The Playground Fading. An interview with Anders Fridén of In Flames.
Click here to check out the photo gallery of In Flames at Expo Five in Louisville, KY.
In Flames’ career has been a long and storied one. Expanding on their sound since their beginnings on Lunar Strain, they have weathered a loss of members and the joining of old friends, to get to where they are today. Sounds of A Playground Fading was released last year, June 15, 2011. Musically, they still retain their Gothenburg style of melodic death metal, while expanding upon it in their own way.
I’m joined here today with Anders Fridén, vocalist of In Flames. Anders, I would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with us, and to welcome you to the Unsung Melody family. It has been almost two years since Sounds of A Playground Fading has been released, and according to Daniel Svensson (In Flames drummer) in a recent interview, he stated that you all have nothing written for your next album. However, have you been thinking forward about what direction you will be taking with the next album?
No, not yet. We will sound like In Flames, however that turns out. We’re not going to turn into a country band, or an industrial band, or a punk band. Obviously, you should hear it two to three years between albums, I would think. I admire lots and lots of bands, like AC/DC, that can do the same album again and again, but at the same time, deviate here and there. I don’t want to be that band. I don’t want to be a band that everyone knows exactly what they are going to get. We all mature, develop, and try to expand our own instruments in what we do, as far as possible. What we are able to do will sound like In Flames, but it will not sound exactly like the previous album. If people can trace our history through the albums, and I don’t want to do the same thing again and again. At the same time, to me, the balance between the melody and the aggression is still important.
Niklas Engelin (guitarist) has been a part of In Flames, off and on, for a while now. He had been filling in for Jesper the last time I saw your show, in 2009. Is he now considered a full-fledged member of In Flames, and will he take part in the writing process on the next album?
Oh yeah, he’s a full member. We will see that works out and what we will do. Me and Bjorn have been doing the In Flames albums and we have a good vision of where we want to go. He’s definitely considered a full-time member. He’s always been there for us. Helping out, and when Jesper left, he was like “Of course, I’ll do this.” We haven’t looked back since. He’s awesome, energy, injection to the machinery. He’s always good live, and he’s good at guitar.
It’s well known that you are a lover of fine whiskey. Do you, in particular, have a taste for Kentucky bourbon? And what label of Kentucky bourbon do you enjoy most?
There’s some really good ones. I’m not into the most mainstream stuff. It’s not like I complain when I get it. I would rather look beyond the most obvious stuff and find the small, hand-crafted small-batch bourbons, in that case. I have a nice selection of bourbon at home, even though my selection of whiskey is WAY bigger. Whatever it is, if it’s done with heart and you can feel how people put their soul into it, I appreciate it. It can be anything.
What have you been listening to lately? Anything that would throw your fans off?
Right when you came in, I was listening to Witchcraft, which is a Swedish band. They released a new album which is fucking fantastic. That’s what I’ve been doing. A free streaming sample of the new Deftones also sounds very promising. I recommend Witchcraft to anyone.
What kind of reception have you received from playing material off of Sounds of A Playground Fading?
Very good. Very, very good. Obviously it’s hard to know exactly what everyone thinks in the audience, and it’s hard to please everyone. The whole reaction to the songs have been great. The songs are written to be played live, and I feel it works.
What is the craziest thing that has happened on this tour?
We bought a stuffed bear. Very stupid.
You’ve got to have a little bit of fun.
It’s with us. A lot of things happen. It’s fun when it happens, but when you tell it a second time, it’s just a spur of the moment. I think it’s out in the audience doing sound.
What is your favorite song to perform, out of all of your material?
That’s very hard. It changes from night to night. It really depends on the connection between us and the audience. It could be a song that you play a million times, or it could be a new one. It’s all about that, the communication with the audience. If it’s there, it’s magical.
Every time I’ve seen you in Louisville, when you play The Quiet Place, the crowd just gets into it every time.
It’s very hard to explain. I think you need to experience from my eyes, from my ears. It’s obvious when it’s there, but it’s hard for other people to know, individuals as well. Actually, that’s the driving force, to have those moments. If that feeling disappears, then there’s no point in going on. I love creating albums, but I live for the moment where I am in one room and feel connected. When that disappears, that’s it. I’m gone.
You all have been touring behind Sounds of A Playground Fading for the last two years or so. What kind of reception have you all been given during this tour?
It’s been really, really good. We are in a better state, playing better. We are having more fun than we have in quite some time. It’s good. We’re still continuing, and we can say stop at any moment and have rest. It’s not like someone is forcing us, like a record company putting a gun to your head and say “Out! Tour!” It’s us. We can at least tour, more, more, more and more. We have, up until after next summer, we will stop touring from this album. It’s been good.
That’s wonderful to hear. Some people just don’t appreciate what happens on a tour.
Then they should leave! I don’t get the point, you know? Again, it’s not a big bag of money that we are going for. Obviously it’s good, so we can pay rent and shit. It’s for the moments being out there on stage. Honestly, for us to cope each day, is that hour that we have on stage.
I think I’m not the only one curious these days about Passenger. It was mentioned a few years ago that you hoped to do another album, but quite some time has passed since then. Do you all still intend to get together and write a new album?
It’s been pushed to the side, I would say. Me and Niklas are here, together. We talk about it once in a while, especially after a few beers. Yeah, it would be so much fun. It would be, but I think we need time. It’s not something that should be forced. That’s how the first album came about. Brought a bunch of beers to the studio, and wrote shit. All of a sudden, we had an album. We had no intention of it actually being released. We just did it for the fun of it. Then we played it for them, and we were like “Yeah, let’s do this.” We had an album in the making, but after a while, it started to feel forced. It doesn’t feel right, so why should we do it? It might happen, it might not happen. I don’t really know what the other 2 guys are up to anymore. They may not even be in music anymore. Me and Niklas may be the only ones active.
Being that we are in Kentucky, at the moment, I want to ask you a random question about bourbon. If you started a distillery to make your own brand of bourbon, what would it be called, and why?
I do have a beer brand back home in Sweden, called Frequency. With that, I tried to incorporate a lot of music and musical elements. Usually people in fine dining and tasting, with beer and whisky, have these nice words for everything. I do think I connect with more people if I can describe it, like Frequency, with sounds and bands and maybe some other things. If they say, “Oh, this one has the heavy bass of Kyuss, blah blah blah blah blah.” It’s more fun doing it that way, can connect more that way. I think I would name it Frequency, continue it with that.
Anders, I would like to thank you for taking the time to allow us to speak with you. It’s been a pleasure!
In Flames members:
Anders Fridén – Vocals
Björn Gelotte – Guitar
Peter Iwers – Bass
Daniel Svensson – Drums
Niclas Engelin – Guitar
Keep up with In Flames below:
Purchase or preview Sounds of A Playground Fading from Amazon below:
Check out the video of their first single, Deliver Us, off their latest album Sounds of A Playground Fading!