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Jesper Strömblad (In Flames)

Interview with Jesper Strömblad from In Flames
by Katrina Cannon at 22 September 2005, 11:26 AM

After playing an incredible set, In Flames' guitarist Jesper Strömblad (one of the most talented guitar players today, in my opinion) spoke with me about their upcoming album, Come Clarity, this year's Ozzfest and the upcoming tour with Motorhead.

Back in June I heard about your upcoming album Come Clarity. When is the expected release date?

I think in Europe it’s February 6th and in the States I’m not sure about it, maybe a couple of weeks after. The reason it’s delayed is because we’re in between signing contracts with labels. We’re actually looking for a label right now to release it in the States so, early next year.

How does this album compare to your previous albums?

It’s no doubt the best one we’ve ever done, of course. It’s kind of a mixture between the new stuff and the old stuff. Like the previous 2 albums were a little bit experimental for us, we changed producers and we changed studios. So we took all the good stuff from the old stuff and the new and we did this album and it’s brilliant. It’s awesome.

Is there a particular story to it?

I haven’t really read the lyrics, so I don’t know. I don’t think there is. Musically it’s more up tempo, more melodic to show that we have so much more to give and we’re really hungry. The best album is yet to come.

When you first announced the new album, the title was Crawl Through Knives. Why did you change it?

That was more or less a working title and at the time. It was one of the first songs that we wrote. We thought it was a cool title and we had a concept for the cover and everything. But then we wrote Come Clarity and we thought that would be a better title. We still have the song Crawl Through Knives though.

Back in February In Flames won the Swedish Grammy Awards. What was that like?

That was great. It was like at last we got it. Because we were nominated for a couple of years but then other bands took it from us. We think we deserved it because we’ve been around for so long and we’ve released so many albums and had kind of an impact on the Swedish scene, so we think we deserved it.

You’re also a big influence on a lot of the American Metal bands today. How do you feel about that fact?

In Flames amongst a lot of other bands from Sweden. It’s kind of funny to hear a lot of today’s new Metal sound. I can hear stuff that we did like 10 years ago and now it’s such a big thing. It’s cool that there are so many bands that are influenced by the little bands from Sweden; it’s flattering. That means that we’re doing something good, I guess. It’s great knowing that we’re an inspiration for other bands and younger bands.

Does it work both ways? Are there any American bands that influence your sound?

It goes around. One of my absolute favorite bands is Killswitch Engage. I guess I wouldn’t say that they are an influence for me, but I can listen to their music and get inspired to write my own songs. I love that band.

What are your thoughts about being on Ozzfest?

It’s great to be here. It’s a really long tour. Everyone is ready to go home but its great exposure for us. It would be nicer to play on the second stage because on this stage we’re opening up and we’re playing in front of empty seats. But still there are a lot of people here to see us. It’s good publicity and it’s good promotion for us. We just can’t wait to come back and play the headlining tour to play a long set, to play the new stuff.

Awesome. I’ve been waiting a few years to see you guys but to see you actually play a headlining show will be cool.

Yeah, we can’t wait for it either. We’re gonna be back soon.

After Ozzfest, you’ll be going on tour with Motorhead. How is it to support such a notorious Metal band?

It’s a great chance for us to come to the U.K. and play a little bit bigger venues because the U.K. is kind of new for us. Usually when we do the European tours, we only stop in London. We only did seven dates with Slipknot 4 years ago, that’s it. So it’s a great chance for us. It’s a pretty long tour, three and a half weeks, we go to Ireland and Scotland so it’s gonna be great.

What are some bands that you listen to these days?

Sevendust, Children of Bodom, the new Mudvayne. I listen to a lot of Swedish folk music and jazz stuff. I get pretty tired of Metal right now, so when I put on a CD it’s usually like singer/songwriter stuff, the lonely girl with the guitar, that’s what I like. (Laughs)

That’s actually funny to think. Hearing your music then thinking that at the end of the day you’re listen to something on the complete other end of the spectrum.

Yeah, it is. (Laughs)

Any last words?

Well, no, just that we’re gonna be back soon and I hope to see everyone there, wherever there is. (Laughs)

\[Then he points to my Macabre sticker on my book, that matches the one on his neck, and gives the horns.] - Yeah, they’re one of my favorite’s too. Dennis (The Menace - drummer) is a friend of mine.

Oh yeah? I love those guys. They are brilliant. You tell Dennis that Jesper says hi.

(Laughs) I will.

Links: # In Flames’ Official Website, # Ozzfest’s Official Website, # Nuclear Blast Records


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