of many faces fronting bands of different styles. Today we talk of The Great Deceiver and their new album A Venom Well Designed.

Highwire Daze: Where did you get the name The Great Deceiver, and why did it take so long to release the first full-length album?

Tomas Lindberg: The name, we found it on an album by a band called King Crimson - which is an old 70's progressive band. We looked it up from the bible and it sounded really heavy and different - but at the same time it sounded like a band name. There's no really deep meaning to the name - it's just a really good band name. And the wait - we took some time to try and refine the sound we would be comfortable in over a long period of time before releasing anything. We have all been involved in different bands before and almost always come to the point where you've painted yourself in a corner. You're stuck in a sound that you want to change. We didn't want that situation again, so we wanted a sound that we would be able to develop within - a sound that was kind of limitless. And that's why it took so long for us to release the first album. The songs always happen really quickly for us. We write constantly and have a really high inspiration level - stuff comes to us all the time, so songs are not the problem - it's just finding the right sound for the songs basically. It wasn't hard for us - it wasn't a bad time - it was a good time - a really interesting and developing time, both personally and musically - to find out about for yourself where you want to go musically in five years. We had to plan ahead.

HD: Where did you get the idea for the album titled A Venom Well Designed?

Tomas: When I was finishing the 7th or 8th track on the record, I found myself writing all of this dark and misanthropic stuff - how man is going to totally destroy the earth itself. Every song just happened to be not so pro-human. The title is a line in the last song and it just sounded like a strong album title summing up everything about mankind. We're suppose to be the crown of creation - the biggest thing that happened in evolution ever - and we just poison - so it's a venom well designed - and that's mankind.

HD: So what do you tell fans of At The Gates who haven't heard your music yet? Describe your music to those fans.

Tomas: This is the hardest question of all to describe the sound of The Great Deceiver. It's not something you could really pinpoint. For me, it's a natural development. But for ordinary listeners, it's light years away. I think it's the dark hardcore cousin of At The Gates. It's just really strong songs with a lot of dynamics and different moods. It's not all aggressive. Every human aspect is in there within the sound. The sound on the record is 100 percent honest - and 100 percent what we want to do. The good thing coming from a metal background - and I'm pleased that I come from At The Gates - we were really lucky and blessed that it seemed like our fans were always open minded about music. We were known in the hardcore scene and in a lot of scenes - not only the death metal scene. I think a lot of the At The Gates fans are still open-minded which puts The Great Deceiver in a good position. I think a lot of people will check it out, even if it's really different.

HD: It says on the bio that you guys just finished touring with Napalm Death. How did that go?

Tomas: That was amazing for us and for me personally. They are really old friends. I've known them for maybe ten years. We have the same outlook on music and life in general. They are open-minded about the music and they care about the lyrics. It's the perfect band for us to tour with. We get along with the people. Of course, they are more faster and brutal than we are - but the diversity of the sound is still on the same level. It's a perfect match and we had a good time.

HD: Any chance of a US show coming up?

Tomas: Yeah, hopefully. Definitely in the future. So far, the reaction has been amazing to the album so far, so we almost have to go out and support it. We really want to do it as well, because now we have strong reason to.

HD: Are you surprised at how influential At The Gates has been on other bands these days?

Tomas: Of course, you're always amazed in one way, because you don't really plan those kind of things to happen. I mean, we worked out asses off on the Slaughter Of The Soul album to make it stand out from the previous albums and from the albums being released at that time. I'm glad it's that album that people are influenced by, because I'm proud of that album. But you always get surprised when you see people playing covers of your band. It's really rewarding, but it's not something that I go around and think about. Those kind of thoughts turn people into assholes, I think. They start to look at themselves in other people's eyes.

HD: How do you feel when you read in press notes and magazine your name with ex-At The Gates always following.

Tomas: Well, we're known for that album that we did and it's an album I'm proud of. I would never use it to help the band I'm in at the time or anything. But it's probably inescapable - if you've done an album that people really love, it's gonna follow you throughout your career. I always feel that I top myself every time, so I don't really think of it that way. It's a band that's the most known out of all the bands I've been in. I think it's a natural thing that it's there. It definitely irritates me, but I would never use it myself.

