Swedish progressive metal band Katatonia are returning to Australia for their first ever headlining tour of the country in December. With a new album ‘The Fall Of Hearts’ which continues their progressive evolution even further, the band are looking set to show Australia the full live experience as it’s meant to be. We caught up with the entire band via skype while they were on tour in Europe to discuss the Australian tour, the new songs and the introduction of two new members of the band.
Andrew: How’s things? You guys must be on tour?
Anders: Yeah we are in Gothenburg, Sweden. Been a month on the road so we have about 2 weeks left of this European tour and it’s going very well.
Andrew: How has the crowd been responding to the new songs so far?
Anders: Very very well!
Andrew: Better than expected? How did you anticipate the response from people on the new songs?
Anders: You never really know what to expect from playing the new songs. Two of the news songs have been embraced really well because they were publicly the first things that people heard from the new album, we put out snippets and pushed those songs early on even before the album was out so I think they had a lot of time to digest those songs and come around to them eventually. Some of the other songs are totally a little bit more challenging and intricate on the album, people might have a little bit of a learning curve with. So I would say in general people are really excited about the new songs but maybe they need a little time to make them classics in our live set so to speak.
Andrew: Yeah absolutely you guys continue on with the progressive side of things, you went into more progressive rock this time around which I guess was something you were going for? What was the motivation or the idea behind these new songs when you wrote and recorded them?
Anders: I think it’s been quite a natural progression for us, the progressive sound is something that we’ve slowly been trying out for the last few albums and on this new one it took a bigger space in the songs that we were making. It’s not like a deliberate thing, it’s more of a natural progression I think.
Andrew: We are looking forward to seeing these songs live in Australia in December, I guess this will be the first time you are headlining as you had only come over as supports only before on previous tours?
Anders: Yeah exactly, it’s the first headlining thing we’re doing in Australia and for us it’s an achievement to be able to come back and also do our own shows playing longer sets to our own audience which is something we look forward to very much.
Andrew: Yeah we are definitely looking forward to it! I guess these will be bigger setlists this time around, how much of the new material can we expect as far as the setlist is concerned?
Anders: The setlist is always a delicate thing and it becomes more and more difficult with the more albums you put out to of course please everyone including ourselves. Right now I would say on this tour we are playing 5 songs from the new album and the rest is like a best of mixture of most of our previous albums, so I would say it’s going to be something like that probably.
Andrew: Is it a collaborative effort between the whole band as far as picking out sets or is it like 1 or 2 of you guys that do a lot of that stuff?
Anders: No it’s something that we work on together. Also having seen earlier what people that come to our shows what kind of songs they expect to hear and what they plan to hear but of course also for everyone in the band to have their say about maybe someone having a certain favorite song they want to play so we try to please everyone. It’s hard but we work it out somehow.
Andrew: Yeah I would imagine it would be hard because a number of bands I have spoken to that have been around as long as you have all say one of the hardest things on tour is actually picking out a setlist. Some bands like to change the setlist from night to night, is that the kind of thing you do or do you have a set thing for every show?
Anders: We have done that too actually. There was a couple of tours where we each member picked their own setlist every night so that’s a cool thing I guess, it just makes it very tricky and challenging sometimes! But it’s definitely a cool vibe because it doesn’t make anything go stale and it’s especially quite a treat for the fans who show up at more dates I guess. But the way we see it is every city is a new city so we don’t really keep that much in mind, I think everybody deserves to get the best they can, the best value for their ticket so if we find a setlist that we think is ideal and it’s really working out like in most major cities, we try to stick with that one.
Andrew: We are also keen to see the 2 new guys who are in the band now, Daniel (Moilanen, drums) and Roger (Ojersson, guitar) so nice to see them in the band. How has it all been working out?
Anders: It’s working out great with the new guys. Daniel had been playing live with us before but this is the first album that he’s playing on and for Roger this is the first tour we are doing with him. I think both guys are doing a great job.
Andrew: For Daniel and Roger, how do you guys feel about being in this band at the moment? It must be a really cool thing to be a part of!
Roger: Yeah everything has just been smooth sailing I guess. It feels like we’ve known each other for years but we just actually met.
Daniel: I have to say the same thing. I mean we all get along really well and we have the same mentality, most of us have the same musical upbringing and musical background so as Roger said it’s very smooth sailing.
Andrew: How did that whole process of joining the band start off and where did you guys come from?
Daniel: I basically played extreme metal most of my drumming career and I was playing in a band and we did some dates with Katatonia and we kind of hooked up and realized that we should be doing more stuff together and we ended up doing more stuff together [laughs].
Andrew: Cool, great to hear! One of the things I wanted to ask you about was recently you guys played the entire “The Great Cold Distance” album as it was 10 years since that album came out.
Anders: Yeah we did it as a celebration of the album together with the symphonic orchestra in Bulgaria which was a very different but very nice experience for us. We felt this was a cool way to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of “The Great Cold Distance” which is also one of our more popular albums in the discography.
Andrew: And on top of that 10 years you are also celebrating 25 years as a band which is amazing really especially in this day and age and how the music industry is, it’s quite a feat to be around for this amount of time.
Anders: Well yeah it is an amazing fact but again it’s not something we ever ponder about, you don’t get used to how many years that is basically! But it’s incredible, it actually makes you realize that you’ve been around longer than some of the bands you were listening to when you were little. So it’s an incredible fact that’s definitely worth celebrating.
Andrew: Any particular highlight or anything that has stood out for you over those 25 years?
Anders: It’s a blurry world, it’s hard to pick out. There’s highlights in everything you do of course whether it’s touring or recording or just going with the flow of doing nothing [laughs]. I will always think back on just getting the record deal n the first place as the only goal we ever set out for ourselves, everything else has been this natural bonus taking place really.
Andrew: Well it’s great to see you guys still around, we are looking forward to seeing you in Australia in December. Does anyone in the room at all have any last words for the Aussie fans before you come down to this part of the world?
Anders: Oh we’re definitely excited to come back and finally do a proper headline run down there, it’s definitely about time. We’re very excited to do that, we can’t wait to come to your country!
KATATONIA AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:
Wednesday 7th December – Brisbane â€“ The Triffid
Thursday 8th December – Sydney â€“ Manning Bar
Friday 9th December – Adelaide â€“ The Gov
Saturday 10th December –Melbourne â€“ Corner Hotel
Sunday 11th December – Perth â€“ Capitol
Tickets and tour details can be found at Metropolis Touring.