Metal Wani‘s Katia Filipovic recently conducted an interview with guitarist Björn Gelotte of Swedish melodic metallers IN FLAMES about their new “I, The Mask” studio album. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether social media has allowed fans to get to know bands better:
Björn: “Sure, if you really like a band in this day and age, it’s so much better in a way than it was, say, ten years ago. Because, as you said, you sort of get to know the band you like. If you see them interacting on social media, you can basically reach out and talk to people if you want to, if they’re willing to answer. I do the same thing. If I see a colleague, I might drop a private message or send a picture of us meeting or something like that. It’s fantastic. That wasn’t possible a bunch of years ago. But also, it comes with drawbacks. All of the sudden everybody is a critic as well, even without knowing about a band, they could just start saying bad things. I don’t know…the ability is great. It’s sort of like freedom under your own responsibility. I think it is also that easy for bands. It’s really hard for up-and-coming bands to stand out in the throngs of bands out there because everybody has a super-nice Internet platform like Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. I think it’s way harder for new, up-and-coming bands than it is for us old walruses.”
On working with producer Howard Benson, who is based out of Los Angeles:
Björn: “Basically, what we did was we recorded ‘Siren Charms’, the album before ‘Battles’, in Berlin during the winter. It was in November, December and it was super-cold, wet and gray and that sort of trickled into the album and we didn’t realize until afterward that we had created something very…kind of a sad, dark vibe throughout the album. We didn’t think about it because it didn’t occur to us when we were writing it because it was done back at home. As soon as we had the end result: ‘Wow, this is a very sad piece.’ The environment must have something to do with it. That’s why we went ‘Okay, let’s see. Let’s go somewhere else and see if that affects the album.’ Then we had a bunch of interviews with different producers and Howard just said the right things and luckily, he was based in L.A. For us, it was a perfect mix and that process was so good and so easy and inspiring and eye-opening for us. We never really understood how to work with a producer because we’ve had people trying to produce us in the past, but they always got demoted to engineers, which is nothing bad; that’s not what I’m saying. But it’s not like producing. We were really protective of our music, but he opened that up and made us work together in a way more open way, me and Anders [Fridén, vocals] especially. This is something that we really enjoyed. Talking about recording ‘I, The Mask’, it was, like, ‘Okay, we know exactly what we want to do. We’ve done it once before, so we don’t need to be as prepared as we were for ‘Battles’.’ We can go there and write and then sort of seamlessly go from the demo stage, writing stuff, into the actual recording with the same team, same setup, with the only difference we had Chris Lord-Alge mix it. For us, it was like coming home, in a way, and it was amazing.”
On writing “Battles” and “I, The Mask” together with Fridén, a first for IN FLAMES:
Björn: “That was basically Howard who said that… well, we understood the necessity of it. If we’re going to work with a producer like Howard Benson, who has done all of these productions and bands, anything from MOTÖRHEAD to rock and pop, maybe we should listen to him and [for] the first time listen to a producer. That included us having to work more openly with each other. We found that our setup in the house was perfect. I could work with Anders on the vocal ideas — obviously he writes all the lyrics and basically, I could work with Anders on the vocal lines and he could work with me on the guitar parts and arrangements and everything. It was a give-and-take, which means, all of a sudden, we could have a really cool vocal line, which means I need to change my riff. We changed it and it turned into something better. We could take care of all the bumps and glitches during the demo stage instead of recording everything solid instead of him having to record his vocals on top of it. It’s way more integrated this way. It’s something we hadn’t done before. We did that on ‘Battles’ and even more so on ‘I, The Mask’.”
“I, The Mask” was released March 1 via Nuclear Blast (worldwide, excluding North America) and Eleven Seven Music (North America). The album artwork was created by artist Blake Armstrong and depicts a unique interpretation of the band’s mascot, The Jesterhead.