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Interview with Katatonia

Posted April 19, 2017 by George Archibald in Interviews

The Darkest Hearts in the Land

An Interview with Katatonia

Interviewed By: George Archibald

GA: The Fall of Hearts came out early last year. How has it been received among the fans, and what are some of your favorite songs to play from that album?
Jonas Renkse : It’s been very well received. Plus, I think a lot of people have been awaiting a new album since it was quite some time since the previous albums release. So, we are very happy with the reception of the album. We are still trying out songs from the new album (live). For this tour, we rehearsed a few songs that we never played out before. One of them is the song Passer, the last song on the album, is very nice to play live. We are still trying to learn how these songs react in a live environment.

GA: I have also seen that the band has been going back in its musical catalog. Playing live sets of older albums and doing rearranged versions of songs. What was the thought process behind doing these things?
I think ultimately, we would like to be able to play live all the songs we have ever done, but that is a little too complicated. The last few years we have played every song from the last few albums live. Some of those songs have been rearranged to suit what we are doing now. It is nice to go back in time and put something on the set list that represents what we did back then. There are people that want to hear it, but we are not doing it all the time, just certain locations.

GA: I was excited when the band revisited the Last Fair Deal Gone Down album.
It was fun, but it takes a lot of time to do something like that.

GA: (Jonas) In the early days of the band you played drums and did vocals, and in Bloodbath you play bass. Are there any other instruments you play? Would you ever consider using your other talents on a future Katatonia release?
Well no, I am really happy with the people that are in my band today. I think they are much better than I am. I do play guitar, as I write songs, but I don’t have that intention to become a guitarist. I see it as a tool to reach the song and that’s it.

GA: (To the musicians of the band) What gear are you currently using for your live rigs, any endorsements please mention?
Roger Öjersson:
I am using my Schecter Ultra 3s.
Anders Nyström: We are still using Pulse GT systems for our amps and effects. We have been using them on and off, for like forever since they came out. We are about to jump on board with the Line 6 Helix. It was a couple years ago that we stopped using amplifiers, just because of logistics basically. Its less of a hassle.

GA: You are using more a plug in based set up?
It’s more like a direct inline, but you really need to make sure you dial in stuff correctly otherwise it will sound like shit.

GA: I read about the band changing its sound over the last three decades, from death to doom and a bit in between. I like how the band has progressed over the years. I think has been a great fit in the evolution of the band. Do you want to touch upon where the focus of the band is musically, and what has caused the band to change in the past with its style and writing?
I think the change has been very gradual, and natural over the years. We have been a band for 26 years, so its obvious that the music you start doing when you are fifteen years old, is not going to be the same when you are in your forties. We still love the stuff we were interested in, but the music always has to move forward, otherwise we would grow tired of it. Just doing the same thing over and over again. We are not that kind of band, there are bands that do it really well and should not change their sound. Katatonia is about progressing and trying new things. The music as you said, has been a couple of different phases, but it has always been a representation of ourselves.

GA: It has been four years since you last visited Pittsburgh, are there any cities in the United States that you like to hit while on tour?
Every time we go to the states it is always a very good place to play most of the time. Sometimes you play some small place, because you are passing through and need to stop to get gas or whatever; and we do a show and it goes great. Some of our favorite cities… New York has always been nice, Los Angeles, Chicago, even Pittsburgh where we have played here 3 or 4 times previously.

GA: The band is now in its 26th year of existence, what would you say are the contributing factors to your success and longevity?
I think we have been stubborn enough to do this for such a long time. That’s why we are still here. It would have been easy to quit doing it, because of some set back, but we really don’t have an alternative. We really don’t know how to do anything else. It has been our life for such a long time, that’s why we do it. We still have the drive to make new music, progress and all that stuff.

GA: (Anders) You go by the psydo-name Blackkheim for your more darker projects. I am a huge fan of Bloodbath, but I am going to dive even further back and ask about Diabolical Masquerade. What was your thought process behind Diabolical Masquerade, and could we possibly ever see another release?AN: Diabolical Masquerade was formed as a project to do stuff that wasn’t suitable, and couldn’t be done with Katatonia. Mostly, because I have a huge love for black metal. So, I have to utilize the band, to feed my demons and get that shit out. It has been a long… long time since I have done anything as DM. It has been sixteen years since Death’s Design, so it’s been a long time since then. There are two sides to the coin of the whole thing. Obviously, there is a hunger for it, because it was a big part of what I was doing. So, I would say it is not impossible that I would pick up again. To keep doing it as a project, but I highly doubt it would develop into anything beyond that. Time issues make it almost impossible.

GA: What has to be the bands favorite album to play live?
That is hard to say, there are certain songs on every album, that we feel make the difference between us and the audience. We always play a lot of songs off The Great Cold Distance, because it seems to be a fan favorite album. A lot of the songs off that album we enjoy playing.

GA: The band has been tied to Mikael Akerfeldt, having been a previous vocalist, and a band mate in other projects with members of the band. You have also toured with Opeth in the past supporting them on their Heritage Album tour, could we possibly see another Katatonia/Opeth tour in the future?
Tour definitely. I would love to do that. I think they wouldn’t mind either. We are always having a blast together. Right now, I think our albums come out in a little bit different time schedule. So, we haven’t been able to get into the talks of putting something together. When we released our latest album, they have been already touring. If the next album releases click I would love to go out with them.

GA: Anything else you would like to add or plug?
We are very happy to be here in America. A little jet lagged but we are getting there, it is just the 3rd day of tour. We are looking forward to doing this tour very much.

About the Author

George Archibald
George Archibald


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