In Flames keep changing with each new album. The Swedish legends have been together for over 24 years now and each new record always feels different from the last. It’s this outlook of purely writing music for yourself that has helped the band become so successful. We recently caught up with longtime bass player, Peter Iwers, to chat about upcoming album, ‘Siren Charm’s’.
Hi Peter, how are you?
I’m good thank you, yourself?
Not too bad, thanks. How are you feeling about having ‘Siren Charm’s’ being released so soon?
Feeling very well. We recorded it in November, December last year, and it was mixed in January and then we took some time off for a little vacation. I think that was the first time that we’ve done that after doing an album. So I’m very excited for it finally come out.
How does it feel to know you have guys eleven studio albums under your belts? That’s a huge catalogue of music after all.
It does when I stop to think about it, which I usually don’t (laughs). We’ve been doing this for so long and it’s amazing feeling to still to be able to do this. It’s simply amazing. When we started this, I always hoped that I’d be be doing this as a full time career, but I never thought that it would actually come true.
How was the recording process like this time when compared to ‘Sounds of a Playground Fading’?
It was shorter. I wouldn’t quite say hectic, but for some of us it was. Daniel [Svensson] had a dedicated two weeks to do drums. For me, I was very well prepared. I had about seventy-five percent already worked out and the remaining twenty-five percent I did when in the studio. So it becomes a bit more natural. It was also more focused. Instead of doing a demo of each song, which we did on the last album, we recorded for the first time and that was what ended up on the record. I really liked that process. I think that we need to have a schedule and a deadline, because we work best that way.
In terms of the location of the recording, I heard that the band actually chose to sell the Gothenburg studio?
Yes it is. We’ve loved having it but it was a really big space. The problem with a big space is that bands can’t really afford to do a big recording process. The whole plan was to have it as a commercial studio that anyone could rent it and get their own producers in, but we would still have it. It wasn’t really a good thing to keep though. It cost too much money to keep, and every time we went to do a record, we could take all the time in the world but it would cost too much money. So we just figured we’d sell it and rent out another studio. Which is what we did this time. This time we used was the legendary Hansa Ton studio in Berlin.
Did working at the Hansa studio help to give the album a different feel or tone?
Yeah, especially for Anders [Friden,vocals]. He went over with blank papers and nothing really written or prepared and he just wanted to be inspired by the scenery. For the rest of us, I’d say in certain ways it did, because we lived in Berlin for six weeks, it was a long walk from the apartments to the studio and I think it all affected the atmosphere in the studio. The whole point of recording there was to get away from our normal lives and really focus on the album. We are In Flames and we sound the way that we do regardless of the were we recorded.
After 24 years of being a band, do you ever see it stopping any time soon?
(Laughs) Yeah, it’s been quite a while now but no I don’t. None of us really look ten years into the future. We’re here right now and we’re just focusing on this cycle, which will be about two to three years of touring and the we’ll start thinking about the next release. We can do this as long as we want to. You’ve got so many good bands who are out there today who are still going strong even though they are way older than they probably thought they’d ever be. You’ve got the Stones, Aerosmith, Iron Maiden, Metallica, all of those guys are getting older and they are just doing it better than ever. That’s inspiring for us. We are approaching forty, some of the band members have already gone past that line and we’re still having fun with it. So as long as we still feel this, we will keep on going.
I’m happy to hear that man.
In terms of the touring, are there any plans to make your way back to Australia?
Yes, there is. Hopefully very soon. We have plans but of course, I can’t really reveal anything. Which blows because I know everything but we will be back very soon. I can’t wait! I loved touring there last time and I think you people are all very friendly, and the climates is great so I can’t wait to come back.
In downtime between recording and touring, do you you listen to much metal?
Oh yeah, I listen to everything. The latest music that I’ve purchased was the new Wovenwar [album], the remaining guys of As I Lay Dying. They were one of my favourite bands and Wovenwar are pretty great too. The latest Mastodon is a masterpiece too. Each new album of there’s is better than the previous one. DevilDriver is constantly in my iPhone but I listen to different types of music, just whatever I’m in the mood for really.
On the topic of As I Lay Dying, I was also a massive fan of that band, and I want to know how you felt when all of the accusations surrounding Tim Lambesis came to light?
I was shocked. I hadn’t actually seen those guys in a couple of years and there was some stuff happening in that time that I don’t even want to comment or think about. It’s just horrible, for everyone involved really. I don’t know what happened to him, I just know what I’ve read. It sucks, it just blows!
It definitely was a massive shock.
I’m keen to know what’s your opinion of metal fans who just think that metal music should only be a certain way with a certain set of aesthetics?
I think it’s sad, because I think it’s important to listen to music for what it is. I’ve discovered that when a band puts out a new record and I have expectations, I sometimes get disappointed. So I just try to listen to it, regardless of who’s playing. If I like it, thats fantastic! Regardless of whether it was extreme death metal before and now it’s melo-death or whatever people call it. If it’s good, it’s good and I think that’s how everyone should listen to music. You shouldn’t judge your favorite bands so hard. I remember when Metallica put out the black album and they were so heavily criticised for it. I was so sad for them. They don’t have any reasons to do what anyone else wants to do. They do what they want. They could sit back for the rest of their lives and still have a good time but they decided to keep on making music the way they want it to be. The reason why we started this, and the reason why I think we became successful, was because we did what we wanted to do. We never listened to record labels or to managers and just made music that made us comfortable.
Do you think that’s what makes In Flames stand out from the crowd is the evolution and changes in the band’s sound?
Probably. As soon as there are a few new songs out I see a lot of opinions going out. I guess the people who scream the loudest are the haters, but I find that they follow us through each record. I’ll give you an example. Back when we released ‘Reroute To Remain’ in 2002, we had a lot of followers, and we took a break during the recording process and did a tour with Slipknot and people started hating it. Even thought they hadn’t heard any of the songs. Then with the following album [‘Soundtrack to Your Escape’, 2004], people said we should go back to ‘Reroute To Remain’, and then it happened again with the album after that! I do think it is a matter of evolving but we live with this, and it takes some time for our fans to get used to an album. I hope they can find a common thread so that they can hear that it is always In Flames.
That’s a good outlook to have, especially nowadays where everyone wants to argue about which album was better and so forth.
Yeah. I think that’s it’s important just to listen to it for the music. Just forget about the band name for 45 minutes, if you don’t like it, don’t go bashing it and spending your energy on it. Just go listen to something else.
Well that’s all I’ve got for you man, thanks so much for your time Peter.
Thank you for your time too, it’s been a pleasure talking to you.
‘Siren Charm’s’ is out September 5th via Sony Music