In Flames Vocalist Brings His Own Beer to the Party

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What goes better with rock 'n' roll than beer? Maybe some prefer coffee -- or, er, other stimulants. But for many, including In Flames vocalist Anders Friden, a tall glass or bottle of the alcoholic beverage produced with malted grains and hops is the beverage of choice when plugging in and rocking out, watching other bands from the crowd, or sitting on the bus listening to someone else’s tunes.

“I’ve always loved a good beer,” Friden tells Yahoo Music. “It’s refreshing, it’s enjoyable, and it’s a great drink to have when socializing.”

Over the past few years, Friden has taken his affinity for beer almost as far as his love for rock 'n' roll. With the help of some friends, he started his own company, FrEQuency, which brews beers for bars across his homeland of Sweden.

“It’s super cool and super fun,” Friden says. “I come up with recipes and talk to brewers around Sweden. We do batches together and then I bottle it and ship it, or send it in casks to different bars.”

FrEQuency brewed its most recent batch, 3,000 liters of hoppy brown ale, just last month. In addition, the company has created and sold IPAs, double IPAs, brown ales, wheat beers, a licorice stout, and oak barrel stouts.

Friden’s interest in brewing developed over the years in the same way as his love for music compelled him to join a band. Since he enjoyed beer so much, he decided to investigate how the magical elixir is created, and his fascination drove him to become a part of the process.

“Making a craft beer is like putting a song together,” he says. “There’s a lot of love and emotions that go into it, and putting different nuances together so they work in different harmonies. It’s a really rewarding process.”

Maybe brewing beers will one day be financially rewarding for Friden as well. He’s currently looking for clients to work with outside of Sweden and hopes to eventually have brews available in American bars and specialty stores. But right now, the money he makes on a brew is about enough to finance the next batch.

“I’m not in it for the money,” he insists. “I’m in it for the love of the drink and being creative. If I were to approach this with the attitude of making money, I’d be in the wrong business. It’s kind of like what I do in music. If you’re in metal music and you hope to make a lot of money, you’re on the wrong path. But with the beer, I’m not interested in being a Budweiser, which has nothing in them and are terrible to even call themselves a beer. I want to do drinks with quality and real ingredients and no shortcuts whatsoever – the same as our music.

In Flames released their eleventh album Siren Charms on September 5. While the disc marks the 20th anniversary of the group’s debut Lunar Strain, In Flames isn’t interested in looking back. The same can’t be said for many of the band’s fans, who cling to the pioneering melodic death metal In Flames and their peers, At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity created in the mid ‘90s.

By 2000, however, In Flames started exploring other musical paths, slowing down their tempos, incorporating less Iron Maiden-style guitar harmonies, abandoning growling vocals and exploring more melodic and electronic-tinged songwriting. Some old-school fans have never forgiven them for “selling out” and long for a return to the glory sound of the ‘90s, like At The Gated exhibited on their first new album in 19 years, At War With Reality.

What fans fail to realize, Friden says, is that In Flames have retained the same musical aesthetic and integrity they’ve always had.

“Our attitude and mentality hasn’t changed at all,” Friden insists. “We want to create good melodies. Today we have a wider spectrum that we can use. We can do it on vocals. We can do it on keyboards. We can do it on guitar. In the early days it was just melodies on guitar. We’ve grown so much since then.”

The band’s fear of stagnation is largely responsible for their evolution from one album to the next. “When I feel I’ve perfected something for myself I want to move on and do something new,” Friden says. “I need to explore or music and push things further, but not totally forget where we came from. If you break down this album you can find stuff that definitely could have been written back in the ‘90s. No matter what people say, old, new, good, or bad -- nobody says In Flames sounds like something else. It’s still In Flames; and that, to me, is a huge compliment.”