:: Interview with Katatonia
Interview with KatatoniaKatatonia
is a band which take the time to improve his music and create a world of its own. A few weeks after the Dead End Kings
release, Metalship talk with Anders 'Blakkeim' Nyström
, the main compositor and lead guitarist!
Metalship : Hello Anders!
How are you now that Dead End Kings is finally came out?
I’m alright! We’re currently out on tour in North America busy promoting it around the clock with shows and press. Seems like it’s going down really well! It’s even on the charts.
Metalship : This is your first record with Sodo and Niklas. What are the main changes with them?
Well, Sodo is the “gear nerd” in the band being our guitar tech for five years before, so he’s constantly improving our rigs and setup. On top of that he’s also a prominent guitar player and got some cool shredding abilities that we’ve actually taken advantage of for the first time in Katatonia
Niklas is a real bass player and not just a guitar player playing bass, so we’re taking advantage of that too. Both guys have been with us since the touring cycle for ‘Night Is The New Day
’ started, so things are pretty stable.
Metalship : Are you still in touch with Fred and Mattias Norrman?
Yeah sure! I don’t see them very often ‘cuz they live in a different city, but it’s real good to see that Fred is still active and involved in the scene with October Tide
. I think Mattias is also giving October Tide
a hand on bass at the moment.
The last thing I want to hear is that the Norrman brothers gave up on music.
Metalship : Where does the name of Dead End Kings? What does it mean for you?
It hints at the position we’re currently at in our lives and career. We’ve been going for more than 20 years now, which is a long time indeed. And because of that fact many people expect us to be more successful in terms of fame and fortune. What they don’t realize is that just keeping a band alive for 20 years is the achievement of success itself and also having the firm belief to follow your own vision without compromising and conforming to other people’s demands and expectations would make you a king in what people would just define as a dead end.
Metalship : When did you start working on this new album and how were the recording sessions?
Well, it was recorded and mixed at The City Of Glass (which is our own place) and Ghost Ward (the same place we recorded and mixed ‘Night Is The New Day
’) over a period of 4 months. David Castillo was once again behind the mixing desk and Jonas and myself were producing.
It’s hard to draw a line between the writing and recording process of this album as it was all integrated into each other and that’s the way we like to work as of late. It keeps this certain kind of magic to the whole workflow. Of course we always come up with fragments and ideas between albums, but we never sit on an entire album written long before entering the studio.
The arrangements are always done as the last thing just before we dig into the studio time while many of the riffs themselves might have been written a long time ago, so I’d say the songs aren’t complete and finalized until we mix, a lot of things can and will happen in the studio. The gut feeling is mostly always right.
Metalship : I was surprised to see how you worked the arrangements on this album. What can you tell us about Frank Default?
Well, we had a pretty fruitful collaboration with Frank on ‘Night Is The New Day
’, so we just wanted to go deeper this time and involve Frank really early on while still writing. He was around even before most of the songs were finished and hung at our head quarters just as much as we did and we just constantly bounced stuff back and forth, improving the details.
Everything we do needs to pass a certain criteria level, we apply a Katatonia
filter to everything we do, so no exceptions. I think Frank is really a talented guy and it’s been very interesting to work with him
since he’s much more of a hardcore “computer musician” than us. We’ve been a good team.
Metalship : How would you describe Dead End Kings?
I think it sums up the last 4 albums we’ve been doing and taking it to the next level! I find it working both in a live environment just as good as in headphones.
Metalship : You’re known for your hard worked lyrics. Can you briefly introduce the theme of each song?
Jonas is our main lyricist and the stuff we write is pretty personal and we leave the door open for interpretation, so I rarely talk about his stuff and I never analyse it publically.
I find it even difficult to talk about my own lyrics. It feels like they’re already out there, waiting to be discovered or waiting to be forgotten, so no introduction needed.
Metalship : "The One You Are Looking for Is Not Here" is a lyric from "Walking by a Wire" on Viva Emptiness album. Is there any connection between these songs?
No connection more than that line. It’s quite an unusual song title that makes you curious to see what it’s all about.
Metalship : Let’s talk about Silje (The Gathering). Can you tell us the story of this collaboration?
