In Flames

author PP date 09/08/06

Back on the 23rd of febuary I decided to catch In Flames for a phone interview, so Miray and me wrote up some questions and I called them up. Originally I was supposed to talk to guitarist Björn Gelotte, but because the band had been a bit delayed, I got Drummer Daniel Svennson instead for some reason. Too bad, since I had really looked forward to asking Björn about his awesome tatoo, heh. But no worries, Daniel is a great fellow, and we got a pretty good talk out of it. The band was at the time currently on the road in the US, and it was about 4 or 5 in the morning over there, and poor Daniel had a hangover from last nights partying. They are now back home in Sweden for a break, before they emerge on their full scaled european tour, starting the 12th of March in Oslo. Here's the results of our chat: How's the tour going so far?

Daniel: Excellent actually. I think all the shows are sold out, that we are doing. Touring in the US compared to touring in Europe... what's the difference between The US and Europe?

Daniel: When it comes to the fans it's kind of the same. In The US, the life around the tour itself is more convenient. It's easier to find restaurants and food and stuff. You can always order pizza. Sometimes when you play in Europe you play in the middle of nowhere basically. But the venues in Europe are usually a little bit better than the american ones. There are some really crappy venues over here sometimes. But otherwise it's kind of the same actually. You're returning to Europe in March. Where are you mostly looking forward to playing?

Daniel: In Sweden actually. It's been a long time since we've played a headline show in Sweden, so I'm really looking forward to the Stockholm and Gothenburg shows. We're going to Slovenia as well, we've never been there, and Poland... there's a lot of new countries that we haven't played before that we're going to visit on this tour. So it's gonna be really cool. You've been touring a lot for the last year, and you're far from done. Are you starting to get sick of it? Don't you ever get sick of touring?

Daniel: No. I mean, that's why we're doing it. We love touring. That's the fun part about being a band. I mean, to record an album, that's not that fun, you know? It's when it's recorded and released, when you can go out and play in front of people that like your music, and you feel appreciated. That's why we're doing it. The day I start to get sick and tired is the day I quit. Directly. So it isn't tiring being with your band mates all the time, and not seeing your families so often?

Daniel: Yeah that's the worst part of course. I mean, we all have kids, except for one guy in the band, and it's really hard to be away for a long time. I mean, you get used to it. You get used to everything. It's worse for our wifes, they have to stay home and take care of everything. How long is between you see your families on a regular basis?

Daniel: Last time when we did Ozzfest it was two months in a row, so I mean... We always try to have a short break at least a week or two in between tours. It can be two months sometimes, in a row, so it's pretty hard. You've been touring as support for a lot of very big bands like Motörhead and Judas Priest. I can imagine that your music doesn't always fit their crowds. What's it like playing in front of these crowds compared to doing a headlining show?

Daniel: It's totally different of course. It makes you humble in a way. It's good to be... not that we are... I mean, it gets you humble, you have to fight a little bit more. You don't get anything for free. That's the good thing about doing support tours. Especially with bands that have fans that don't even know about your band. It's a good experience. Can you explain to me the craziest thing that's ever happened to you when you were on stage?

Daniel: I don't know... we've done so many shows... there doesn't really happen any crazy things on stage... Nothing really, nothing strange that I can recall actually. Okay, I wanna talk about your new album "Come Clarity". Are you satisfied with the album, and how are you feeling about it?

Daniel: Yeah, very satisfied. Extremely satisfied. I mean, it's the best album in stores this year [chuckles]. We're happy about it, and it seems that the reviews and everything have been over all expectations. I haven't seen one single bad review of it. So it seems like people like it as well, which is good. What's your personal favourite song on the album?

Daniel: I would say "Take This Life". It has all the elements of In Flames. It represents In Flames pretty good in one song. The melodies and everything combined. So I would say "Take This Life". I can imagine it's fun to play for you, with all the different drumlines?

Daniel: Yeah, it's a little bit tiring [laughs], a little bit too fast, so... but it's a great song. Yeah, I agree. You finished writing the album at the end of 2004, right?

Daniel: Yeah, and we recorded it during March 2005. So I mean, we had the songs ready for a long time, and it's kind of frustrating not to release an album when it's done, you know? But the plan was to release it directly after Ozzfest last summer, but since we didn't have a record label... we were still negotiating between different labels, so it got postponed until now. But I think it was good timing anyway, but it's always frustrating when you know you have a good album, but you can't release it. Were you playing the songs live in that period?

Daniel: No no, we didn't play any of those songs. Okay. I want to talk about the song "Dead End" with Lisa Miskovsky. How did you get in contact with her? Why did you make a song with her?

Daniel: We met her at a festival in Sweden a couple of summers ago, and we started to talk. She was actually a metal fan, and she really liked In Flames. And then when we were recording a new album we thought it was cool just to ask her if she wanted to join in a song. It was mostly for fun, and she said "yeah, of course". So she came to the studio, and we picked "Dead End". I think it fits perfectly with her voice and everything. It's not that... we didn't write a song for her, we just asked her if she wanted to join in a song, and we chose "Dead End" instead of the obvious choise like maybe "Come Clarity", a ballad, that would be very cliché, so we chose an agressive song instead. So you're happy with the result of that?

