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In Flames

Begin februari zal de nieuwe cd van In Flames in de winkels liggen. Nu is In Flames een band die keer op keer net voor een iets andere muzikale aanpak kiest en daarom is het elke keer weer verrassend wat de band tevoorschijn tovert. Deze keer is de verrassing des te groter, want 'Come Clarity' is met recht de beste In Flames cd ooit! Al die fans die dachten dat In Flames niet één beter of gelijkwaardig nummer dan 'Episode 666' of 'Pinball Map' kon schrijven, is 'Come Clarity' de ultieme verrassing. Toen de kans er kwam om telefonisch wat vragen te stellen aan gitarist Björn, maakte ik graag van die gelegenheid gebruik en op een woensdagmiddag half december spraken Björn en ik elkaar.

Door: Patrick | Archiveer onder death metal / grindcore

Hi Björn, Patrick from Lords Of Metal here. How are you doing?
Hi Patrick, all is well here and I hope that's the same for you.

Same here Björn; all is fine. Thanks for asking. Not yet tired of or fed up with all these promotional talks yet?
O no, certainly not. And hey, it is part of the job!

But those parts can be difficult to do sometimes.
They can be indeed, when you have conversations day after day and the same questions are being asked time and time again. But for now we have just started the promotional talks so I do not have any problems with them at all.

Well, let's talk about the new album. I think it is yet again another typical In Flames album with yet another approach than you guys had on the previous cd ('Soundtrack To Your Escape').
Well, that sums it up quite nice Patrick! The approach has indeed been a bit different. We have written the songs with a live performance in our head. All songs were written as they are to be performed live.
And we focused more on the guitar parts this time and we have added more speed to the songs.

That is definitely something one can hear on the cd.
Thanks! We wanted to remain the heaviness, aggression and melody but yet came up with something faster than before. It was very important for us to do so because this felt right. And I think it turned out quite well.

band imageIn Flames has always been the kind of band with a lot of diversity, with this new release being no exception. There is the balance between intensity and aggression but with an emphasis on melody. How difficult is it to find that balance? Is it something that comes naturally or do you have to look after?
Well, to us it is extremely important to stay true to ourselves. We are not focusing on what others would like to hear but do what we want to do and what we do best. We want to stay loyal to ourselves. So when you hear a kind of balance it is something that is natural and not something we have been searching for or tried to achieve.

If you do not stay loyal to yourself and try to do what everybody else want to do, if you are not being yourself, making music for the fans or the label instead of making it for yourself; well, it shows in the end?
You know: in the end it is us playing and hearing the song on an (almost) daily basis. Fans can come up to the show, they might even visit a couple of them and they will be playing the songs regularly but the ones we have to write the music for … is ourselves, as we work with our songs each and every day. And if we would do something that feels not great for even just one of us, I am sure this will show either way in the performance or the quality of the music.

The album was yet again recorded in the Dug-out studios again. Was that a logical choice?
Well, some parts of it have been recorded in the Dug-out studios, but the guitar parts have been done in Sweden. We all have families now so it was really cool to go home after a recording session and being able to focus on different things than music. It made us come fresher into the studio the next morning. In the past we have been in a place in Denmark, all being and living together in one place and that certainly puts some pressure on you. And that shows off in the songs. This time, the way we did it now, was comfortable for all of us and very relaxing!

You already told me that you had a very relaxed situation going in the studio. Can you tell me something more about what happened after the songs were recorded?
We sent the song to our two producers; Pelle Henricsson and Eskil Lovstrom. We did not work with them before so we were a bit anxious to see how things would work out. It was a bit frightening to hear the first samples indeed, especially as none of us had heard the whole album before. The guitar parts were recorded with only the drum parts and Anders only had the drum parts as well when he recorded the vocals. So the samples were the first time when we heard coming all these things together.

Was it not an exciting, yet confronting moment to hear the tracks for the first time then?
We had heard some samples before so we knew a bit of what we could expect. But it was with anxiety that we had our first listen.

So looking back on the recording there is not a thing you would have changed?
In the past we have been in a place in Denmark, all being and living together in one place and that certainly puts some pressure on you. And that shows off in the songs. This time, the way we did it now, was comfortable for all of us and very relaxing! And that relaxation gives you just that little bit of energy and creativity to come up with great instead of good things. We are completely satisfied with how things turned out, so no need for a change.

band imageOn the track 'Dead End' there is a female vocalist singing with Anders. Who is she and how did you get in touch with her?
Her name is Lisa Miskovsky. She is a singer/song writer from Sweden and here everybody knows about her. She has a very beautiful voice and is a very talented singer. The things she normally does do are very far away from what we do and I think nobody expected her to come up on one of our cd's. We heard that she, although she does do a totally different thing in music, likes metal and especially In Flames. So once we got the change to do something together we fully went for it and I think it worked out great. The vocals of Lisa are a great contrast with the vocals of Anders and it turned out perfectly. The vocals do not sound gothic as well as we definitely did not want that to happen.

