In Flames – Björn Gelotte (Guitars)

Hey, look! It’s an informal interview with Björn Gelotte of In Flames, whose primary role and job function in the Swedish metal band is to play a bit of guitar and write some songs. In Flames are currently touring the US in support of their 2011 release Sounds Of A Playground Fading.

Hey, how are you?

Good, a bit tired!

Where were you yesterday?

Santa Cruz.

At the Catalyst?

Yeah!

How was it?

It was good!

What’s that club like? I’ve never been there.

It’s punk.

Is it near the beach?

No, it’s not near the beach.  I kinda like it, the whole town’s quite nice; it’s very relaxed, very hippie.

Something I noticed when Sounds Of A Playground Fading came out, to me it was the most complete album from start to finish.  How did you approach it differently this
time around?

Ah cool!  Several ways actually.  First, it was a different way of writing the actual riffs and melodies.  I basically wrote all of it then brought it in to the other guys so we could all work on it together.  I think this was the longest time we worked on an album without making it.  First I did stuff at home and programming of the drums.  Then brought it to the studio for the other guys to hear and work on arrangements and stuff and everybody was there and we did that for about 2 weeks.  Then we
called in the guy that does the samples and producer and the guy that works with Anders on his vocals.  They were in really early so they had a chance to listen to it and understand where we want to go with it.  That whole process from the first ideas, to first couple of demos, to the real demos, to the actual recording took 3 months.

Was it an enjoyable process?

It was very much so, it was very inspiring because everybody was there.  Everybody could put their two cents in and absorb what was going on.  Usually I would work with Jesper and we would pretty much have everything done, this is how we’re going to do it.  I knew it was going to work like that, I’m not that kind of guy, and we’re not that  kind of band.

What do you think each person brings in differently to the table?

Different views of arrangements, especially song wise, the way they play, you can never recreate that.  I have my sounds, they have their sounds, and together we create the IN FLAMES environment.  It sounds kinda like IN FLAMES on my computer at home but sounds very much like IN FLAMES starting at the first demo.  Especially this time around they got to hear it very early on and bounce ideas around.

Did bringing in the programmer earlier on in the process shape the songs differently this time around?

In a way, some of the songs, Yes.  Some of the songs, No.  I think it helped as I don’t want it to be very fundamental metal.  At the same time it’s easy to get stuck with the, “it’s supposed to be like this” and someone comes in with a very different view of the world and music and it opens up a whole new highway of ideas. The lyrical content this time around as well as there are some great lyrics. There was a lot of time for that to be worked out too.  That’s another thing that everybody got in on this really early and Anders had a change to work on this with the right lyrics in the right songs.

Is this a process you would try to duplicate again in the studio?

The thing is that it was all natural.  So, I always like that when it just happens.

Everybody says that picking your favorite album or song is like picking a favorite child, but how do you feel this albums stacks up to others in your catalog?

I wound never stack it against others.  There’s so much that has happened.  Like if you want to compare it to THE JESTER RACE, which is a very popular album to compare it to as to where we are today.  We’ve toured half a year, every year since then.  So we’ve learned a lot about our music, our abilities, what we can do, what we can’t do and what we find interesting and challenging.  So there’s no way we can compare it and we can’t rewrite history.  Those albums that are before this led us up to this.  But also everything I’ve done during that time as well.  So it’s hard to stack it against anything.  But I’m super happy with it, I’m very happy with everybody’s work, very happy with my work, and happy with how it got embraced.  Hopefully we can do it again and keep it organic and natural.

What’s the immediate plans now?  Finish the tour, rest, the record?

Finish off this part of the tour.  Then a little bit of time off, then do Eastern Europe, perhaps South America, but I’m not sure yet.  Then do a shitload of festivals then take a little bit of time off then start working on some new stuff, then record and try to make sure the album comes out by the end of the year.

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