This phone interview with the vocalist Anders Fridén of In Flames was done by Alexa Kasparek on February 18th, 2004.

In Flames have been one of the founding fathers for the melodic death metal scene from Sweden. With their last album "Reroute To Remain" the band started experimenting more with clean vocals and electronics than in the past which could be traced back to the album title. With "Soundtrack To Your Escape" the band take the next logical step in their career. Vocalist Anders Fridén took some time off to speak to our German friend Alexa Kasparek about the new album and other things.

How are you?
Uh, great, nothing to complain, what about you?

I have a cold at the moment, but okay.
Not that good. Well, okay then…

On Friday evening (13.02.2004) you played at Popstad, which was broadcasted in the internet. During the half an hour, that actually could be heard, you played The Quiet Place. Was it the first time you played a song of the new album live?

How was the reaction of the audience?
Amazing! They were jumping, screaming... better than we dreamt of.

The Quiet Place was chosen as first single, too - how did you decide which ones to be on the single?
We needed to choose three songs to present the whole album and we thought that would contain everything, every side of the album...

The Quiet Place has quite a lot of keyboard sounds and clean vocals – some older fans have already complained about the lack of death-metallic sounds and the increase of synthies – what would you answer them?
Uh, they should go and buy another album, you can't record an album using the same things again and again. We don't mind, but we need to to something new, we have to decide what it's best and if people don't like it, we can’t do anything about it.

I even know some people who claim that you changed your style just to reach a wider audience!
No, that's bullshit! We didn't change the sound that much, it's just a progression that started and we go on with it. You can't compose songs just to please people, no way.

Yeah, I even like your newer albums more than the old ones.
Great to hear! (laughs) See, you like it and we reached something.

Your voice sounds great on The Quiet Place and quite different to the previous releases - do you take any singing lessons in general - or especially for the new album?
No, only under the shower maybe! (laughs)

How would you describe the differences between Reroute To Remain and Soundtrack To Your Escape?
Bigger, better! It has everything in it we did before and we’re really happy with it. We’re always about to write the perfect album, and when we'll reach it, we'll probably stop recording albums, that's the point where you can't continue… - and with Soundtrack To Your Escape we nearly reached it! Well, we didn’t reach it now, so we will continue trying it and of course recording new albums.

Why did you choose "Soundtrack To Your Escape" as title - as far as I know it’s the first album which is not named after a song?!
Yeah, I never thought about it, but you're right! Well, sometimes it's just that you have to escape from reality and that’s how I came up with the idea – you know, we're touring quite a lot and then you need some time. Then in the tourbus, I go to sleep, close the curtain, put my earphones on and listen to other people's music, other people's art. Then I can dream away for a little second and that helps me, I draw energy from their music and hopefully with our music I can give our audience get a chance to get away from their hectic life they live. There are a lot of negative things going on in the world, politics and war, and when they listen to our album and read the lyrics, they can put themselves as the main character of this history or whatever it is and make a sountrack for themselves, they can disappear.

Talking about your upcoming tour now. I guess it's quite hard after so many albums to choose songs to play live. How many of the older ones do you actually choose? from the first albums like Jester Race or Whoracle?
We hear it from all fans "please, play something from Jester Race and Whoracle and Colony or whatever" but we learned over the years that we write our music, our songs, from live-perspective, all songs from Soundtrack To Your Escape we're able to play live, and they will sound good live. The songs from the Jester Race - we were young, we were like trying to get everything into one song, all tons of melodies at the same time, different guitarlines and so on. They will sound totally crap and weak and that's why we don't play those songs live. And when it comes to choose songs - yeah, it’s harder and harder for every album, you need to play songs from the new album, you want to present the new album and that's why we have to kick out some old stuff. It's really hard which ones we will choose or which are not supposed to be in there, but we have to make it interesting and challenging for us so it feels good to play the songs; it shouldn't be like we have to play them, because the audience will see that we are forcing ourselves I guess - we want to be happy, but it's harder and harder every time, of course.

Will the setlist differ or will it be the same every evening?
I think we will have something like certain songs that we'll play every night and then we have a rotating scheme - different songs that we can add from night to night.

Do you already know which band will support you during the tour?
I will know in a few days - at the moment I won't say anything.

What about your future plans: Many bands already released some DVDs; it seems to be a kind of trend in music business. Are there any plans to release one by yourself?
Sure I want to release a DVD, but I don't want to release it just for the sake of it. As you said it's kind of a trend - I don't know, but it’s more quantity than quality for some people. I want to release something when we have something good to show, something good to offer. Maybe at the end of the year after all the touring we can collect enough material to do something interesting - I don't want to have just the normal one hour of a live concert, then some backstage stupid stuff and then that's it - I want to have something extra, we'll see what we’ll come up with.

Could you ever imagine to record an album on which you'll go back to the roots?
Why? We have all the roots with us, why do we have to go back to the roots? If you’re a band and you say "Ah, we need to go back to the roots", then you lost something along the way, there’s no point. We exist for ten years now and we can't write the same songs again and we don't want to do.

Now a quite silly thing: Asking some other fans what they'd like to know about you – most people mentioned your hairstyle! There were quite a lot of questions like "Why does Anders have these dreadlocks?" or "Can't Björn and Anders shave their beards again?" What do you think about that?
(laughs) I just laugh! Whatever, I had long hair my whole life – we were touring and I was saying ‘either I cut it off or I get dreadlocks’. I want to have long hair a little bit more but it was tiring to comb my hair every day and then I just did it! It has nothing to do with the music, but if it seems to be interesting to them... sure! And when it comes to the shaving: I have never seen Björn without beard, he always had the beard, I think he was born with a beard!

I’m running out of questions now – do you have any words for your fans and our readers?
Yeah, buy the only album that you need to have this year – Soundtrack To Your Escape! (laughs)

So, thank you very much for the interview.
Yeah, you're welcome, and thank you for the support.

And see you on tour!

Links of interest:

In Flames
Nuclear Blast