Rob Herrera of Front Row Live Entertainment conducted an interview with frontman Anders Fridén and guitarist Björn Gelotte of Swedish metallers IN FLAMES prior to the band's March 19 concert at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, California. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On what led them to work with producer Howard Benson again:
Björn: "So many things. We learned a lot from the guy. He has a perfect setup with [engineer] Mike Plotnikoff and the guys who were helping out. Super efficient. We just love the place and the studio. The way that 'Battles' turned out was such a good experience that we wanted to do it again."
On whether Fridén went into the recording of "I, The Mask" with the mindset of using more melodic vocals:
Anders: "Not at all. I do whatever I have to do. It's like painting a picture. The music and the vocals should go well together. With this one, some parts we started with some lyrical content and melody or we started on the guitar, then we just built from there. Whatever we feel is good ended up on the album. If it sucks, we throw it away. We're just trying to write the best possible IN FLAMES album we can. We have that mindset every time, every time we go in to do an album, that's what we're thinking."
On how Benson challenged IN FLAMES in the studio:
Anders: "He screamed at us a little bit more. [Laughs] He pushed us a little bit more. The first time, yeah, the honeymoon, you get to know each other. Björn and myself, we were prepared and we know how these guys work, but also they know us and I think he knows really well how to — I record my vocals with him and Björn is doing his parts with Mike Plotnikoff and Howard really knows when to push me and also shake me to life when I'm dead and tired. He's really pushing and making me be at my best when it's time to record. He has a great sense of melodies, harmonies and a really good ear. When we write stuff, maybe Björn and myself, we come up with a lead part and have some harmonies, but Howard also plays some stuff on the piano and I start singing after the piano and we build it up that way and make the chorus even bigger from what we had on the early demo stages."
On 2002's "Reroute To Remain", which was the first IN FLAMES album to significantly incorporate clean vocals:
Björn: "We just changed the producer and studio, basically [from Fredrik Nordström at Studio Fredman to Daniel Bergstand at Dug-Out Studios]. That's the difference. Writing-wise, musically we write the same things, or at least whatever it is that we're not planning to do. It just happens. Again, the only thing we knew was that we wanted to work with someone else. He [Bergstrand] has his special sound. And so, does the studio have a certain sound and so did we at the time. We're still constantly developing our sound. That was the time. Musically, we didn't really change anything, other than what we always do, which is try to take the next step and evolving IN FLAMES into what we want to hear. I don't know. We didn't change much, beside producer and studio, which is pretty much a big deal, I guess."
Anders: "I think this is how it is every time. We record what we feel like. Don't get me wrong: I love our fans and the reason we can travel the world is because of them. But we write the music, then it's mixed, mastered, we give it away to the record company, it's released, then it's up for debate. It's out of our hands. Then, people say this or that. That's totally fine. Our mindset doesn't really change. Like I said, we want to write the best possible IN FLAMES album again and again and again. Since we don't write on the road, it will be two, three years between albums. Obviously, things happen. It is what it is."
On how starting families has affected their touring workload:
Anders: "Honestly, not as much as you would think. I mean, our kids grew up in this. They don't know anything else. They know their dad is going away for a while here and there. It just works for us. I think it would be different and difficult if it happened today and you would bring up a kid today, or you're new to this and coming into this chaotic lifestyle. But, we don't know anything else. We have our ways and it works."
"I, The Mask" was released on March 1 via Nuclear Blast (worldwide, excluding North America) and Eleven Seven Music (North America).