In a recent interview with United Rock Nations, guitarist Björn Gelotte of Swedish/American metallers IN FLAMES was asked how he and his bandmates find "the right balance" between making the kind of album they want and creating something that will please fans of their older material. Björn responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "You know [what] the interesting [thing] is? I don't think about that. But I can't. Because if I started thinking about what everybody else wanted with my music, or our music, I wouldn't have time to do what I wanna do. So it's never been about anybody else. Which might be egoistic, but it's very pure and it's very true and it's what we like. And if you have that mindset, you don't need to balance shit. The only thing you need to make sure is that we love it. And that's hard enough at times — agreeing. Just imagine having… It's five of us that need to be happy. But imagine trying to please a hundred people or a thousand people or a million people. It's impossible. So I don't care."
He continued: "It's not unfair, because it's us. But at the same time, it's possibly not the answer people wanna hear. But that's the reason why it's still fun — because we didn't make an album for somebody else; we made it for us. That's why no matter what people say, whatever they say, it doesn't matter. The proof is that people show up at the shows. It's the only proof we need that we're doing right by choosing our way of doing it. We might be extremely stubborn, and we also might go on a limb and some people might hate it, but — sorry. There's other records. And if you don't like our band, there's tons of other bands. And they're all fucking awesome."
Last November, Gelotte addressed the criticism he and his bandmates have faced for their musical evolution, which has seen them adopting a more alternative metal sound after starting out as melodic death metal act, during an appearance on THE HAUNTED guitarist Ola Englund's YouTube show "Coffee With Ola", He said: "You have to remember, and I think most people know — just they don't think about it when they say stuff like that — but this is all a matter of taste. I think every album that we've done, we've put in the hours, we have invested in the album, we've done the absolute best that we can and to our liking. That's all it is. And that's just how it works, because we need to be happy with what we're playing. We're not a cover band. And we're not a radio band. We make the music for us, because we know if we like it, we can actually be on stage and enjoy it. This is the most fun I ever had, is being on stage, so I need to like it. And we all need to like it. So having that mindset — do music that we like — we're kind of… I wouldn't say 'bulletproof', but we don't really care what people say. But one thing that is important is that people actually, in one way or the other, care. 'Cause if nobody had any opinion whatsoever or couldn't give a shit about it, then it would probably be more frustrating."
Björn went on to say that he is particularly bothered by the way people treat each other online, lashing out at others when they don't share their opinions.
"When it comes to attacks on other people… That's why I don't get it," he said. "I get it if people are not happy with a record, but if somebody posts that 'I really do like this record' or 'I like that one song' and then somebody else, just for the sake of picking a fight, attacks that guy…
"I'm fine with it. We write it, we record it and master it," he explained. "They press it, or whatever they do, and it's not ours anymore. We've done exactly what we wanted to do. After that, it's just a matter of taste. So that's fine. But people get picked on. And it's a really rough environment; 'toxic' is a good word. So I don't read any of it. I don't go to any forums. I don't read any of music outlets or anything, because I am so tired of the comments. And it's a bad thing, because a lot of times that's the only way to find out about certain tours and stuff. But I simply don't go there, because of that toxic environment."
Earlier in the month, IN FLAMES singer Anders Fridén told Czech Republic's Metalshop TV that he and his bandmates have been at the receiving end of criticism for their entire career.
"I've been in this band since late '95," he said. "My first album was 'Jester Race'. When we released 'Whoracle', there were people saying, 'It doesn't sound like 'The Jester Race'.' And then when did 'Colony', and people said, 'It doesn't sound like 'Whoracle'.' And then we did 'Clayman' and people said, 'It doesn't sound like…' So it's been like that all the time. And I'm happy that we can release albums that are challenging to people, that they don't know where to put it, but in time it will be a classic IN FLAMES album. And I think this new one is gonna surprise people, but in 10 years' time they're gonna say it's their favorite. So it changes.
"Every album is important to us. All the albums led up to where we are today. So if you take away one of them, we won't sound the same today. But yeah, people have opinions. But it's fine. That's music. It's a matter of taste. And we can't all have the same taste; that would be extremely boring. And it's cool. I like it."
IN FLAMES' fourteenth studio album, "Foregone", will arrive on February 10 via Nuclear Blast.