HD: Metal Blade sent out an e-mail saying you had left The Crown. I was wondering what happened.

Tomas: It was a mutual decision from me and the other members. It was a quite natural thing. It was lack of time mostly and stuff like that. They probably wanted a more exclusive singer than I could do. They wanted more of Tomas Lindberg than I could give them. We left on good terms and there's no hard feelings. It's not like something else happened that made this. We didn't have a fight or anything. It was a good spilt.

HD: Well that's good to hear. It sounded like on The Crown website that it had happened and everyone refused to talk about it.

Tomas: We've been in so many bands, and as soon as something like this happens - because we left on good terms, we want to keep it that way. Some journalists want to dig further and try to find something bad - when there isn't anything. And we'll leave it at that.

HD: I wanted to ask you one more Crown question. How did the US tour go?

Tomas: It was an amazing experience! We did a lot of good shows and it definitely beyond our expectations turnout wise. It was a small success for the band, and I hope it's going to help them in their career further.

HD: Are you still working with Lock Up?

Tomas: Yeah, yeah, definitely. We have a show tomorrow. We're playing some festivals here in Europe this summer.

HD: How did you feel when you had to replace Peter Tagtgren as the new vocalist for Lock Up?

Tomas: It was just one of those things. When I got the question to join the band - and it's the same with The Crown. When you're asked to join a band that already has records out and you personally really like the singer and his voice - it's a positive challenge. I see it as I have to top him - and it's a good thing. I like Peter and I also like Johan in The Crown a lot. It's one of those good challenges that triggers you to do even better.

HD: Are you in any other bands I don't know about?

Tomas: I'm in this band called Disfear that just signed to Relapse. It's more of a crossover, cross metal kind of band and the album is probably going to be released in August. And I'm also in this crusty punk band called Skitsystem, which is quite underground - we have released 7 inches and stuff like that.

HD: You're in more bands than Sharlee D'Angelo…

Tomas: Yeah, yeah, we have a little competition going between me and him. I think I lost when I left The Crown though. It's one of those things - people like us can't really sit still. We want to do different stuff. The stuff I do in Lock Up I can't do in The Great Deceiver and the other way around. You have to get that stuff out of your system.

HD: With members of Diabolique in The Great Deceiver, I was wondering what you thought of their latest album The Green Goddess.

Tomas: I think it's amazing. The music they're playing is not usually my favorite style of music. But I think they put a lot of different aspects into that sound. I like the way they do really strong songs. I'm a fan of the band, definitely. I've known Kristian and Johan since 15 years, so I see their vision with that band. And when you see a vision like that, and I know they are fulfilling it - it's a good thing. I see where they want to take it and I see them succeeding in it.

HD: What are the future plans for The Great Deceiver?

Tomas: We plan to support the album on the road. There's no concrete plans yet. I guess autumn or winter we'll do some touring. I think actually early next year, we're already going into the studio again. We already have a lot of songs ready. We're going to be around for a while.

HD: Do you have any messages for your long time fans or people who might be interested in checking out The Great Deceiver?

Tomas: Most people who have been into the stuff I've been doing over the years - I think they are open minded enough to check out this new album actually. It's got a lot of stuff on there for everyone. If they want something different for their summertime listening, they should check it out.

HD: Have you ever had two of your bands touring at the same time?

Tomas: No, not really. We've done stuff like me doing a festival the same weekend and then leaving for a tour with another band on Monday. But on the same day, no. It was probably going to happen at the Wacken Festival this year, but as you know, I left The Crown, so it's not going to happen.

HD: Well, you know, Jensen had both Witchery and The Haunted touring out here last year…

Tomas: Yeah, exactly. He's a hard working man as well, and I have total respect for him. But it's not something I could do. I could see him being really exhausted at the end of that tour. As a singer and a front man, I don't say I put more into it than he does, because he's a brilliant guitar player and he works hard onstage as well. But as a front man, it's quite boring to see two bands with the same front man in one night. It would be unfair to the audiences and to the bands as well. I like to concentrate at one thing at a time.


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