HEAVY Q&A: KATATONIA

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We had a quick Q&A with Niklas Sandin, the bass player from Sweden’s Katatonia. You can keep up to date with all the happenings with the band on Facebook and at http://katatonia.com/.

The Band
How did the band first come to exist?
The band has been around since the early ’90s and it was Anders and Jonas who co-founded it. Since I wasn’t around then and still was about 10 years from having my first beer, I can’t answer the question better than that. I bet it was their interest and liking for the sound that Katatonia reflected at the time.

Is there an interesting story behind the name?
The name Katatonia comes from the Catatonic state, which more or less is when a person shuts of all kind of contact with the outer world and crawls deep inside its own shell. If there’s an interesting story behind it, I’m not aware of it, but the name is quite fitting to the band since it’s not exactly uplifting tunes we play. It can get quite dark!

The Fall Of Hearts is your new studio album – can you tell us a bit about it?
This new album, which now is one week from being released as I answer this interview, is an interesting and new way for the band to paint the sonic landscape which has been so familiar to the audience. It incorporates more corners from the previous discography than any earlier release, making it a broad and rich album. In my opinion, Anders and Jonas have once again stepped up their game!

What’s the one must have item on the rider?
Actimel is actually one really good item, since the diet on tour can differ much from the one you consume at home. That keeps your tummy in check, and for me who is a sucker for those post show drinks it´s good to have something that balance it all out. It might not sound too much rock ‘n’ roll, but it sure helps (haha)

Any pre-show rituals?
We’re trying to always keep the last hour or so for just the band to focus in on the gig. We’re also having some songs that often appear before the show. Closing out the world and get yourself in a bubble works for me to do my best when I finally hit the stage.

What do you think is the hardest aspect of being in a touring band?
Sleep, odd daily routines and the sometimes lack of good food is all hard aspects of touring as a musician. But none of those comes close to the distance and time you put between yourself and the loved ones back at home.

What’s on the cards in the next few months for the band? Any plans to come to Australia?
There´s of course plans on going back to Australia, but I haven´t heard anything set just yet. We’ve been there now two times. First time was on the ”No sleep till…” festival tour together with bands like Megadeth and NOFX. That was a really good one and I remember that we actually had some time seeing stuff, since we always flew in to the next place the previous day. Perth has fantastic orange juice and pancakes, a statement former drummer Daniel Liljekvist can relate to as well! Second time we went down under was supporting Opeth. In terms of sleep that was less smooth. I think first gig was the most sleep depraved I’ve ever done, as we played the same day after 35 hours of traveling without any sleep.

The Music
Any band, album, or song that you personally credit as a major influence?
One big influence for the band in an early stage is of course Paradise Lost. A band that later on would be good friends with us and that we’ve shared stage with on numerous times and tours. They were actually supporting us on an American tour we co-headlined with Devin Townsend, and later on we returned to the stage together supporting them on an UK/Euro-tour. Great guys with a big chunk of good old British humour!

Most prized music related item you own?
Right now it must be the latest bass I picked up. It´s an used 2006 American Fender Jazz bass four string that previously has been owned and played by the bass player of Wolfbrigade, a Swedish punk band. It´s just one of those instruments that sits in your hand and plays so well, it actually has an inspiring influence on you as a musician.

Last album you picked up?
The last vinyl I picked up, or actually got sent home to me since we live in such an modern age, is The Skeletal Domain by Cannibal Corpse. An outstanding album with the signature grove that never leaves the music of C.C!

What album is currently on high rotation?
I’ve been finding myself putting on Rising force with Yngwie Malmsteen many times now and believe it or not, I think that’s the one that has gotten the most rotation lately. But I think the one to claim that position now is Nightfall by Candlemass.

What do you think of online music sharing?
It’s both good and bad. It’s definitely a two sided sword. It’s great that the internet has opened up the way we can explore new music. This comes of course at a cost that people use it to get free music, which leads to less money back to the artist. And this goes on and on resulting in less budget to make great albums and musicians have to find a cheaper and more cost effective way to get the same end result as before. It’s also harder to hit the road and with more bands out there competing to play live, you’re not sure if you can even fit!

The Man
Who are your non-musical influences?
Hard question and I have to answer all the warm and beautiful people i surround myself with. They inspire me and influence me in a huge way. Without them everything would be different. So that has an huge impact.

What are some of your pet peeves?
One I have is definitely trying to rush yourself in commuter traffic when people walk while staring deep down into their phones. That stresses me out, and even though it shouldn’t have that big an effect, I can´t stop being bothered and annoyed. The zombie apocalypse has already happened, but they don’t kill anyone, they’re just in your way (haha)

When you’re not with the band, what are you usually found doing?
I play in my other band LIK, which is a death metal outfit which is newly started and has just one album to it’s name. And other than that i just like to hang out with my girlfriend while eating and drinking well. I´m not to complicated i guess and all in all, it’s all about the music.

AFL or NRL?
Neither, I’m a metal head… as a 12 year old guy answered in a Swedish magazine.

The Final Say
Keep on keepin´on! And come out to see us at the shows later this year when we play in support for the new album, and foremost to all of you!

The Fall of Hearts is out on 20 May 2016 via Peaceville Records/Rocket Distribution.

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