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 Interview - Views: 2292

Anders Fridén of In Flames
Interviewed By: Patrick Rennick
Date: 8/2/2005
Transcribed By: Patrick Rennick
View All Reviewed Media For This Artist

Wrapping up their eighth full-length album and touring as a main-stage act at the infamous Ozzfest tour this summer, In Flames is a band known well in the metal community, polarizing as they may be. Fresh from his performance at the Ozzfest in Mansfield, MA Anders Fridén, the band’s vocalist sat down with a brew and answered some questions for all In Flames’ fans and naysayers alike.

Patrick Rennick: Starting on October 30th In Flames will launch a tour supporting metal legends, Motörhead across the UK. This combination definitely seems to be different but, I would also say intriguing. What led to the decision to tour with Motörhead?

Anders Fridén: Well we are friends and Motörhead’s tour manager just asked us basically. They wanted a good support band and we were just glad to be there. It’s great to tour with the classic bands. We’ve been on tour in the past with Iron Maiden, Metallica, and Motley Crue.

PR: Wow you’ve been with all those bands?

AF: Yeah, we even did a European tour with Judas Priest. It’s good for us to get out and play in the UK too. We played some short spots on the download tour in London before.

PR: So, this tour will be more of a full tour then, with longer time slots...

AF: Yes...

PR: In Flames has recently finished an 8th album which will be entitled Come Clarity. Did you guys play any new tracks off of that new release today? I had to leave early during your set due to restrictions on photographers.

AF: No, we only had five songs to play and we wanted to play some songs that fans would recognize off of the albums, not ones that no one has heard before. When you have seven albums to pick from it’s kind of hard you know...

PR: Yeah, especially when you only have a 20-minute set. It’s nice that you are thinking of the fans though. Can you tell me anything about the new album in terms of lyrics, music, or anything else you’d like to bring to light?

AF: Well we kind of feel like it’s a best of album without actually being a best of album. I feel that with this album we have combined all the elements from the previous seven and taken the music in a new direction as well; which direction I don’t really know. It has a little bit more guitar harmonies then say, Soundtrack to Your Escape and in terms of chords I would say they are more up-tempo. I am really happy about it. I mean obviously that’s what anyone would say when they have just finished a record. But we are really satisfied with this one.

PR: Your lyrical themes seem to have shifted from astrology on the initial albums to themes of relationships and inner struggles. Will there be any new lyrical directions on this latest release?

AF: Yeah, maybe I mean I have a daughter who is nine months old right now.

PR: Congratulations!

AF: Thank you. This has kind of changed my perspective on life. It’s not like I’m writing directly about her or anything, it just made me think about life and where we are and if maybe somewhere there is something taking care of us from a higher perspective. I’m not talking about God or a god, just that there are elements that are in motion, energies moving around, and I ask myself, what will happen to my daughter in life with all this going on?

PR: Is this something of a return to the astrology theme?

AF: No, no it’s not that complicated. I think we moved away from all the lexicon words, you know like when you try to find strange words in the dictionary. I’m trying to communicate with people more lately. We have to think about this all the time because we have older fans and younger fans, fans that have been with us for a long time, and newer fans. I like to communicate with all of them. I mean back then it was cool to have all those fancy words but now I want to be more direct. I’ve changed the way I write.

PR: In Flames has constantly been plagued by ravenous naysayers from the metal community with each new release. Obviously the band has not been swayed as each new album seems to be moving into different and unexpected musical territory, however, I am curious, what gives In Flames the drive to strive forward in the face of this and create music that is independent of the negative views of fans?

AF: Well, we really love what we are doing and even so, it is still only a minority that is responsible for all the bad comments. So, they can say anything obviously, but they are the ones getting hurt, on the web writing shit.

PR: Yeah, those metal-heads can get real nasty...

AF: Yeah, but you know what, it’s just fuel for the fire. We don’t really care that much. We get more fans, newer fans with each album. If you enjoy In Flames and you’ve been there since the first album and you like what we’re doing and all that then that’s great, I couldn’t be happier. We have great fans! But, if you don’t like us anymore that’s fine too. Maybe you like the three first albums. That’s cool as well. I am very proud of those albums. We can’t just think about what people want to hear. We have to think about where we want to go, what we want to sound like, and if other people like that then hey, that’s amazing, that’s great. If they don’t like it then maybe there is some other band out there that can fulfill their void of musical taste.

