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In Words: Passenger

- Anders Fridén - Apr. 2003 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Anders Fridén - live 2001 with InFlames
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Passenger - Anders Fridén
- April 12th 2003 - Dortmund, Germany -

For most fans the release of Passenger's debut album was a surprise, especially the fans of In Flames will be surprised by the music of Passenger. Musically the quartet combines heavy sounds, grooves, some pop and clean vocals to a heavy groovy danceable sound. The idea came up first in the mid-90's with Niclas Engelin (Guardian; guitar) and Transport League drummer Patrik J. Sten. In 1997 Niclas was hired by In Flames as a touring guitarist for Whoracle. During the tour Anders and Niclas learned that they love the same bands. "We just tortured the other guys with bands like Chum, Handsome or The Tea Party - among others." Niclas was quoted in the biography. And so Anders became part of Passenger, but why they named themselves Passenger? "Coz it rules!" was all Anders said. A name which doesn't indicate a musical direction. The last who joined the formerly named band Cliff was bassist Håkon Skoger. "From the beginning it was real fun. After awhile we realized that the songs were too good. We recorded them in my studio" Anders told me. An advantage for them that they could record in Anders' Phlat Planet Studio which is next to the famous Studio Fredman where they did the first demo in Summer 2000. A year later - after a 2nd demo - they started recording their debut. "We kept it a secret. We kept every outsider away." A fact which gave them the freedom to work without people commenting and trying to change them. Also it meant that they could work without any pressure from then outside. The album was finished and mixed at Studio Fredman where Patrik works as a sound engineer. "In Reverse is the album opener and the first single, even if it's not representing the whole album. In My Head is the oldest song and might give a better idea about Passenger." After this promotion trip Anders will go back to Sweden and they will record a video clip for the single. "We already talked about it with the producer, but no details. We will keep i in the color concept of the cover - gold, brown & yellow." The quartet didn't wanted a 'typical' cover and so they chose some more abstract one. Unfortunately not everywhere TV music channels are available, even if Passenger fits better into the music TV then In Flames, and so the four-some decided to release the video clip also on their website. It'll be the first chance to see Anders with his 2nd main band, to quote: "We are a band, definitely no side-project!" The band members are busy with their main bands, sometimes too busy, but they will tour. "For the festivals we are a little late, perhaps next summer. But in fall we will play some shows in Europe." The rest of the world has to wait a little longer. Anders played a lot festivals with In Flames, mainly metal ones, but with Passenger he would love to play Roskilde (Denmark), a festival he always liked and which offers a large variety of bands. The band doesn't plan to record some live shows - not for a live video or DVD yet - and not to put up on their website to give the fans who aren't in Europe an idea. "But you never know, perhaps some bootlegs will come up, some bootlegs are quite good, so..." But a video clip is a good start and the band can be happy to have a business partner who gives them the opportunity. "Videos cost a hell lot of money" Anders confirmed and is quite satisfied with the cooperation with Century Media. "We signed with them, coz they have the same vision."
Beside the activities with Passenger Anders will work on the next In Flames album. "With In Flames we write, when it's time for the studio. Passenger write at any time. For me the difference are mainly that the Passenger lyrics are more straight." For Anders and his mates Passenger is fun, especially Anders has reached a lot with In Flames and traveled the world. "I'm fortunated to live this life." And the chances for Passenger are pretty good. "Music is universal." Anders explained and he doesn't see a specific market for Passenger. The album will be released world-wide within about one month, then it's up to the music fans and the sales will indicate, if they will play also outside Europe. Perhaps fans have to wait for the release of a 2nd album which they will definitely do, but it depends on the schedules of the four. "Passenger has the same management as In Flames, so it's easier to work things out." But it'll take quite sometime until It Flames will hit the road again, beside that the Passengers are hot to hit the stages of Europe. But before it's time to play live, there are more interviews to do for Anders. "It's part of the business and so I have to answer every questions seriously, coz even if I answer it the 1,000 time, it's the first time for the one who asks. So it's just polite and professional to do so." It's good that the people are interested in Passenger and that's a result of the interest, the countless interviews. "I'm aware that some fans might be disappointed, but that's always happening. From the business point of view I understand that they use my name and In Flames to catch the interest, but personally I'm not happy about it, coz Passenger should stand on it's own." And Anders adds "I hope that there are enough open-minded fans and that they really give it a chance." The danceable heavy grooving songs have the potential and will probably make it on air here and there, definitely it'll be heard on the dancefloors. Everything else... Time will tell.

Claudia Ehrhardt


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