Autor: Richard Constantinidi
Etichete: Anders Nyström, Club Colectiv, Jonas Renkse, Katatonia, Mellancholia, Niklas Sandin, Roger Öjersson, Siebenburgen, The Raven, Tiamat
Katatonia is a Swedish metal band formed in Stockholm, Sweden. The band started out in 1991 as a studio-only project for Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström and Increasing popularity lead them to develop the live performances and add more band members. The band slowly moved away from their metal roots, adding more progressive rock sounds to their work over time.
RiCo for CZB: So, I understand that the band stated out in 1987?
Anders: Well, no, not really.
RiCo: It was Mellancholia.
Anders Nyström (Katatonia): It was the pre-stages of a youth band ...and fucking around, sort of speak.
RiCo: How did you and Jonas get together? Did you go to the same school?
Anders Nyström (Katatonia): We went to neighboring schools, so we would go out in our spare time, doing what kids do …up to no good: making pranks and stuff. We quickly realized we had a similar passion for music. Most guys in the 80's grew up with Heavy Metal - Pop-Rock music, in general; pretty much everybody at school listened to this. Then we felt that our passion for Heavy Metal music was stronger than anyone else's, so we hung out a lot, listening to those classic records.
CZB: Did you play the guitar?
Anders Nyström (Katatonia): No, exacty! This was before we could play anything… so we more or less just daydreamed about forming a band someday, taking baby steps up until that point.
CZB: Niklas, tell me how you got into the band?
Niklas "Nille" Sandin (bass, Katatonia): I got into the band because there was a void to fill when the Norman brothers left, towards the end of 2009. They decided to step aside and leave the band because of family duties and other priorities. I was hooked up with Katatonia and Jonas asked me if I wanted to join the band for one tour - and I filled in as a session member and I guess I just stuck with the boys.
CZB: What band did you play with before?
Niklas Sandin (Katatonia): It's been some small underground bands, nothing established or famous. I think the most established one was Siebenburgen (i.e. Transylvania, 2004-6)… but none has heard of this band.
CZB: Roger, how did you get into the band?
Roger Öjersson (guitar, Katatonia): I'm the new guy.
Anders (Katatonia): There will always be a new guy.
Roger Öjersson (Katatonia): I joined when the latest album was already pretty much recorded. I was asked to build some guitar solos for some of the tracks on the album - so I did that - and all of a sudden I'm a member of Katatonia. I've done a few gigs up until now.
CZB: What bands have you played with before?
Roger (Katatonia): I played with Tiamat (2012-16) for a bunch of years and before that Kamchatka (2001-11) and a whole bunch of bands that are completely unknown outside of the Swedish borders or at least the Northern countries.
CZB: You have a new album out: The Fall of Hearts; what does the 2016 schedule look like? How many months at a time are you on the road?
Anders (Katatonia): The real tour will kick off at the end of Summer and once that starts we're not off the road until it's 2017, so it's pretty much 6 months on the road and 6 months at home at this time. We spent the first months of this year recording the album. The past few months, we've been doing selective one-off shows. Now we're doing all the Summer festivals and then the real touring for the album starts and that will take up pretty much of the next two years I believe.
CZB: It's the first Headlining Tour you'll be doing of Australia; how do you feel about that?
Anders (Katatonia): We're very excited about that, doing a proper long show. That is the most common problem: not being able to play all the songs that the people want to hear; you're very limited as a support band, mostly just up to 30 minutes - in and out… but this time we have a good one and a half hours - so now we can showcase our whole discography to the fans that have been waiting for this all these years …it's going to be great.
Niklas (Katatonia): We were a special guest when we were there last time. We opened for Opeth. We had a good one hour to play but the people were still asking for more - and that was the clear indication that this needs to happen - that we have to come back for a headlining tour.
CZB: When was your first US Tour and what was the greatest culture shock you had then?
Anders (Katatonia): Our first US Tour was in 2006. We were in America before that just doing one off shows - like a festival and a headline club gig here and there. The first Headlining Tour was in 2006 for The Great Cold Distance. That was an amazing tour. Since it was our first tour ever, a lot of people waiting to see us came out. It had a very good turn out, even for a band's first tour. I think it works like that; a band which has never visited a country - builds up some kind of expectation and then you really bring out the fans who've been staying at home all those years because they want to be able to say that they've seen the band once, I think. SO it was a great tour.
