IN FLAMES Bassist: We Never Left Our Musical Roots, We Just Evolved

PyroMusic.net recently conducted an interview with IN FLAMES bassist Peter Iwers. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.

PyroMusic.net: The new album is called "A Sense Of Purpose". Is there any special meaning behind that title at all?

Peter Iwers: It's a little bit about growing up and becoming, how to do I say it, middle aged? No one wants to admit that we are but I guess we are now that we're all 30-plus, and realizing the place we have in the world, it's different from a lot of other jobs or whatever. A lot of people consider us to be, maybe you know their idols or heroes or something like that. We have great meaning to a lot of people as musicians, as (in) the role we have in IN FLAMES a lot of people look up to us, and you know there's a certain responsibility that comes with that. We all have heroes and we all grew up having heroes and now to some people, we are, and that's really huge, that's a purpose in life as well, to be there and try to act respectfully and be a good role model. But at the same time you come home and you have kids and families and they just look at you like the normal guy that you are. My kids look at me and see dad, they don't see this big hero that some other people might see. It gives you perspective in life, you're placed here for a reason, you're a father, but at the same time also an ambassador of this band and people look up to you in a certain way. It gives a sense of purpose to the meaning of life basically: why are we here? We have to start thinking about how fragile everything is and you know how life has a lot of stuff that matters way more than yourself.

PyroMusic.net: A lot of IN FLAMES fans called for you to make a bit of a return to your early days with "Come Clarity", and some fans believe it somewhat did that, especially because of the greater use of guitar harmonies. Was there more pressure to do that again on this album?

Peter Iwers: No, not at all. I mean, I hate the term "going back to the roots." I hate it, because if you do that, why did you ever leave? I feel that we have never left, we just evolved. We did music that we felt was fresh and that we could stand for. We could never make a re-run of "The Jester Race" because it wouldn't be good, it wouldn't be the same. It was great then, at the period we were in our lives and then we made 'Whoracle' it was great then and then "Colony", but we can never re-make the records, we need to evolve and move towards perfection. And each time I think we add a little bit more: we're moving sideways or forwards, but we never move backwards and I think it's really important for people to understand that. We would never compromise or anything, we do what we want to do and there's no pressure from any record company or from our fans. Obviously we want people to like it, but at the end of the day the most important thing is be able to look into the mirror and stand for what you did, regardless of what people think.

PyroMusic.net: For older IN FLAMES fans who have perhaps dismissed the more recent albums without perhaps really giving them a chance, what would you say to them to get them interested in hearing this record?

Peter Iwers: That's a good question because I don't know. Like I said before, we won't compromise, we won't get into forums and read what they want us to write. I can just say that whatever you think, we do what we want to do to feel comfortable music-wise, and I think it's pretty darn good. I'm really pleased with it and obviously all of us are or otherwise it wouldn't be out there. So I hope you enjoy it, I hope you listen and give it a chance even though we're not... how should I say this? You know when you first discover a band and you think they're kind of yours? And then a lot of times you see them on the TV or your best friend who isn't even a metalhead likes them, you feel cheated out of it. I felt that feeling a lot of times when I grew up, and so I totally know about the feeling, but forget about the feeling and just listen to the music and let is speak for itself. Isn't it great if everybody starts listening to your type of music?

PyroMusic.net: Fair enough then. Other members of the band have remarked in interviews that you don't like playing songs from albums like "The Jester Race" live because you feel that when you do, very few people in the audience react to them. Is that still a deterrent for you to play those songs?

Peter Iwers: Yeah, totally. I mean, we love playing songs from each record but the more records we make the more we need to focus on later material because there's only so much time when you have a show. To be honest, yeah, that is unfortunate... we pick up these old songs every time we're going to a tour. We make a set list that we add all these songs (to) that we've never played before or that we played like five or six years ago. And usually, not always, but usually on a show most people don't know these old songs...it's not just that we don't play them because of that, but obviously when you play a show you want people to get into the music, and if people are just like "huh, what was that song?" it's not as fun. When we play our own headline shows we always include older songs and everything like that, but the reaction you get isn't the same as the newer ones and we have to say that many of the people who came to the show came to see songs from the earlier albums and are going to get songs from those but we also need to focus on the later albums.

PyroMusic.net: I saw you guys play at Ozzfest in Boston a few years ago and you seemed to go over really well with the American audiences. Do you have any plans to play that festival again for this album tour?

Peter Iwers: No we're not. I mean, it was cool to be on, but to be honest it wasn't one of the best organized festivals that I've been on. I think that the way they cheated people out of their money in a way (by) saying that they could see all 12 or 15 bands or whatever there was... We were the first band going on the main stage and we had ROB ZOMBIE headlining the second stage, (and) it was always intervening with each other, he was usually late on stage and we had to go on early because of the other acts. So it was just... when they advertised for the show they say you could see everything but that's actually not true. Instead of doing it like they do in Europe, where most festivals they have schedules and different stages and you know if you watch this band you might miss that one. But it's advertised that you can see both bands and then you go to the next band and you miss half their set. It's just rubbish. So unless they put us on a better slot or increase the conditions... like having a dressing room for instance. When its 40 degrees it's really, really warm and you play outside you need a place to shower and stuff like that, and I didn't feel that they could provide any of that. I think we had a dressing room (at) maybe three of the shows? And I'm not saying I need to be spoiled or anything like that, just have a good time, and I think easy stuff like that shouldn't be so hard to accommodate, and if you can't then you have too many bands.

Read the entire interview at PyroMusic.net.

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