When you go out on tour, will she be there as well to do the vocals on the track or have you not made up your mind about either laying this track live and/or Lisa being present yet?
She has her own career of course and so she might be a kind of busy. But when we will be in Gothenburg or so we might give it a try and she might show up. It would at least be a lot of fun. But for now there is nothing scheduled.

Anders has been quoted as saying “we would never do the same album over and over again”. With that said, how do you feel that the band continues to evolve while still maintaining the “In Flames” overall sound?
Hey, we all have grown older now, we have become different people. Sometimes people ask us if we ever can write an album like 'The Jester Race' again, but we do not want and can not write such an album again. We all have grown into different people and musicians now, so that is impossible and is not something we want to achieve. Now we focus on playing the songs live and that is different from the songs on 'The Jester Race', although they turned out to be great live.

Anders told a couple of months ago that 'Come Clarity' was originally supposed to be out in October, but some things changed that we don't have any control over.” Can you tell me a little more about this?
We did not have a record company in the US at the time the cd was recorded and done. So we decided to wait a little so we could release it worldwide at the same time. We wanted to make sure that for everybody the cd was available at the same time and people did not have to wait for it. The cd was already done in April, so it was a bit difficult to wait longer, but on the other hand … we had already waited quite a while yet, so what would be a couple of extra months? It is a very long time, but it is something that had to be. And if this happened again, I am sure I would not do it differently. Well, finally we signed a new deal in the US. It was Ferret Records.

Was it not a problem for Nuclear Blast to wait so long for your release?
Well, actually I think it was on of their guys who came up with the idea to wait with the release.

Can you tell us something about what happens to a band like In Flames when you finish the recording of a record? The cd will be out early February. What is coming towards you before and after the release and how do you deal with it?
O, so many things come at us in such a short period. There is a lot of stuff that releasing a cd brings with it; the promotion, press talks, decisions about which from which song(s) we will shoot a video, the video itself, all the work that needs to be done to do a good show. We always try to something extra and not just go on stage and play our songs. So we think about how we want to present ourselves on stage. And all these things need planning of course as the tour needs to be scheduled. And although it is real fun to do so, it all is compressed in just a few weeks.

So you are a busy man these days.
Well, the promotion is something we have done a bit better this time around as all five of us do press talks so that saves each of us a couple of days.

The first video of the new album will be for "Take This Life". Can you tell us something about it? Can you give us a sort of a preview?
I think it will be a mixture between a performance and a story based approach. I have not seen it yet actually as we are in the recording stage now so the actual video has not been finished yet. But expect something in between a performance and a story. I think it is to be done by the end of the year so you should be able to see it in January.

So the video needs to be seen as a part of the promotion of the new cd/
It is kind like a sort of single thing. So the song can be played on the radio and the video on tv.

Are you then getting some airplay at radio and TV in Sweden? The heaviest stuff radio and TV will be playing in my country are bands like Linkin Park. I fear In Flames is way too heavy to be on our national radio, but apparently n Sweden, that is different?
Well, it happens. We are sort of popular with one the radio channels and they usually do tape most of our live shows we do in Gothenburg. I am really flattered with this radio support. But on regular radio it is not so much.

band imageWho decides for what song there is going to be made a video?
We always have all the control in everything! People around us, like the record company and our management, might suggest all sorts of things, but we have all the control. We listen to their advice and when they have good reasons to choose another song for the video, we do listen to their arguments. But believe me … five stubborn guys are hard to convince! So it is us to make the decisions and nobody else!

When I received the promo it had a black cover with a grey drawing on it, but the actual cover, which is on your website for a couple of days now, is totally different. Did you guys just recently made the decision about the cover and was the send out promo therefore given just a cover?
Sorry, but indeed … the promo had to be send and the cover was not done yet.

No problem Björn, no need to apologize!
The thing just is that we had different ideas for the cover. I guess they just wanted to send out the promos early while we had not made up our mind yet.

You will be touring the US in January and February. When will we see you in Europe? How about the summer festivals?
It will be earlier than the summer festivals. We will be back from the US at the end of February, so you definitely will be able to see us before the summer festivals. Up till now we have a tour of five weeks planned through Europe, but as nothing is confirmed yet I can not even give you a sneak preview of the dates. But I expect us to come to the Netherlands for sure!

(And they do … after the interview it was made known that In Flames will be playing live at the 21st of March in the Netherlands. More dates around Europe have been scheduled as well; check the]]thebands website [/url] for more details.)

Can you give us a preview of what you are going to do during the new tour? Is there already something known about what to expect or will it be worked out in the upcoming weeks?
We have a pretty cool idea about what we want to do. We are now looking into it. We are trying to figure out if we can do all those things. But hey … it is pretty low standard in the US. In Europe the things are more worked out and we have availability on all the things we need, but hey … like I said: things still have to be worked out. You know us and you have seen us, so you know that we do not just want to play and go out there. It has to be a bit more.

A concert is visual after all.
Right! And that is why we want it to be more than just playing the songs. But for now nothing is certain yet regarding the upcoming tour.

Well, I see time is almost up Björn and I think I have all the things I wanted to know. Many thanks for your openness, time and patience!
No, thank you Patrick! This was a cool conversation. When you have a good time talking, it is interesting to have these press talks and this was quite fine with me!

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