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Katatonia guitarist Anders Nyström talks new album, touring, fans, influences and stuff. That’s right, I said stuff!October 15th, 2010 at Fri, 15th, 2010 at 3:42 pm by Shawn Skager
Electric Phase recently interviewed Swedish metal band Katatonia founder and guitarist Anders Nyström.
Katatonia recently completed a 26-date North American Tour in support of their newest album “Night Is The New Day” released November of 2009 on Peaceville Records and is currently in the midst of a Scandinavian tour. After that the band will hit the road for the No Sleep Til festival tour in Australia and New Zealand, featuring Megadeth, NOFX, GWAR and 3 Inches of Blood, among others.
Nyström reflected on the new album – an atmospheric, melody-laden slab of Swedish metal that his the next step in the maturation of the former doom-metal band – the tour and the differences between audiences in Europe and the United States, as well as talked about his influences.
Electric Phase: Are you guys going home now after this tour? I know you’re going to Australia later in November.
Anders Nyström: It’s no rest for the wicked here, we’re actually doing a one-week Scandinavian tour coming up. It is non-stop action here.
EP: So what are your impressions of the United States so far? Is this your first big tour over here?
AN: It’s the third tour we’ve been doing. The last tour was three years ago so it’s been awhile. But the impression is the same, it’s a crazy ride. No day is the same. It’s just interesting. Coming to a new city or coming to a new state, it’s like coming to a new country, basically every time. People are different, attitudes are different. The laws are different. It’s just an interesting ride and an adventure every day. But we’ve been having a blast, really. It’s been a real smooth and successful tour, I’ll probably look back on it as being one of my favorites.
EP: So what is the difference between crowds in Europe as opposed to the United States?
AN: I think the crowds in Europe are a little more like the music police. They’re more into complaining about what you do wrong. Here, I’ve never experienced anything like that. People here seem to be really happy that you make the effort to come across the Atlantic and head over here and play for your fans. It’s very rewarding to see that we’re appreciated that much. When we hang out with people at the shows, they’re really into it, and they’re easy to talk to. People here are definitely not as reserved as people in Europe. That may have something to do with, in Europe everybody plays in their own band. It’s different as well, I really didn’t consider it country by country. It’s really city by city. Some of the cities here have a European feel as well and some of the European cities, the shows are really, really wild. So I’d have to say, when we went up to Canada, they were crazy about metal there. Totally crazy.
EP: They’ve got a great tradition of metal, plus they have really good beer so that helps.
AN: I can see that when were down in Arizona and coming from Texas. All those people were crazy about metal as well. So it’s different every where you go.
EP: You released the album “Night is the New Day” a while ago (Nov. 10, 2009 on Peaceville Records) how is that sitting with you now that you’ve kind of let it breath on the road?
AN: To me it feels like the album was released yesterday. It’s still so fresh, I’m still so proud of it. It sounds great. Obviously, we’re promoting the album right now so the most songs are off the new album. We’re still very caught up in the whole thing still. I think I still need another year to reflect on it, because right now I’m still caught up in the moment and enjoying it. I’m very proud of it.
“Forsaker” track one from “Night Is The New Day”
EP: So what’s the reaction to the people at the shows been? Do they like it, has it been all positive?
AN: It’s been, actually all positive, which hasn’t happened before. On past album we’ve always had a double sided thing to it. Some people just didn’t get into them. Which I appreciate them telling me, because I want an honest opinion, rather than asslicking things. So that’s cool, but on the new album, everybody has been working on it. It just proves that all the hardwork – it was three years in the making – it just paid off. I couldn’t be more happy with it.
EP: It’s a more melodic album, you guys have been progressing from the more black/death metal days. Do you have any fans who complain about the more melodic approach, or does everyone seem to be into that?
AN: That was years and years ago when that happened. We had a really rough time when we left the death and black and doom metal thing and went over to this contempary thing we’re doing now. We had a hard time with that transition. But it feels like all those people that were complaining back then, they’ve also moved past it. We’ve been able to finally drag them over to our side. Every night I see black metal people at our concerts that are really into our sound now. That just proves we’re doing something right here, we’re sticking by our identity and not following anything else, it’s like take it or leave it. And people seem to be taking it.
EP: What kind of brought about the more melodic approach, what was the genesis, what spurred that?
AN: I think it was just something, that’s where our target is at. We’re comfortable making dark, atmospheric and melodic music. That’s what Katatonia is about. That’s what we want to do. People always ask me what my influences are and I’m like it’s not really different from when we were black metal and doom metal. It’s not really different. This is what we’re striving for. We’re very open to progression and we’re open minded people. This is where we’re going.
EP: What bands made you want to become a musician?
AN: Well, that would be the whole heavy metal movement in the 80s. That’s directly responsible for me even picking up the guitar. Judas Priest. Accept. Basically those two bands were my favorite back then, they made me want to pick up the guitar. From that it went on, thrash metal got me into the death metal thing. Paradise Lost was actually the band that was responsible for Katatonia being born. So I owe it to those bands, I guess.
EP: So how about non-metal influences. Which kinds of non-metal stuff do you listen to?
AN: There are a lot of singer-songwriter stuff that were into. Jeff Buckley is a favorite of ours. All of the ballads from him. He’s not around any more, but he was tremondous talent. I’ve never heard any one sing like him. He’s been a big influence on me. There are just so many good tunes. Basically, we’re not the type of people that sit and listen to radio all day. But if I hear a good tune, I will definitely not be shy to say it’s a good tune. Everything is influencing you, regardless of what genre you’re listening to. There is a lot of good music out there in every field, whether pop, rock, classical, whatever. We’re just trying to find something good and take some elements of that and incorporate that right back into Katatonia.
EP: What’s the last band or song you heard that just kind of blew your mind, that was awe inspiring for you?
AN: Let’s see, Porcupine Tree is a good band to mention here. They’re awesome, just an awesome band. I love them. Wow there is a lot. On the heavier side, I was super blown away by watching Behemoth live. You know Behemoth from Poland? They were one of the most craziest live acts I’ve ever seen. Such precision, such a fierce show. Aggessive. Brutal. I was blown away after watching them, I have to tell you.
EP: So soon you’ll be going to Australia and New Zealand for the No Sleep ’Til tour (a six-date festival featuring Megadeth, NOFX, Dropkick Murphys, Descendents, GWAR, Atreyu, Alkaline Trio, Suicide Silence and 3 Inches of Blood, among others).
AN: It’s a very varied bill. There is a lot of different music on that bill, so we’ll have to see how that goes. I don’t know if we really share an audience with any of those bands, so we’ll have to see how it goes.
EP: Anybody you’re excited to check out on that tour?
AN: I’m a fan of Megadeth, I have been since I was a teenager. Obviously they’re like a classic act. Other than that I’m not really into any of the other names on the bill. It’s just not my cup of tea. I’m opened minded though, so if I hear something good I’ll check it out. But I think it will be good fun.
EP: Have you guys been to Australia yet?
AN: Never this will be our first time. So we’re really excited to just go there.
Katatonia’s new album “Night Is The New Day” as well as their back catalog are available through Peaceville Records’ Web site.