EspyRock recently conducted an interview with bassist Peter Iwers of Swedish metallers IN FLAMES. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
EspyRock: How do you find touring these days? Are you seeing anything different these days when on the road?
Peter: I think the problem is, basically, that since people stopped buying records, bands are now touring more and more so there are more tours going on at the same time now and it is hard for people to decide how they will spend their money. We need to work to live, and it’s a shame that we all have to clash but because of how we tour now, you know that it is likely you will see that band back in seven/eight months. I went holiday to the U.S. with my wife a year ago and we went to New York, I was so looking forward to going to Tower Records and HMV, but they weren’t around anymore, they had shut them all down. How is that ever going to help people buy CDs and continue to support music legally if they have no stores? I’m a big fan of the physical product and here in the U.K. it is ok, you still have stores like HMV and some independent stores which keep everything going. It is important that we teach the younger generation that the physical product is a great thing to have and that these stores exist. You get a lot more for your money with the artwork, booklets, lyrics and bonus discs. When I grew up, it was LPs that I bought and for me, it was a magical experience to go home and study the cover from front to back, see all of the details as you sang along to the songs. These days people don’t do that, and it sucks because it means that in the future, ticket prices for gigs are going to be really high and people will then go to less shows. Bands will be touring even more than what we are now and it will just collapse. We’re all just shooting ourselves in the foot because eventually music will stop, there will no money to be made from it therefore there will be no reason for any of us to do it. People can say they do it because they love it, but how can you love and dedicate your time to something that doesn’t pay your bills and doesn’t allow you to eat. So yeah, that is my extra-long, extended answer to that question you asked. [laughs] Keep buying records or music will die.
EspyRock: How do you take the criticism of people stating you’re not the band you once were and you’ve lost your edge from the older material that you had released?
Peter: It’s always going to be the same. People will always find something to criticize you for and while we may lose fans because they don’t like where we are now, we’ve probably gained an equal amount of fans or more just based on the new album alone. Older fans come and go depending on their mood but you shouldn’t pay too much attention to it because eventually you will change the way that you write music and that will be very damaging. We’ve never cared about what people think when it comes to the writing process; we just do it for ourselves and so far so good. Obviously, if someone tells me that my bass playing sucks or the records sucks, then I’m going to ask them why. I’m not going to abuse them or rip them to shreds like people do to bands online, I want constructive criticism that I can take on board and use in the future. If you really think it is that bad, then tell us why, we’ll not forget and we’ll make sure that we take it on board for the future. Maybe. [laughs] At the end of the day, I need to look at myself in the mirror and be able to say that I did this from the best of my ability.
EspyRock: How has [guitarist] Niclas [Engelin] settled into his new full time role within the band?
Peter: He is amazing. He came in with lots of energy and a really positive attitude which we needed after the divorce with Jesper. The stuff he [former IN FLAMES guitarist Jesper Strömblad] went through was horrifying for all of us and to see one of my closest friends have to deal with the nasty disease of alcoholism, it just beat us all down. So when Niclas came in with such a positive attitude, it really lifted us and it really put us back on track again. He fits like a glove and he is an amazing guitar player, I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who loves to play guitar as much as he does. He is very productive, so he is always trying to kick out new ideas. He was writing with [his other band] ENGEL at the time for their new album, so he was taking all of the energy he had for that and putting it into IN FLAMES, which was great. That energy he has took us to the next level and without him being part of the band, I’m not sure how well we would have come back from the slump we were in.
EspyRock: Was the album written and recorded before he came in and was declared the new full-time guitarist?
Peter: He was there during the thinking period because he has joined a little earlier when Jesper couldn’t continue the tours. We asked him if he wanted to join, and he told us that he would have to think about it because it was a big decision to become a full-time musician. While he was thinking about it, we decided that we would go ahead and do the album because we weren’t sure how long it would take him.
EspyRock: It was a big change with Jesper leaving but at the same time you chose to leave Nuclear Blast for Century Media. What happened there?
Peter: A lot of things that I can’t talk about. At the end of the day, we needed to be somewhere that really worked for us and while Nuclear Blast had been that place for many years, it was time for us to move on to something new. Century Media showed us the best plan and they had the best ideas to get the record out there, plus they seemed motivated. There is no bad blood with Nuclear Blast, we weren’t with them for so long for no reason, they did do well for us and we’re still friends with the people there, but things that I can’t really talk about made it time to move on and work with someone new.
Read the entire interview from EspyRock.