This long running Swedish act return to Australia for only the second time in their career, and they finally get to tour Down Under with their great mates from Opeth.
If there’s one band in the world suited to touring with the mighty Opeth, it’s Katatonia. They come from the same country, and their respective sounds are very complementary to eachother. You can draw several parallels between their careers: both formed in the early nineties and both have released nine or ten albums. Oh, and they’re great mates as well.
Both bands’ relationships with our country have taken very divergent paths however. While Opeth have been here many many times over the past 10 years or so, Katatonia have been here only once in their 20+ year career, and never on their own headlining tour. Singer Jonas Renske, speaking from his home in Stockholm, Sweden, is a little puzzled as to why this is the case, and why they have never jumped on one of Opeth’s many tours of Australia before now.
“Oh yeah, we’re really good friends with them, and have been for many many years,” he says, “the music is a great match, touring wise, our music isn’t so different from what Opeth’s doing, both bands operate in the same kind of style.
“It’s a shame (that Katatonia hasn’t been to Australia with Opeth before). Every time they go over, we think ‘oh we should have been on that tour’, you know?”
However, that is all about to change, as it was recently announced that Katatonia would finally be doing an Aussie tour opening for Opeth. The tour starts very soon, and Jonas couldn’t be happier, especially since he feels they will be playing to a more appropriate crowd than on their latest trip here.
“Yep, finally it’s happening, so I shouldn’t complain any more!” he jokes.
“We feel great about coming to Australia,” he enthuses, “it’s been a couple of years, and the last thing we did in Australia which was our first tour there, was a little bit different. It was the festival tour with a lot of bands that were not most of Katatonia’s crowd’s favourite bands. It was fun, we had a great time, but this time it’s going to be a little bit different. It’s just more of our own territory, playing proper venues instead of festivals.”
“And hopefully this is a good sign that we can come over more often.”
Something else that the two bands have in common is that they both have difficulty writing a setlist, and trying to please everyone, with such a vast back catalogue of quality albums behind them. But he feels it’s actually a very good problem to have.
“Yeah absolutely,” he states, “and especially when we’re doing a support tour like this, we have a limited playing time which makes it even more difficult. It’s a delicate problem, it’s difficult but it’s fun because it makes you think all the songs that we’ve done, and which songs have got the best reception in a live situation and you just take it from there. You think about what people usually like and then try to give them what they want.”
And as per usual, their current tour’s setlist is going to be slanted reasonably heavily towards the band’s latest album, Dead End Kings, which came about around six months ago. But that’s fine, since it’s such a strong album, receiving extremely positive reactions across the board and across the world, from critics and fans alike and in a live setting.
“Yeah, the new album is still something that we’re promoting,” he tells us, “so there’s going to be maybe three or four songs from it. But at the same time, since we’re in Australia, we’ll try to make a varied setlist and not just go for the new songs, because I think a lot of people have been waiting for us to play in this kind of environment.”
Jonas is extremely happy with the response that the album has received since its release late last August. “It’s been overwhelming really,” he says, “we had high hopes really, but it’s really exceeded our expectations, which we are so happy about. I wouldn’t say it’s a rare thing, but to release a ninth album that people are still interested in, that’s something to be really proud of. I guess that when some bands keep releasing albums it’s just an excuse to go on tour and play the fan favourites. To be able to get that kind of reception, I’m really proud of it.”
Something else Jonas can be very proud of is the band’s career overall. 20 plus years and nine albums is an outstanding achievement, especially in this day and age of economic downturn and massive troubles in the music business. He is actually a little disbelieving that it has been that long, but ultimately feels that although it’s been a long journey so far, they still have a lot more juice left in the tank.
“If you would have asked me when we released our first album, said ‘you’re gonna do nine albums’, I would have said that’s not going to happen, because I’m going to be in my fourties and that’s not rock ‘n’ roll enough,” he laughs, “but as time has moved on I think we have also grown into the whole thing of being musicians and we still feel like we have a lot more music to give. Because with every album we get more experience and you always want to surpass the latest effort and see what you can do with the next one to make it even better. All that kind of stuff is still interesting to us.
“It’s maybe not for all bands,” he continues, “A lot of bands would quit before 20 years. But we’re stubborn I guess!”
The band have toured other parts of the world with Opeth many times, but this will be the first ever chance Aussie audiences have to see these two illustrious Swedish acts go head to head, so snapping up tickets to their shows across the nation is well advised.
Touring With Opeth across Australia via Soundwave Touring:
Tuesday March 12, Adelaide HQ – 18+ www.oztix.com.au / www.venuetix.com.au
Thursday March 14, Melbourne, The Palace – 18+ /
Friday March 15, Sydney, Enmore Theatre – Lic A/A
Saturday March 16, Brisbane, The Tivoli – 18+