In Flames’ Anders Friden Discusses ‘Siren Charms’ Album, Recording in Berlin + More
In Flames frontman Anders Friden was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show. The vocalist spoke about the band’s upcoming ‘Siren Charms’ album and what an experience it was to record in the historic Hansa Studio in Germany for the new disc. Check out the chat below.
It’s Full Metal Jackie, bringing you two full hours of metal each and every week. On the show with us this week we’ve got Anders Friden from In Flames. How are you my friend?
I’m great. I’m great. I’m melting away in Sweden because we have extremely hot weather right now which is not very common, so I’m trying to enjoy it and, but yet complain. You know, that’s how it is.
That’s a very strange thing to hear, it’s hot in Sweden.
Yeah. But it’s good.
The world must be really coming to an end.
Probably. It’s been really weird lately. The last few years, the whole, we don’t have any cold winters, and summers are way warmer than they used to, so something is happening.
Yeah, but, like you said, if you do get an air conditioner it will probably suddenly turn cold again, because that’s life.
Exactly. I’ve been looking, the last few days. I’ve actually been online searching for different companies, but yeah, I don’t want to jinx it. Then the summer becomes cool again and people start blaming me.
Well hey, Anders, we’re obviously here to talk about the upcoming In Flames record. Does the new album represent the current stage of the band’s evolution and what does ‘Siren Charms’ reveal about In Flames?
Ah, I mean, we just create an album and then it’s up for other people to say this or that, but I feel right now we’re in a very good place. It was a challenging album to record because we used half the time we did last time, but at the same time we went away to a very nice, legendary studio and it’s great to be part of that — being there, doing the album in Hansa Berlin. You know, I feel this is where we are today, and we always try to bring everything that we have done with us, but at the same time we want to take our songs further and wider and forward and we never look to the past and said, “Oh this is wrong, now it should be this and or that.” I feel we have everything right now where we are, as people, you know? So, I guess it represents the five members right now in the life, where we are.
‘Siren Charms’ began without the band even having a label. You guys have obviously since signed to Epic and Sony. Creatively, does not having a label attached at the onset of an album offer freedom or create anxiety?
No, it’s definitely freedom. I think we would be an A&R’s worst nightmare, because we never share anything. We have never done anything really … I mean, we invite the record companies towards the end of a recording, but we rarely send any demos, or… I’m always like, “Yeah ,yeah, we got stuff, you know, it’s fine.” And usually we don’t because it’s happening right there and then. We have parts of songs or certain riffs, and then the first few weeks in the studio we put everything together so it’s pretty much, everything’s happening there and then. So I don’t even think about labels and what others outside are saying about the band, you know? It’s just like, when we’re in the studio I’m just 100 percent focused on what we’re doing, and what the other band members feel and say.
How does a band of guys with such a respected catalog of albums hear and create music, or create metal, differently than those same guys when they first started making music?
Oh, I mean, it’s a whole different — the way we write music these days. In the early days we were all connected, and we stayed in the rehearsal space for a longer time, throwing riffs back and forth, and now it’s just, we barely rehearse ever. We create the music in the studio. And I think we’ve opened our ears to what’s happening around us more, and when you’re young, we grow up, we, you, you are so focused to be in a certain scene, being liked by others, and especially, it’s hard making metal.
To me I got attracted by the whole scene. There was, I thought, like metal and punk and hardcore, that type of music had no rules whatsoever, and that’s drawn me into the music scene. And then after awhile, I realized, oh, there’s supposed to be a lot of rules in this type of music. At first, maybe we tried to stay more within those rules in a way, but now we’re just like whatever. We do whatever we want. So we have grown and matured at the end, and we are more open to everything and so that is definitely different.
The new album ‘Siren Charms’ was recorded at Hansa Studios in Berlin, where so much rock history has been recorded. David Bowie, U2, Depeche Mode, just to name a few. How did being conscious about so much rock history affect the sessions for ‘Siren Charms’?
I guess the studio affects all of us in different way. You can decide and let the studio affect you a lot, but if you’re just, “I don’t care about this,” and not me personally, but if you go into a studio and you say, “I don’t care, it’s just another recording studio,” plug in your guitar and you play your riff and then go home, then obviously the whole thing doesn’t affect you. But for me, personally, it’s a huge thing.
All those bands that you mentioned that had just, I mean, this whole building has such a long history. It was there before the Wall, during the Wall, and after obviously, and the whole building been there for like a 100 years, and they have a lot of documentary, and you can read stuff about the surroundings and everything in the studio, and the building and the studio. For me it’s almost like full circle in a way, because we did ‘Everything Counts’ by Depeche Mode on the ‘Whoracle’ album, and Depeche Mode, I got into when I was 10 years old, and at that point you were either a metal guy or a pop guy. There was nothing in between really. But I’d been very open to music my whole life, so now we got to record through the desk that they mixed ‘Construction Time Again’ by Depeche Mode, so, to me it was like, just, wow. And the whole feeling, and yeah… you have David Bowie albums, and you have U2, Iggy Pop, and Killing Joke and all that stuff. And it’s just like, it’s like a musical church.
I was there in the studio a year prior, to our recording, and I just called up the guys and say hey, we got to record in this place. This is a church of music, we’ve got to be here, and hope the city and the studio affect the album somehow. One reason we sold our studio in Gossamer, we recorded the previous albums as well, it’s a very very inspiring place.
Anders, ‘Siren Charms’ is your 11th album over a 20 year span…
Yeah, crazy, right?
That’s crazy. But naturally there’s an evolution from album to album, but how conscious are you of that evolution and making sure a new album develops from the last one, in a way that makes sense?
I’m not very conscious while I’m doing it. It’s not like I have, you know this vision, and oh, it’s got to be so much different. It’s just that now I reflect on the album. Oh, it sounds a bit different. But we just try to push ourselves forward, and probably not do the same thing in the end, because I don’t feel that looking back and trying to do the things that we’ve done again are not right towards those albums, or those songs, whatever.
And we are not the same people. We move on in life and that’s how I look at life in general. I just don’t dwell in the past. I embrace the future and move forward, hopefully learn from whatever’s been going on. But, the most, I mean I guess it’s important for us to incorporate melody. We want to stay in the metals. Metal is our home and we want to stay in that scene and run with it, but not do the same thing again and again.
Tell us about what the touring plans are going to be for In Flames this year.
Right now we start at the end of September, we start in Kłecko in Poland, and then we do a whole European run up until, I believe the 8th of November, and then we have some Asian dates, and then we have a little room for another place, which I can’t tell you right now, but I guess you can figure it out. And then it’s Christmas, and then we have a short break, Christmas and New Year, and then we’re off again. So, the whole 2015 we know where we’re going to be, not exactly what cities, but we know where we’re going to be. We know we’re going to be away for the whole year.
Awesome, well, looking forward to it. Thank you so much, Anders, and looking forward to this great record, ‘Siren Charms.’ Appreciate you being on the show.
Thank you, thank you very much. And thanks for the support.
In Flames’ ‘Siren Charms’ album is due Sept. 9 and you can currently pre-order it via iTunes. As stated, the group will spend most of the fall on tour in Europe. See their dates here. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.