PR: It seems that each year Ozzfest is taking another step towards becoming an all-out metal festival. What are your thoughts on this year’s lineup and being on the tour in general?

AF: I think it’s a really good one. There are tons of bands here that we tour with and I’m very happy to see that there are four Swedish bands here today, (Arch Enemy, Soilwork, The Haunted, and In Flames) showing America where this music comes from! I’m just happy that the whole “nu-metal” thing was just a phase. Now we get bands like Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath.

PR: Coming back with the classics...

AF: Yeah, it’s cool. Everything seems to come and go; it’s like a circle.

PR: So, do you have relationships with the other Swedish bands?

AF: Oh yeah, we are great friends. We have known those guys for a long, long time. I went to school with the twins from The Haunted and we’ve toured with Soilwork a couple of times. They’ve opened up for us both in the states and in Europe. We’ve known Arch Enemy since way back too. They are all good friends of ours. 

PR: Do you remember going out to shows back in your college days?

AF: Yeah, we went to Roskilde and stuff like that. Roskilde was in Denmark, it’s a big Danish rock festival, everyone would be camping out and there were tons of bands playing. It wasn’t like a metal show though. There were a lot of diverse bands playing. I used to go with a bunch of my friends back then who I don’t really hang out with much anymore. Life sometimes just drives people apart. They’re all just normal working people now.

PR: Yeah, that must be hard being on the road all the time...

AF: Well, it’s great, I meet friends on the road and stuff like that but sure it’s tough, you lose touch with people sometimes.

PR: Back in the late 1980’s you were singing for another pioneering Gothenburg metal band, Dark Tranquillity and the current vocalist for this band, Mikael Stanne was singing for In Flames. Could you tell me about this swap?

AF: Well it wasn’t really a swap because there was some timing between that switch there. In the beginning In Flames was more like a side project. Me and Jesper were playing in another band together (Ceremonial Oath) and then he left because he couldn’t do whatever he wanted to do. There were more people in control of the band that disagreed with him so he formed In Flames with a couple of guys and they needed some help with vocals so Mikael helped them on the first album. Then In Flames made an EP, Subterranean, with another singer and after that Jesper asked me to join in 1995. We were both from the local scene in Gothenburg and he asked me if I wanted to join and play which was quite bold. But, I was singing for Dark Tranquillity at the time. It seems from the press that it was a swap but it wasn’t really.

PR: Oh, well thanks for clearing that up. In Flames has been credited by many to be the founders of the Gothenburg style of metal. Today there exists many other acts out of Sweden that have gone for this sound with their music, one of them is playing here today actually, Soilwork. Could you tell me a bit about the birth of this genre?

AF: Oh, the whole thing was great! We had a good time! We had this small club where we all played. If you weren’t playing you were helping out, putting up fliers or actually working at the club. Some worked at the bar, selling drinks, this and that. Obviously we were too young to serve alcohol so we’d just handle some of the soft drinks but, it was just great. A lot of bands in the scene now got their start there. Some of the guys from The Haunted and even some of the guys from Hammerfall were there and then there are some other bands that just haven’t gone anywhere. But, it was a really fun time. We were playing almost every weekend and bands from Stockholm would come down, and there were just some good times. That’s how it started back in the early 90’s and it’s just kept going on. It’s funny to see now a lot of American fans mention us and other bands as well such as Dark Tranquillity as the “new breed.” To many audiences in America the sound is new and fresh but over in Sweden it has been around for more than 10 years.

PR: Yeah there has definitely been a Swedish influence on the metal scene in the states.

AF: Yeah, it’s cool though!

PR: On the verge of the release of your eighth album, In Flames has been in the industry now for about 15 years. Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share with all those aspiring bands out there based on your experiences?

AF: Yeah, just think for yourself. Don’t pay attention to what other people say. There is no real recipe for success; it just comes with lots of hard honest work and a little luck here and there. Don’t jump on a trend, just do what you do, even if some people don’t like it. In the end it doesn’t really matter, it is those that stay true to themselves who will last in the end. I have more respect for a band that does what they want over time instead of changing on every album by trying to copy someone else or fit a trend. Then you are always second to someone else.

