Metal Wani editor in chief Owais "Vitek" Nabi recently conducted an interview with guitarist Björn Gelotte of Swedish metallers IN FLAMES. You can now listen to the chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how the first two songs from IN FLAMES' upcoming album, "Battles" — "The End" and "The Truth" — have been received by the fans:
Gelotte: "I'd say in general, it's been really, really good. It makes me really happy, obviously. Since we kind of create the music for us and for our taste, I think we're bound to always divide the audience a little bit. And we have been around for such a long time. And making twelve records, it means that we need to do something slightly different every time for us to be really interested and feel that we're doing exactly what we wanna do. So, of course, not everybody agrees on it, but that's just the thing with music — it's a taste thing, and everybody is allowed to have an opinion."
On whether "Battles" will once again get a mixed response from new and old IN FLAMES fans:
Gelotte: "We always divide our listeners into two camps, and I kind of like that fact better, which means you actual affect people. If everybody would say, 'Well, we don't care about this at all,' then I would be sad, obviously. But I have to say that our sound has evolved so much over all these years, over all this touring, all these different records that we've put out that I understand for a newcomer to listen to 'Battles' and put that next to, let's say, [1996's] 'The Jester Race', it's quite a transition, it's quite a difference, but if you keep in mind that there's, like, ten records in between and almost twenty years, I guess you'll see it with different eyes. I think the most important part is that people actually do care."
On where IN FLAMES gets its musical inspiration from:
Gelotte: "I think that we always had inspiration from all sorts of genres. There's no real recipe to make an IN FLAMES record. I think in the end, if all of us that contribute start playing together and we agree on certain things, it will be and sound like an IN FLAMES record. We don't wanna do the same record over and over again. Very few bands can do that — you have probably [IRON] MAIDEN; they have very similar albums, I would say, and they get away with it, because they're so good at what they do. AC/DC is another one of 'em. We are not. We are always searching. We need to be satisfied. When we're happy with it, then the negotiation is over. Because if we don't like it, and we have to play the songs a thousand times live, I probably wouldn't do this. I love each and every song and the way they turned out, and different studios give it a different atmosphere. Living in Berlin [Germany] for six weeks absolutely added a melancholy [feel] to the sound of 'Siren Charms'. And now, living for nine weeks in L.A., recording ['Battles'], that obviously gave a different vibe to the record. You don't really think about that before, but it just happens along the way, and I think it's fantastic. It adds an element that you can't really control."
On working with producer Howard Benson on "Battles":
Gelotte: "We've had producers in the past — we worked with Roberto Laghi, we worked with Fredrik Nordström from Fredman, we worked with Daniel Bergstrand from Dugout [Productions]; I mean, we worked with all these guys — but it's always been sort of… in the end, we will decide anyway; we don't really listen. I mean, we do, but, basically, it's maybe a co-producing kind of thing. This time around, we decided, we have Howard, and he's super good at what he does — let's use him as a filter, like sort of you can bounce ideas off him. And he was not writing anything, but he was really, really filtering and really distilling our thoughts and ideas and made us focus in a way that we've never done before. We never let anybody in, and we did this time, which, it was scary as shit, obviously, in the beginning, but he turned out to be such a really cool guy, very focused. He never wanted to change us into something that we're not; he just wanted us to make sure that we're at the top of our game. And he did; his team was fantastic. So the whole experience was… I'm sad that we hadn't done it before, let's put it like that. We were there to work, and having this efficient team around us, we could… We ended up doing fifteen songs instead of the original eleven. There's actual twelve on the record, but we still have three more songs. And that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't such an inspiring, efficient environment. The people that we worked with… I didn't wanna lie in the sun and sip a cold beer. I could sit in the studio and sip a cold beer and create."
On new IN FLAMES drummer Joe Rickard, who replaced Daniel Svensson earlier in the year:
Gelotte: "I'm, to be honest, not worried at all about his drumming, because the first time he sat behind the drum kit and said, 'Let me have a shot. Let me have a go at it,' and he started playing, and we were just laughing, because he was so good. His technique is very similar to how Daniel plays. He's very, very consistent — he's not all over the place; he's really, really focused on what he wants to do. He writes his parts in advance and he lays it down and then he wants to make it perfectly. And I'm sure that that's how it's gonna be live as well. I'm sure people will welcome him with wide-open arms and he will fit right in. We haven't really played together yet, and we haven't actually done any live shows yet, so we'll see, obviously. But the feeling I have is really, really good."
"Battles" will be released on November 11 via Nuclear Blast in all territories excluding North America and Scandinavia and Eleven Seven Music Group in the U.S.