Interview: In Flames prepare for Download Festival

In Flames vocalist Anders Fridén let’s us know what’s in store come Download 2017.

In Flames are currently gearing up for their fifth appearance at Download Festival, the spiritual home of alternative rock. Joining headliners System Of A Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith, they’ll be in-part celebrating the release of last year’s twelfth studio album, the thunderous Battles. We caught up with founder and vocalist Anders Fridén to find out what he loves about festivals, and what they have in store come June.

It’s your fifth appearance at Download Festival this year. How do you see In Flames over that time? 

We change a little from album to album, and from year to year, but we still have the same mentality towards records and our live performance. We want to give them everything, all we have.

Playing live is fantastic. I love creating music in the studio, but when you’re meeting people and you see their happy faces, that’s a nice ego boost. It’s why you do this. You make people happy and have a good time yourself.

Download is a great festival. It’s great to play it. It’s got a great history in heavy metal. We take a lot of inspiration from UK heavy metal bands, especially Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath… stuff like that. It’s always cool to play in the UK. It’s always special.

Even when you are there for the fifth or sixth or seventh time, you don’t really think about what you did in the past. You try to do something different. I treat every show as a unique event. If you did a great job last time, you can’t rely on it this time. No “well we were good last time”. It has to be as good as you possible can be.

Does your new material change the way you approach festival shows?

We know how the songs work in a live environment. That’s something we didn’t think about in the early days. We were amazed that you could record a million-trillion guitars on top of each other, and then it’s impossible to reproduce that live. That’s something we now think about when we play.

So far we’ve only played a few songs from our new album, but they go down really well live. Playing live at festivals we try and go for the hits, if you can call any of our music hits.

You get the chance to play in front of a lot of people. A lot of people who might have never heard of you before. We try to give them something that absorbs them and then they can go and listen to other songs in our back-catalogue, and find their own way. We tend to play the more accessible stuff, I guess.

A lot of your material relies on that light show to build the atmosphere.

If you’re headlining a festival and you can have your own show then sure, you build the show around that. Sound and light should be synchronised, and you should create something special.

If you’re playing during the bright sunlight, maybe you don’t play those moody songs because they don’t transfer as well live. We’ll definitely think about that.


What excites you about the festival performance? 

It’s a bit easier at a festival. It’s not all down to you. It’s not solely your responsibility. It is when you’re playing, but at the same time it’s not like everybody has paid to see you. It’s a little more of a relaxed atmosphere. You still have to treat it well. You can’t just go up there and say” F**k it”. It’s also about hanging out and meeting other bands that you might not see everyday.

For me, I love doing festivals. It’s great to reach out to audiences that might not have heard you before. It’s a good opportunity to encourage people to come to your own tour, when you can be a little more selective with your material. I’ve always loved playing them.

Does that add any pressure knowing that people might not have seen you before?

From those people I feel no pressure at all. It’s the ones that follow you around that are about to see you for the tenth time that summer, from those I feel pressure. Really I don’t feel any pressure anymore. I see every show as a new one, do my best and try to have a good time. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Maybe if I felt the pressure I’d be 8% better, but I have no idea. I usually do the bets shows when I’m relaxed.

In Flames - Only For The Weak (Official Music Video)

What can people expect from your show at Download?

Extremely choreographed… [Laughs]. No, we run around like there is no focus. We try to capture everything from the old times to the more present day, and to invite people into the band. We try to make a nice atmosphere. We don’t overthink it. We never know when it’ll be our last.

In Flames will be playing on the Main Stage at Download 2017 on Sunday 11 June. Grab tickets now through