I don't know about the cultural shock, I mean - we were mostly in a bus, so it's hard to say. The only people you meet are your fans - and then you just talk about music or beers, pretty much. I don't think there was any cultural shock. I think it's very easy and convenient to tour America because it's just the English language covering the full continent and you only need one currency - the dollars… I mean, touring Europe you have to go to the exchange office at every border because there's always a new currency you need to use. Also, with the internet it was very easy - you hook up with one provider and you have internet for the whole tour. I actually enjoy touring America very much.
Niklas (Katatonia): I think the greatest culture shock came for my family and friends… because I came back very fat after the first US Tour.
Roger (Katatonia): THAT was the cultural shock.
Anders (Katatonia): As a vegetarian, I lost weight.
CZB: Do you play Romania once a year?
Anders (Katatonia): Not so often. I think we made it here a total of three times.
Niklas (Katatonia): Last time, we were here was two years ago, at the Rockstadt Extreme Fest in Râșnov. That was my debut gig in Romania as well.
Anders (Katatonia): And we also played once in Bucharest. We try to come here every time we release a new album, at least once.
CZB: Do you know about the tragedy we had in Club Colectiv?
Anders (Katatonia): Ya …the fire.
CZB: How did that impress you? What reaction did you have when you found out about what happened in Bucharest?
Anders (Katatonia): It was a tragedy. Totally. It's sad that - it could happen anywhere… The only positive thing about it is that now people are taking this business seriously and there are more regulations; you can't just bypass laws like that - you think you're cool by doing that and in your head you're thinking: "oh, that will never happen to us" - because it can happen anywhere at any time.
We also make sure now that all conditions are met; we have been to venues where in the backstage there is absolutely no exit: the exit is actually the stage, so if something happens, we would be trapped.
CZB: With no windows.
Anders (Katatonia): No, nothing. So this is something you think a lot more about now. It is sad that it had to go that far for people to open their eyes and see how important that is with not taking precautions and making sure that accidents like that can't happen - and that people actually can EXIT. It is very important having a proper emergency and escape system in case something goes wrong.
CZB: Your logo has a bird in the middle of the "O". What does that mean to you?
Anders (Katatonia): The bird has been an entity that has been following us since the beginning of the band. We've always had this bird as a metaphor in our lyrics - and we are intrigued by the bird as an entity as well… I'm not talking about the pigeon… I'm talking about the Crow - or the Raven in particular. It's a fascinating item. It's been well-documented in mythology as well - and it represents two very important topics in our lyrics: DEATH and FREEDOM, the two ideas which also complement each other. It's also something that we just don't think about anymore, because it's there all the time. It's our symbol these days. It's even that people often refer to Katatonia just by seeing the bird. That ultimately was our goal actually.
CZB: You've been working with this band for 23 years. Why do you consider it important to work with a record company in today's world, where many bands are DIY?
Anders (Katatonia): I'm actually not so sure that I'd actually be working with a record company if I could choose at this point. We're still under contract with a company that we signed with a long time ago and that's still going. If I could choose now, I'd probably not sign with any record company right now, because there are a lot of things that have changed since we signed that contract that you can benefit from by doing it yourself these days, so I would definitely re-evaluate the whole wheel of how the industry works today and just try to take the assets that benefit us and angle it that way. Maybe I'd sign a deal that is more promotionally based - to work with someone that promotes me but doesn't own me.
This is up for discussion when our contract expires ...and we still have one album to go (under contract).
CZB: My last question is linked to Facebook and the Internet: in what way do you consider that the visual world we live in has taken away from the magic of the music?
Anders (Katatonia): This is a long discussion I think… there are so many pros and cons. I just know my personal opinion on this. I am quite a nostalgic person so I do sometimes ponder on the past and remember how things used to be - but things then were technically inferior - you also have to remember that, because technology always evolves; so a lot of things are so much better today but I think that a lot of magic has been lost due to technology. So I think that if you can find a balance between the two, which we are constantly trying to do - I think then you find a healthy, good way of seeing things. I'm not on the conservative side, for the people saying that EVERYTHING was better before: that's total bullshit… and also - just not looking back into the past and saying that everything TODAY is better than before is also complete bullshit.
You do have to know what happened in the past to appreciate today.
Interview conceived by: RiCo for CZB.ro
@ The 2016 Artmania Festival in Sibiu
July 29th, 2016
- Dance of December Souls (1993)
- Brave Murder Day (1996)
- Discouraged Ones (1998)
- Tonight's Decision (1999)
- Last Fair Deal Gone Down (2001)
- Viva Emptiness (2003)
- The Great Cold Distance (2006)
- Night Is the New Day (2009)
- Dead End Kings (2012)
- The Fall of Hearts (released on May 20, 2016)
Photograph by RiCo: (L to R) Roger, Niklas, Anders
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