We caught up with Anders of In Flames at Download Festival (see our review here!) for a chat about touring and longeivity – see what happened below!
How long have you been on-site?
We only just arrived, that’s probably why I’m shaking (Anders extends his twitching hands). Woke up at 7:30 this morning and came from Sweden Rock festival which we played last night.
How was Sweden Rock?
Really great, It’s a very cool event. We closed the last day with The Scorpions and Aerosmith closing the two days before and that’s quite awesome when you think about it. Ten year old me at this point would be like “what the f**k happened?!” and how did this all come about.
The last time I caught your performance live was in mid-January with Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold at the Cardiff date in South Wales which was an immense show all around, Can you tell us briefly what you’ve been getting up to since January?
Solid touring. Gigs all over Europe, festivals in America and we literally just got back. We’ve just started the festival circuit over here including Greenfield festival last weekend and it’s just a continuation of constant shows.
Any secrets to surviving big tours?
We all have families now which is good because it keeps us pushing to get back home to them but touring really isn’t much of a challenge when you love doing what you do as much as we do. Festivals are also so different but so amazing for seeing old friends and making new ones.
You have lasted the test of time so to speak and been together for over 25 years (that’s a huge achievement in itself). Twelve albums worth of material (not including the live albums) and the 1999’s Colony album recently soaking up its 18th anniversary, now would definitely be the time to enquire which album you have taken the most pride in creating?
A favourite is hard to say but the one that is closest to my heart would be The Jester Race because it’s the first album I did for In Flames which will always be a great memory. Every single album is important though because not one album can sound the same without the others. It has all been a steady progression. The first three and our latest have probably been the strongest written in my opinion.
The categorisation of music has become a quintessential necessity (what with discovering new music through association on youtube, spotify, soundcloud etc) and with so many sub-genres spouting from the cracks, do you feel challenged or replenished by the substantial growth?
It hasn’t challenged us in the slightest because categorisation is something we never think about when writing these albums. We’ve never asked to be in a category because this is our style of metal and that is all we see it as. Although we love our fans and they will inevitably place us in certain sections, but our writing has always been something that comes naturally with no barriers.
It was incredibly relieving to know that the Rock AM Ring festival day suspension due to a possible terrorist threat was quickly lifted. After the atrocities in Manchester, large artists (for obvious reasons) have been adding heightened security for upcoming tours etc. Has there ever been a situation at a show where you felt your own safety may be at risk?
Definitely, we once had a bomb scare at a show in the US and my assistant came running in, shouting my name. It was so confusing at the time that I really had no idea what was going on, even after they literally pulled me and the guys off the stage. We only realised something was really wrong when we saw how many police had arrived. Nothing happened luckily but even though it’s a scary world, you can’t walk around being scared all your life.
I’ve even created a craft beer with my brewery (Frequency Beer Works) that pays tribute to Roy Larner after the London Bridge incident called “F**k you, I’m Millwall”. We as a band are not afraid to tell others that the world may be scary but that shouldn’t stop you enjoying festivals or gigs.
Following Daniel Svensson’s departure from the group in 2015, Peter Iwers also left late last year to chase other endeavours, wishing them the best of luck but it peaked my curiosity as to what you would do now if you were to leave the band or by circumstance, found yourself without one?
I don’t know man, I’ve never given it much thought because this is my whole grown up life. I still love it and at the end of the day, this is my hobby that turned into my job and has remained my passion. I am literally living the dream and surpassed many of my goals in life so many years ago.
Do you still have any life goals yet unachieved? Certainly must have crossed off a fair chunk.
There are still places I would love to play, I would love to go to India and Iceland and tons of places but when you forget about selling records and the numbers, everything on from here is a bonus. I’m still thirsty for more but if In Flames ended today, I would be more than happy with what we have achieved.
Any artists outside of your own genre that you would recommend listening to?
I actually picked up an album by London Grammar recently and Hannah Reid’s voice is beautiful. She should sing with us on an In Flames album.