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In Flames Interview

A Conversation with Vocalist Anders Friden

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In Flames Vocalist Anders Friden

In Flames Vocalist Anders Friden

Chad Bowar/About.com
Updated December 16, 2012
In Flames are wrapping up a U.S. tour with Lamb of God, in support of their 2011 album Sounds Of A Playground Fading. I caught up with the band’s vocalist Anders Friden on their bus before their Charlotte show, and we spoke about a number of topics.

Chad Bowar: What have been some of the highlights of this tour with Lamb Of God?
Anders Friden: Playing almost every day. That’s why we are here. After all these years I still enjoy being on stage and seeing people. Sometimes there’s a challenge getting people going, and I thrive on that. I really enjoy being here. We have known Lamb Of God for quite some time. It’s been really, really good.

When you’re on a tour like this, do you play the same setlist each night, or do you rotate a couple of songs in and out?
Towards the end of this tour Peter (Iwers, bassist) has to go home for his kid’s birth. So we have a friend with us that’s going to jump in and do some shows with us. On the very last show we have the guy from Sylosis playing for us as well. For their sake, we are sticking to the same setlist. But usually I like to throw in a couple of different songs here and there. It makes it more fun.

Up until last night Hatebreed was on the tour, and last night Hellyeah started. I imagine there’s a different vibe between the fans of those two bands.
It is a different vibe. We were on after Hatebreed every night. It doesn’t matter what type of band you are, everything you do will sound like a soft fart compared to them. But that’s cool. It keeps you on your toes. I like playing with Hatebreed. They are phenomenal live band.

In January you’re playing the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise. Have you ever played on one of those cruise ship tours?
No. I’ve been against that. But it’s part of something else we’re doing. We’ll continue to tour North America after that. It’s going to be fun, and some of our buddies are on there as well, so it will be a cool hangout.

The 20th anniversary of your debut album Lunar Strain is coming up in a little over a year. Will you be doing anything special, like a tour playing the album in its entirety to mark the occasion?
It won’t happen. We did something like that before everyone else did, for Soundtrack To Your Escape on the Used and Abused live DVD. I like playing the albums, but we don’t want to do what everybody else does.

Sounds Of A Playground Fading has been out for about a year and a half now. Are you satisfied with the response it received from fans and critics?
It’s not something I can control. I’m super pleased with the result, and the songs seem to go down really well. I’m happy with the result and the way it has done.

Since you’ve been around for 20 years, there are at least two generations of bands that have been influenced by In Flames. Do you ever think about things like that?
I think it’s fantastic. It’s awesome to hear. But it doesn’t make me feel bigger or better. When we end this career someday I’ll look back and think about how we made a mark, created something that was kind of new and brought in some melody to extreme music. I don’t think there is any band that sounds like In Flames.

Do you guys do any writing on the road?
No. We have all the time in the world, but we can’t. I don’t know why. I think we need some distance. That’s probably why each album sounds different from the other. There are a few years in between and we change as people. We bring these other influences that we pick up along the way, give it some distance, then start writing.

Do you find that when you play older songs that you change them a bit, either consciously or unconsciously, just because of where you are today as a band?
I think we sound way better as a unit. We are better at what we do. We don’t improvise that much, we just stick to the formula. Sometimes I would love to just jam, but that would mess things up.

As far as a timetable for the next album, do you plan on starting work on it in 2013?
We’ll keep touring until August or so, take a month off, and then start doing demos and pre-production. Hopefully we’ll have the recording done by the end of next year and it will be released in 2014.

Do you have any plans to do a live album or DVD any time soon?
Not really. But it will happen eventually. I want to document who we are today and our whole career.

You also run the record label Selective Notes. How active are you with that now?
Today I was listening to some mixes for a band I have in the studio now. It takes time, but it’s not something I have to do to survive, it’s something I want to do. I love being part of it, and maybe I can give something back to the younger bands. I learned a lot of things along the way and I think I can help them in a good way.

What do you look for in signing a new band?
I listen to whatever comes my way. Sometimes I go searching for stuff, or just stumble on somebody. I have a few indie bands, but I want to sign more rock bands, both harder and softer. That’s where I’m heading. It would be cool to find a really good heavy band. I want to sign younger bands that I can develop and help create something that has longevity.

You have your own brand of beer. How did that come about?
I’ve been a whiskey fanatic for a while, a collector. I take a trip to Scotland every year to visit the distilleries. It’s a lot of fun. A few years back I discovered craft brewing. There are so many good craft breweries in the U.S. We have them now in Sweden and Europe as well. I got a taste for the IPAs and stouts. Three years ago I got an opportunity. We have a big whiskey and beer fair in Stockholm every year, and I went around to some breweries there with an idea to intertwine beer and music. So I started a brand called Frequency. We have released eight beers so far. I don’t have any distribution here. It’s smaller batches. I think our biggest batch was 40,000 bottles.

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