Tomas Lindberg has been in many popular death metal bands, but none with a bigger fan base than At the Gates, from Gothenburg, Sweden. That band has enough reach to have landed on a “10 Death Metal Albums to Listen to Before You Die” list in The Village Voice, among many other accolades.

As the singer and frontman, Lindberg doesn’t have to keep track of a lot of bulky gear like his bandmates. He has a wireless mic system with in-ear monitors that he takes with him on tour, but mostly he’s just concerned about whether or not to go wireless when he performs. “As I don’t have a clue how to set up the system at all, I depend on Bo, the At the Gates sound guy, to help me with it,” he jokes over email.

With At the Gates, he says, “When we play some of the bigger stages at European festivals, I like a wireless so I can reach all the way out to the sides and interact with the whole crowd.”

Lindberg wouldn’t mind performing with a mic and a cable: “I’ve played enough dives, bars and squats in my life to be pretty cool about it.” If he plays a few shows in a row with his wireless and then uses a mic with a cable, “I might trip over the cable a few times — but that’s just extra entertainment, I guess. If we, however, play a smaller place, I prefer a cable. Sometimes a wireless just looks pretentious in the ‘wrong’ setting.”

When singers play shows with multiple bands on the bill, if they are using the mic from the club, they’re putting their mouths up to mics that multiple guys and girls have breathed on before them.

“I actually never thought about this — I think [when] touring in an extreme metal band, the possible germs on the mic would be the least problem, health-wise,” Lindberg laughs. “I am not that picky with stuff like that.”

tomas lindberg
Courtesy of Tomas Lindberg

If you’re wondering what Lindberg’s preferred brand of mic system is, he can’t say. “I am pretty crap with names of stuff like this,” he confesses.

One area important to Lindberg, however, is being able to hear himself. “It’s super important for me — if I don’t hear myself, I bust my voice during the first song,” he says, acknowledging that he needs to hear the other guys in the band on stage, “but I could almost always work my way around that, as I know the songs so good. They are in my backbone.”

He continues: “When I use my in-ear monitor system, I only put vocals in them and use ‘normal’ headphones that give enough leakage so that I get all the natural sounds on stage, and from the audience as well. They are just my vocal safety net.”