-It’s been a while since you guys hit Aussie shores. What’s new with the Katatonia camp, and how will this all relate when you’re midset?
The biggest changes since the last visit would probably be that we have a new album out and that we’re coming over with a new line-up. We’re all looking very much forward to coming back and for me as a first timer in that part of the world I’m obviously very stoked.
-Your new record (The Fall Of Hearts) was released in the earlier parts of the year, what has the reception been like? Are you guys just coming ‘down under’ to remind fans about the music they already enjoy… Or rather is it an expidition to gain new fans and tell the Katatonia story onstage?
I would say both. For each album released we gain loads of new fans and for each show we do it’s the same. I don’t know what people in general are expecting from a Katatonia album or from a Katatonia show but our hope is that both will strengthen our relationship with our existing fans and also extend that family. The reception for the new album has been fantastic which is cool since the album differs a bit musically from the previous albums.
-What’s been happening after the release of the album. Generally speaking bands tour their asses off, but if there’s any new music already in the making I know a few thousand (read: million) fans who’d like to know…
After the release of ‘The Fall of Hearts’ we’ve basically been supporting the album out on the road. New music is “always” in the making but not in a practical sense. That’s for when we’re home with some peace and quiet around us. Nothing ever gets written on the road.
-How does touring effect the band. Does the southern hemisphere do weird things to you as musicians? Are the crowds different and at the risk of being unpopular… Do you prefer an Aussie crowd over the fans in the states?
It’s actually my first time to Australia so I’m having extremely high hopes for everything I might encounter. But yes, the crowds differ a lot between different parts of the world and in Europe it even differs a lot between even adjoining countries. Touring in itself does weird things to you and of course drastic time differences doesn’t do anyone any good but you get used to a lot of stuff. For good and for worse.
-What do you guys do between sets and shows? Do you hide in hotel rooms with the curtains shut, filling yourselves witha dark vibe so when Katatonia hit the stage the atmosphere is already there… or do you go out and hit some local pubs, sink a few beers and forget about the full-on schedule Katatonia has?
We combine the two by hiding backstage sinking a few bottles of wine. The dark vibe follows us wherever we go so we might just as well hide comfortably. It’s not that we don’t want to go out, we just never go out. There’s more often better music backstage than in the pub so there’s also that.
-What’s your poison? A good brew you can’t go without? Or do the notes of a good scotch pull on the heart-strings of a musician far from home?
Adhering to all the clichés of melancholic bands we all mostly drink red wine on the road. At home I do the exactly the same although I really enjoy both white wine and Belgian beer.
-Katatonia has been an entity for 25 years now. How far does a band look back, is there anything you’d change, do better or look back at and say: “We should definitely do that again”? How does all this translate to the longevity of a band comfortable in the studio, on stage and even as friends as all the years progress into a beautiful music career?
Everything we’d want to change we change for the next album. There’s no real point in looking back and regretting stuff, if you learn from your mistakes or mishaps it’s enough to enjoy the rest of your life and career. There are past ideas we’d like to pursue further in the future and some that we wan’t to evolve further but all that is in the future. For now we’re not looking back more than what’s necessary.
-How important are fans of the band this far down the Katatonia path? What difference would it make to your music if the band didn’t have the following and loyalty is enjoys?
I would say very important. I mean, we mostly do this for ourselves obviously but we wouldn’t have had the possibilities to do it without the fans. We thrive on the reception we get from the audience when we’re on stage and that keeps us motivated to continue. And we have very loyal fans which constantly blows my mind. There are still people around who’ve stuck to the band since the first album and that’s quite impressive considering that we sound nothing like that album today.
-You guys have heard of the notorious Australian Summer heat. While it’s mostly exxagerated, there are days that it’s simply not. What do you guys plan to do as the Celsius increases mid-December while you’re here? Any plans to combat the heat? Coming out at night might suit your music, but the heat generally sticks around all night.
That’s what I’m least looking forward to as I really enjoy not being warm. I also enjoy not wearing shorts or just a t-shirt. But it is what it is. I’m hoping my very cool demeanor will actually envelope my body from the outside and I’ll just go around freezing.
-You’ve also got 5 dates planned for 5 different cities, tackling each of the countries’ corners. How well does a band like Katatonia handle the constant travelling, as well as the setting up/packing down for each event?
We’re used to travelling so it’s quite OK even though it’s obviously not the best part of playing in a band. The same goes for the packing and unpacking. In some periods there’s so much travelling that we always have both gear and clothes already pre-packed for the coming trips. The fun part is arriving. And we do enjoy each others company which makes it all much much easier.
-What comes after the Australian tour? More dates in other countries, or is it time to relax for a month or two. Enjoy the Christmas/holiday period.
After the Australian tour we have some stuff lined up or in the works of lining up. Nothing confirmed yet so I can’t really spill the beans but we do have time enough to enjoy the holiday period in peace.
-What albums are you enjoying from this year? Something you’re still waiting to be released? What is the greater music community missing out on?
As I’ve basically only listened to classical music this year most of the new releases I’ve heard are just re-recordings of old stuff. The latest album by Ari Hoenig is also fantastic if you like modern jazz.
Also Swedish grindcore giants Gadget released their long-awaited third album which is pretty much the best extreme metal album I’ve heard in a long while. But Blessed By The Sick by Morbid Angel is probably still the best album of 2016. And will probably be in 2017 as well just as it was in 2015.
-Thanks for taking the time to respond to these.
Thank you for the interview and thanks to all our Australian fans for being patient.
Here’s the Dates/Cities for Katatonia’s live shows: