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We’re not very good at writ­ing between albums, on tours and stuff like that,” vocal­ist Anders Fridén explains. “That’s why every album is dif­fer­ent, in a way. We get new influ­ences, we grow as peo­ple, and I feel music should be evolv­ing. It’s not some­thing that should be stuck in a cor­ner, at least to me. I believe it should be embrac­ing the future. We had to set a date, we had to get a stu­dio booked, and then we started writ­ing.” When it came time to write Siren Charms, the band headed to Hansa Stu­dios in Berlin, an exceed­ingly famous stu­dio where David Bowie recorded Low, Heroes and Lodger. Fridén found the new sur­round­ings to be a breath of fresh air, espe­cially after the band had recorded in its own stu­dio for so long. And the Bowie con­nec­tion was appeal­ing too. “He dis­ap­peared from drugs to be by him­self, although I guess he did a lot of drugs there with Iggy Pop,” Fridén laughs. “But for us as well, we also needed to get away from our safe envi­ron­ments at home. I need to be by myself and totally men­tally go into a place where I can cre­ate, and I can’t do that at home with all the things you have around you, so Berlin was a great place to do this album.” The band showed up for the ses­sions with ideas, sketches, parts of songs and “a big bag of riffs,” spend­ing the twist two weeks putting the basic skele­tons of the songs together before begin­ning the record­ing process proper. For Fridén’s part, he had noth­ing ready to go at all going into the ses­sions. “I had four weeks to cre­ate from noth­ing. I had noth­ing! I had blank paper. No ideas, no noth­ing, and the songs just spoke to me in a cer­tain way. I did it, it worked out …and then I passed out after­wards. That’s the way it should be. You should give all you have.”


Fridén’s vocal tech­nique ranges from clear, dis­tinc­tive clean-toned singing to the most bru­tal of screams — but don’t ask him how he does it. “I have no idea what I’m doing, to be hon­est. I’m super home-schooled. I never aspired to have the best vocals and I would never be part of Aus­tralian Idol. I would prob­a­bly get writ­ten off pretty fast. But for me, it’s my voice, it’s my instru­ment, it’s what I use — and I want to be able to reach out through the speaker and grab the lis­tener. And often me and the vocal pro­ducer will go with the right feel­ing, rather than, say ‘the per­fect G,’ y’know? That’s bor­ing to me! Obvi­ously you shouldn’t sing totally off or that would be weird, or play totally off-beat, but all those small imper­fec­tions here and there can cre­ate some­thing that’s more inter­est­ing. When I get the song idea, 80 per­fect of it has been done and then I have to use my var­i­ous brushes to make it more ‘me.’ I have a lot of dif­fer­ent voices and the pro­ducer has a lot of dif­fer­ent names for them. ‘Bring this guy for­ward. Oh I haven’t heard that guy before — bring him out!’”


The album has been com­plete and wait­ing for release since the begin­ning of the year, and Fridén says he’s glad to have had some time off between the intense record­ing process and the pro­mo­tion side of things. “Now that we have some dis­tance, I’m really happy that we made the choice of releas­ing in Sep­tem­ber,” he says. “There were talks about us releas­ing this album in May which I think would have led to the band implod­ing in a cou­ple of years. It would have been too tight if we did that because I was exhausted after the whole thing, and going straight into pro­mo­tion and more tours would have been really dif­fi­cult. But now I can lis­ten to it and feel happy. I’ve done every­thing I can. I took this album to a place where I wanted to be. And it’s the relief, for me. Now it’s for every­one to judge; it’s not a secret, I don’t have worry and it’s out of my hands. I can’t con­trol it and it can go any­where, so now I don’t care any more! It’s up to you, it’s up to other peo­ple every­where. I can’t con­trol it and that’s great. That’s the way it should be. It shouldn’t be forced into peo­ples’ heads.” And now fans are free to inter­pret it in all sorts of unique ways that you didn’t intend. “Exactly, that’s the way it should be. I like to use a lot of metaphors, and it means some­thing to me but if you hear some­thing else I would never tell you it’s wrong. Because then I feel your feel­ing, I feel what it meant for you, and that could destroy the feel­ing for the music that you have. It’s not one per­son that owns music. It is for free­dom and it should go places.”


Siren Charms is out now. In Flames tour Aus­tralia with Triv­ium. For more infor­ma­tion visit