The Communion of Sirens Tour made its way into the Hollywood Palladium. featuring the co-headlining talents of Opeth and In Flames. It was a true Swedish invasion hitting Tinseltown, featuring two influential bands who continue to journey upon a thrilling auditory odyssey after all of these years. And even in spite of heavy traffic and the commencement of the show (in other words, we were late), bassist Peter Iwers of In Flames graciously agreed to do an interview almost right before he was due to hit the stage. Making it fast and informative, topics discussed with Iwers included In Flames’ latest magnum opus entitled Siren Charms, working with opera singer Emilia Feldt on the track When The World Explodes, past and returning members In Flames, and other combustible topics of intrigue. Read on!
How has the tour with Opeth and Red Fang been going?
Really good, it’s going well. We’ve known both bands for quite some years now, especially Opeth being Swedish. It’s going great. It’s one of those tours where everyone gets along, which I enjoy. Sometimes this doesn’t happen, but this is awesome. We’ve only been out for a week, and yesterday in San Francisco for instance was amazing. It was really good to be back there. All the shows have been really good.
Maybe LA will be a highlight.
Hopefully, usually it is.
How does your new album Siren Charms compare to previous In Flames efforts?
I think that’s really up to the listener to judge because for us, it’s the same procedure. We go into the studio with a bunch of riffs and we come out with a full record. I guess it depends on who you ask, actually. Some people like me, I go in and whatever comes out has happened naturally. I think Anders went into this one a little differently being that he didn’t have any lyrics as we went into the studio because he wanted to be influenced by the whole Berlin experience and write it right there. As far as the record and how it came out, it’s a natural progression. It’s a boring answer, but it’s how it is every time. We go into the studio trying to make a record that makes us feel good and makes us proud of our music and that we haven’t done before. Trying to do something new each time, trying to top ourselves.
Album number eleven! Did you think you’d get there?
I never thought about it. In retrospect, I guess not. There are some good role models these days. You’ve got Iron Maiden and Rolling Stones, those bands that can continue forever.
Is there any story behind the title Siren Charms?
I think from what I understood from what Anders explained, is a Siren is an old Greek mythology. Mermaids, actually luring sailors with their beauty into the death and drowning them, right? So if you put this into a normal life, kinda it can be a temptation. A temptation is very alluring and charming, everybody has their own temptation. Some people are shopaholics, some are alcoholics. Some are something that can ruin you if you can control it, I think that was the fun bit of the title. It’ll be yourself who decides what your siren is, what charms you or what tempts you.
You had an opera singer Emilia Feldt on one of the tracks. What was it like working with an opera singer and have you performed live with the opera singer yet?
We have performed live. None of us were in the studio when she recorded. This was an idea that Anders’ vocal producer had. We wanted something different and Anders didn’t feel like the lyrics that he sang. So Daniel Bergstrom, who produced Anders, had the idea of bringing her in. We had all the tracks sent to us as they were being mixed. I remember Bjorn and I were sitting in my car listening to is for the first time, then she came in and it was like: woah! What’s this? It was very cool. I don’t know how it was working with her in the studio, but it came out really well and we did three shows with her. She’s an amazing person, really talented obviously and she’s a real professional.
Has Depeche Mode ever commented on your cover of “Everything Counts”?
Nope. They haven’t. We’ve asked that too, a lot of people have obviously covered them but no. I think as far as I know, they haven’t. It’s quite old now.
What do you think keeps Niclas returning to In Flames after all this time?
When he first left it was only because Bjorn stopped playing drums and went to guitar. Then we were friends throughout all these years, he made Passenger together with Anders. He had Engel and all these bands. When Jesper started to leave, we had asked Niclas, as he was the logical choice to come back and step in for Jesper but he was doing his thing. Then as Jesper eventually quit, we just asked Niclas, would you like to join properly and he did. He came in as a fresh wind in the ocean of diarrhea. He’s very energetic and a happy guy. It was necessary to have him in. It definitely helps cheer the band up. He’s the oldest guy but he appears to be the youngest and most energetic guy. It’s great to have him.
What did you think of Jesper’s band, The Resistance? Do you still keep in touch with him?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s really good, it’s a different type of music than In Flames but it was something that he wanted to do, I think it’s really good.
What do you think has kept In Flames such a vital, creative band after all this time?
I don’t know. I think the fact that we don’t think about which direction we’re going to go or if we don’t follow any trends. We just do what we want to do. We get yelled about it a lot, too, but that’s what keeps us going. It’s what keeps us motivated to do another record, another tour because we don’t repeat ourselves. We keep it interesting for ourselves. Since it’s interesting for us, hopefully it’ll be interesting for the people who are listening too.
What’s up next for In Flames after this tour is over?
We’re actually going to have a month and a half off. Then we’re going to come back over here, hopefully, do another run here and keep on touring for the entire next year.
Do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
Yeah, thanks so much everybody for sticking by us throughout all these years. It’s always very special to come back here. Our shows here have always been amazing and I thank everyone for that and their support. If you saw the show tonight, I hope you had a good time. Otherwise, I’ll see you next time.
In Flames is:
Anders Fridén – Vocals
Björn Gelotte – Guitar
Daniel Svensson – Drums
Peter Iwers – Bass Guitar
Niclas Engelin– Guitar
(Review and Cell Phone Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)
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