It was while listening to the demo of the song it just dawned on us we needed another tone in the vocals to color the chorus and also the little backing theme in the verse, so we joked about being called a “gothic metal” band for 20 years and not even having had female vocals at any point, so here was a perfect moment to embrace it. The first name that came to our minds was Silje, as she’s already a friend and also have a lovely voice. I love the outcome and I hope we can perform it live with Silje sometime.
Metalship : Personally, I really like "The Racing Heart", "Lethean" and "Leech". What are your favourite songs on this record?
Oh boy! That really changes from day to day. Ask me tomorrow and I got a different answer for you, but I like all the songs, otherwise they wouldn’t have made the album.
Metalship : Let’s talk about the artwork now. What were the instructions for Travis Smith?
Well, it started with (it always does) sending Trav our visions which include main elements, the atmosphere, the colors and then we just develop the setting together while referring to the lyrics and titles and feeling the song invokes. I think me and Trav corresponded with over 500 emails in the making of this album. I enjoyed every second of it, it’s definitely my favourite piece of art of ours.
Metalship : I found that Dead End Kings sounds more organic than Night is the New Day, isn’t it?
Yeah we tried to go as earthly and organic we could allowe us to. We record everything digitally these days so anything you can do analogue is worth holding on to.
Metalship : Did you plan to release some Eps?
I don’t think any physical EP’s will be released other than a limited edition 7” EP that’s currently being part of the VIP package offered on the US and EU tours. There might be some digital EP’s though as we plan to release 3 videos from the album.
Metalship : Let me congratulate you for the song "Sold Heart"! It’s one of the best songs I could listen with "Unfurl"! Can we hope that you’ll play them in gig?
We’ve been talking about putting ‘Unfurl’ into our live set as it seems to be a real fave amongst our listeners, but we haven’t even thought about ‘Sold Heart’. I’d personally love playing both songs. Time shall tell!
Metalship : Last year, you announced working on a DVD. Did you plan to release it this year?
I’m hoping it will make a Christmas release, but it’s entirely up to the label. It’s gonna be a really cool release thought. The main feature is a show that we filmed in London and the first part is the entire ‘Last Fair Deal Gone Down
’ start to end followed by a “best of” set for another hour including one or two unexpected tracks as well, then it’s interviews/documentary on the band and some stuff like that. Should summon up the 20 years pretty well.
Metalship : I saw you at Summer Breeze, it was a very good show. Jonas was more talkative than ever, isn’t it?!
Haha yeah sometimes that happens!
Metalship : Now, Germany knows that Sodo loves to drink (as Jonas said during Summer Breeze’s show)!
Good, then buy him
a beer next time!
Metalship : You will soon tour across Europe with Alcest and Junius. What do you think about these bands and their last albums?
I need to dive more into their work to build myself a solid impression, but the small bits I heard I like and more importantly our fans seem to really enjoy them, so it seems like it’s gonna be a coherent bill with enough diversity to differ each band apart, but still appeal to everyone.
Metalship : What are your best/worst remembrances with Katatonia?
My best memory will always be discovering our debut album in the metal department, under the K section and even with our own bin saying “Katatonia
” in the local record stores of Stockholm. This was my goal and it was achieved.
Worst memory, well it’s hard to pin point it down to just one isolated event. It would be a tie between getting ripped off and seeing band members leave the band, something we try to avoid at any cost.
Metalship : What are you last discoveries in music and what have you mostly listened to recently?
Oh man, I’ve been listening to all kinds of stuff really, the list would be really long. Of course not everything I crank in my phones needs to be a influence for Katatonia
, but while mentioning it, I do in fact get very motivated by listening to other’s music, so it’s still a sort of inspiration to maintain creative.
Metalship : Any news from Bloodbath or Diabolical Masquerade? Bloodbath
is lying low right now as we’re busy promoting the new Katatonia
album, but we’ll bring out the terror, blood, guts ‘n gore for Bloodbath
again in 2013 as we’ve agreed to make a final album and hopefully some last shows. More news on this will follow.
hasn’t been active since I decided to put it on ice 10 years ago, but if it’s dead or dreaming, time shall tell!
Metalship : Congratulations for this record Anders, I leave you the final word!
Thanks! Thanks for the support and cheers till next time!
added by kumelia, on September 19, 2012 for Metalship