ARCH ENEMY's DANIEL ERLANDSSON On Having Doubts About His Playing Ability: 'I Think That's An Ongoing Thing'

August 20, 2023

In a recent interview with Drumtalk, the video podcast by German drummer and videographer Philipp Koch, ARCH ENEMY drummer Daniel Erlandsson was asked if he ever had any doubts about his playing ability, and if so, how he overcame those doubts. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think that's an ongoing thing. That just doesn't go away. Like, we're on a tour right now. It's about 30 shows, and most of those shows have been fine, but every now and then you have a night where you just cannot seem to do anything right. At least that's the way it feels in your head. But to the audience, they probably don't even notice that you're having a rough night. But in your own mind, you're like already thinking about a different career choice; you get off stage and you just wanna be alone in a corner and forget about it. And then the next night you play a show and then it's fine again. So it goes up and down. It just moves with the flow. And in the studio is another monster. When you put your drumming under like the microscope, that creates a lot of doubt as well. But at this point, I've played on a bunch of albums, played drums for many years, and you just have to realize that if it doesn't sound like shit, it's probably good, you know?"

He added later in the interview: "Those nights when you really get into the flow, when you're just one with the drumming and one with the song, then your mind can wander and you can start thinking about something completely different. But it's fine, 'cause you're in the zone and it's just flowing out of you. The nights when it's different and you feel like you're fucking up or you're making a lot of mistakes, it's almost like — I told somebody else about this — like if you're playing any sport, like for example tennis, if you're playing a tennis match, which I did when I was a kid, if you start fucking up in the beginning, it's very important that you get over it. Otherwise, you're gonna beat yourself up and your game is gonna continuously go [down]. It's the same with a show. If you don't get over it, you might just end up in that negative space and keep fucking up. Easier said than done, though."

Daniel also talked about the importance of playing what's right for the song musically while occasionally throwing in some tasty licks to make his approach unique. "I think that defines my playing style; that's what I'm trying to do, basically," he said. "I wanna exist somewhere in the very traditional and throwing in, every now and then, something that's more unique, something that I come up with. And I think a lot about the little spices that I throw in just to make it interesting. That is a challenge. That's a challenge for anyone. Sometimes the song doesn't even require that you throw in something spicy. It just requires a steady beat and that's it. And then you have to accept that. And that's part of evolving as a drummer as well, to realize that you sometimes your extravaganza is not really needed.

"Every band is different, and every song is different too," he added. "It's all about your approach to drumming and basically how you hear the song. That's the key. That's the biggest part. If you hear yourself going crazy, then you've gotta record that."

Nearly a decade ago, Daniel told Roland about how he first became interested in drumming: "Well, my brother [AT THE GATES drummer Adrian Erlandsson] is actually six years older than me, and when he started playing drums he was in his early teens, maybe twelve of thirteen, so I was six, a little kid. But that meant he convinced our dad to buy a drum kit, and we got a drum kit in the house, in the basement. So when I got a bit older, around twelve, I got an interest in playing myself, and that's how it started. Then when I was in the seventh grade, I met some people who were also into metal and we decided to form a band, and that was when I really started playing. We just met at rehearsals — nobody knew anything, how to play, how to get a sound from their instruments, nobody knew a thing. But, you know, eventually — I guess that's how a lot of musicians start out. It was really at the grass roots level."

ARCH ENEMY released its latest record, "Deceivers", last year to critical acclaim.

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