PR: Sort of try and pave the way so to speak?

AF: Yeah, well you can sell a couple hundred thousand albums from one release but then there is always the next album. And people will forget about you.

PR: Well that advice certainly seems to have worked out for you guys...

AF: Oh yeah, I mean we don’t sell tons of albums but we have a very solid fan base. We have I would say, the greatest fans in the world, fans that appreciate what we are doing and we couldn’t be happier with it. We have to thank them for everything. Oh yeah, and practice, practice, practice, play as many gigs as you can. We were a terrible live band starting out but all the touring helps. You can only get better by doing.

PR: Well, thanks again for taking the time, that wraps it up for me but it was nice meeting you. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to see you guys again sometime soon.

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   -|STIFF|- 10/8/2005 6:06:45 AM 
InFlames ist das beste band das es gibt und da gibts keine fragen

   Rob 8/10/2005 7:32:13 PM 
In Flames fucking pwnz. Anders meant that nu-metal was a phase in recent Ozzfest lineups previous to this one.

   Lee 8/4/2005 3:03:12 PM 
You are forgiven, take the rope from around you neck....

   ermm 8/4/2005 2:16:35 PM 
as well as older thrash acts who all of the sudden have brought in gothenberg type song structures
ex. kreator, holy moses
u can't deny their aren't a shitload of bands copying this style now and on my original post i stated Gothenberg "type" bands meaning bands that play in a similar style to the swedish originators

   ermm 8/4/2005 2:07:11 PM 
i meant the american bands who use the style in conjunction with metalcore

   Lee 8/4/2005 12:18:26 PM 
being a dumb ass, but your ass is more rounded, pronounced like "domed"....

   greg 8/4/2005 12:08:12 PM 
you'd better ask Lee

   me 8/4/2005 11:51:08 AM 
explain doumb to me

   greg 8/4/2005 11:28:41 AM 
yeah, listen to Lee you doumb ass.

   Lee 8/4/2005 10:21:04 AM 
You doumb ass Gothenburg burned itself out like 5 years ago, the "recent" surge was like in 96 or 97, don't pay attention to the copy cat American metalcore bands, true Gothenburg is stuff like early DT, In Flames, Soilwork, Gardenian and the like

   Speci 8/4/2005 8:55:19 AM 
He seems like a cool guy, but that doesn't change my opinion of STYE. If they don't want to make albums like they used to that's fine, but that doesn't mean they have to make crap like the last one.

   Swedish 8/4/2005 6:27:40 AM 
i guess every Album of In FLames is kinda cool in its own way. I kinda love them all from the beginning. Further IN Flames might be the best live Act I've ever seen.

   greg 8/3/2005 11:23:14 PM 
They're not jumping on a trend. If they released STYE 3-5 years ago that would've been jumping on a trend. Good interview, Anders seems like a pretty cool guy.

   ermmm 8/3/2005 10:11:48 PM 
i would say this recent surge of gothenberg type bands is just as much a phase or trend as nu-metal

   Eminor 8/3/2005 10:02:25 PM 
Thanks for the good interview.

   yeah 8/3/2005 9:32:55 PM 
i dont know what's your problem with you guys, if you dont like what they are doing now, just dont listen to them, they dont want to do the same album, again , again and again, and besides that, i dont know what's the "awfully thing" about STYE, it is not a perfect album, but it is still great, whatever..

   Nathan 8/3/2005 8:39:26 PM 
If nu-metal was just a phase and your saying "don't jump on a trend?" ... I'M FUCKING CONFUSED!

   Lee 8/3/2005 12:36:35 PM 
Interview, thanks. Their music is kind of shitty now, but the guys are cool

   Khaooohs And Kon-Fus-Ion 8/3/2005 11:18:18 AM 

   Cody 8/3/2005 10:24:17 AM 
I gotta say even though I wasn't impressed with Soundtrack..., Anders always has stood by that album and previous ones. Most of the time when an artist gets attacked for an album, they'll go back on it and say the mood was wrong or something. Yet Anders still defends those records in the fullest.

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