Peter Iwers, 2005

 

Written& Photos by: Jason Perlman

 

What has it been like for the band to come across seas and play on Ozzfest in front of so many music fans that have probably heard In Flames but have yet to see the band live.
It's great. It's a wonderful opportunity to perform in front of people that are basically new to us. Obviously, being on stage it is much nicer to be in front of a crowd who are your fans, but to do this in front of people who have never seen us before will hopefully give us a winder audience and bigger fan base. So from that aspect, it's wonderful. We love playing, but it is a bit harsh playing for people who are sitting down, but we try to get them out of their seats. We are the first main stage band, so we try to get them to stand up and get used to standing for the rest of the night. It's a lot of fun and we have no complaints.

 

Normally, you get to headline and play for 90 minutes or longer. Here, you get 20 minutes. How hard was it to come up with a set list and get used to playing only 20 minutes.
It's really, really hard. Even when we are here is the states, we usually do direct support or co-headlining, or headlining so it's difficult. We have seven albums now and this new one is our eighth, so just do the math. We get 5 songs and we have 10 songs at least on each record, so it's really, really hard. I know a lot of people want us to play this song or that song, but we just had to choose five songs that were extremely representative of the band. So if people like it, they can go buy the records and have a whole treasure of songs to discover. But it's really hard. It's hard choosing for a headlining set. I can only believe how hard it is for the guys next door (Iron Maiden) to choose.

 

You have some fellow countrymen on tour here at Ozzfest. How nice has it been to have a taste of home here in America?
It's great! Soilwork, Arch Enemy and The Haunted are good friends and we get to do some off shows with them. It's great, you know? We get to have a lot of fun, play some poker and drink some beer. Unfortunately, not Swedish beer. We had to stop by Ikea to try and get some Swedish beer.

 

After seeing bands like Soilwork, The Haunted and you guys, there is a feeling that your style of playing is much more in your face and raw than some of the American bands who seem more polished on stage. Do you see a difference between European metal and American metal acts?
I can see that a lot of the American bands are heavily influences by the Scandinavian scene as well as the British scene with all the melodies and harmonies and stuff like that. They came up with a mixture of the melodic and the hardcore thing. I personally prefer the Scandinavian style a bit more. Even though I am a fan of a band like Killswitch Engage, I think they are great. But a lot of the others I am not too keen on. They are very well talented musicians and all that, but if I had to chose a style if there is such a thing, then I would choose the Scandinavian style. Not just because I am from it, but because I think it is better.

 

But even the stage show is different. As a photographer, there is a total difference in the actions of a Scandinavian or British band over an American band.
Well, I personally think when someone comes to an In Flames show, it is not about us standing still and playing perfectly. We need the energy from the people, and the people need the energy we give them, I hope, and I get energy from running around on stage and getting crazy. I think it is way more important to put on a show, not just a music show. I mean, if you just want to hear the music, you can stay home and listen to the record. But when you pay for a show, you should get some fun, and it doesn't matter if as a musician you make a mistake here and there as long as you are having fun and getting the whole vibe going. That's very important to us.

 

Obviously, you have participated in a lot of festivals over in Europe, most of those one or two days. Here, Ozzfest is like a festival every two or three days. What's it like going through it every day.
Did you ever see Groundhog's Day? There you go! No, no, I am just kidding. I think it's great. I like festivals for many reasons. One of them is you get to play to a diverse audience who probably have not been to one of our shows. Because they are here for the experience or another band or whatever. It's great to get that exposure. But another reason I like them is because a lot of my friends are here, as well as the festivals back in Europe, and a bunch of these bands on Ozzfest were over in Europe playing with us earlier this year, and it's so much fun to see everyone again and hang out and have a good time. I love it.

You are filling your time with off-dates. Do you prefer that or would you like some rest.
I prefer to play every night; it doesn't matter if it's in front of 10,000 at Ozzfest or a club filled with people. I just hate off days because you basically just sit around and do nothing. Even like today, you sit around, do nothing, then play and maybe party afterwards. On an off day you don't do anything. You may be able to go do some site seeing and stuff like that, but that rarely happens. So if it were up to me, I would play every night. Maybe an off day every two or three weeks. But I wouldn't say I would choose a festival like this over a headliner gig or the other way around because they both have advantages. Obviously, it's nicer playing a full headlining set over 20 minutes, because we can play basically everything we want to play, that's really nice. But I really like playing in front of new people and trying to gain new fans.