Daniel: Yeah, it sounds great. Will she play any shows with you, you think?

Daniel: No, I don't think so. I mean, if we do a festival together she might do a guest apperance maybe, sometime, but nothing's planned. The recording of the album, the drums and vocals were recorded at "Dug Out Studio", while the guitar and bass were recorded at "The Room"; Anders' studio. How come you didn't record it all in one place?

Daniel: We wanna do different stuff all the time, and I'm really satisfied working with Daniel [Red: Daniel Bergstrand at "Dug Out Studio"], I did it twice before. It's the same with Anders [Red: Fridén, vocals]. And the guitarists and Peter [Red: Iwers, bass] [incomprehensible] So we recorded all the guitars in a studio in Gothenburg. You released a DVD along with the album. How come there's playback on the DVD instead of the real live recording?

Daniel: The thing is... we did that just for the listening session for the journalists before the release of the album, and instead of just sitting in a room listening to the album, we thought we might just record us playing to the songs so they could see something while they were listening. And the record label thought it was cool, so they just put it out. It was actually not out choise, and it's not supposed to be live DVD. If you could change anything about the album, would you? And what would it be?

Daniel: Uhm, I wouldn't change anything. I'm really satisfied with it. You recently signed with Ferret Records in the US, because you had some problems with Nuclear Blast USA, right?

Daniel: No, I mean, they did a good job, but they're not really a big label over here, so the distribution is kind of poor. Like, when we played Ozzfest we couldn't find the records in the stores. And I mean, we've been touring here so much, and if kids come to our show and they don't have any In Flames albums, and the day after they go to the store and they can't find it... I mean, it's no point. So we felt if we wanna reach our fans we need to change label. That's basically that, and Ferret felt good, I mean they have good distribution, and they're not a major label, which is good as well. So we decided to join Ferret, and so far it's been really good. You recently recieved the Swedish government's exportation award at the Swedish Grammy awards. So how does it feel knowing that you are in the absolute elite on the world metal scene?

Daniel: That was kind of surprising [laughs]. It was a big surprise. But it's cool if they notice that there's other music around than just the commercial radio friendly music, you know... and for people to know that there are other bands out there representing Sweden, or whatever. Not only the pop or rock bands. So it felt great, but it was a big, big surprise. I want to talk about your old stuff a bit if you don't mind. You've changed styles radically over the years. Have these changes come naturally, or were you determined to do them, or did the record company have any play in it?

Daniel: No no, the record company have nothing to say. We are in total control of everything artistic. They just take care of the business part. They have nothing to say about that. When it comes to changes, I mean, the band started in '93, 13 years ago, and there's been member changes and everything. Of course you develop as a musician and as an individual, and I mean, we're not a band that wanna release an album that sounds the same every time. I mean, it's no point releasing another "Jester Race". We want to write new stuff all the time and experiment a little bit. That's how we work. So how do you feel about your old musical style versus your newer style, and which do you enjoy playing the most? And why?

Daniel: Of course I enjoy playing the newer songs, 'cause I haven't played them as much as the older ones. It's kind of natural. But I don't see the older stuff so much... I mean, the difference is not that radical I would say. I mean, for me it's In Flames songs all over. For me it's not big difference. I mean, if you compare "Lunar Strain" to "Come Clarity" there might be a slight difference, but we have released seven albums in between, so if you follow each and every album, the changes are not that big actually. What about Anders' vocals. How do you feel about the progression of them over the years? Which do you like most? The old hardcore death metal vocals or the newer more screamy ones?

Daniel: I think it's a perfect mix now. It's more dynamic first of all. Before it was just growling, and I mean, we all wanna develop our musical skills on instruments, and Anders' instrument is his voice. I try to do stuff on the drums on every album, so it's natural that he want to try and do stuff... I mean, it fits the songs perfectly without growls and stuff. It adds more dynamics to the songs. Okay, this is a stupid question. On "Reroute to Remain", Anders was said by the press to sound like Marilyn Manson, and on "Soundtrack to Your Escape" he was said to sound like Jonathan Davis. What do you think he'll be said to sound like on the new album?

Daniel: Uhm, first of all I don't see any similarity actually [chuckles]. The thing is, people compared us, and said that we sounded like Linkin Park, and people just talking shit. The thing is, when we released Reroute, we took another step in our career, and for some people it became a little bit too big, and then they just started to talk shit about the band. That's the whole thing. Which songs do you enjoy playing the most from some of the older albums?

Daniel: I like to play all the songs. I mean, we're still playing "Behind Space" from "Lunar Strain" for example on live sets. It's a great song to play live. It's hard, I mean we have so many songs, I don't even remember all the songs we have, but I enjoy playing all of them. So you don't have any favourite?

Daniel: No specific favourite song. "Behind Space" might be one of them. I think that's it. Thanks for the interview. Do you have anything you want to say to the fans?

Daniel: Yeah, hopefully we'll come to Denmark sometime. It's been a couple of years since we've been there. Yeah, how come you're not playing in Denmark?

Daniel: I don't know, it's not up to us. I mean, I wanna play everywhere, it's not far from where we live either. But it's all up to booking angencies, you know? A lot of business stuff out of our control. Hopefully we'll do Roskilde sometime again, or at least play in Copenhagen or something.

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