KATATONIA: 'We wanted to look like bums!' Hot
Alina Jensch 12. März 2010
Am Donnerstag, den 4. März 2010, machten wir uns auf zum Kölner Luxor um Katatonia auf ihrer „New Night Over Europe Tour” zu bewundern. Mit neuem Album im Gepäck und zwei Veränderungen im Line-Up gab es einigen Nachforschungs-Bedarf, und so trafen sich Schlagzeuger Daniel Liljekvist und Niklas Sandin – während dieser Tour am Bass – mit uns zum Interview.
Das InterviewAlina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Do you think that Katatonia itself has changed or will change now that Fredrik and Mattias Norrman have left the band?
Daniel Liljekvist: I don't think it's going to change that much if you think about it music-wise. But it was kind of rough when they left... and then again getting new members. It was kind of exciting, like a new thing is starting. We've been doing the same thing for ten years... both good and bad. Mostly good. Change ... has it changed?
Niklas Sandin: I don't know. I'm new!
Daniel Liljekvist: The two new members both have long hair.
Niklas Sandin: Yeah, that's very metal.
Daniel Liljekvist: Very metal. I'm the only one in the band that hasn't had long hair. More headbanging on stage now! For sure. That has changed.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): So you'd say it's like a beginning of a new era?
Daniel Liljekvist: Ehr, yeah, it is. This is the new Katatonia. As for the line-up anyway, with the new album and the new live shows.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Can you tell us a bit about the rehearsals for this tour? Especially with the new members? How long have you rehearsed?
Daniel Liljekvist: We haven't ever rehearsed as much as we did for this tour. I think we practised for five weekends in a row, straight from Friday to Sunday. Like doing nothing but rehearse. We've never done that before with Katatonia. We just rehearsed for two days before a big tour or something.
Now with all the new things going on, with the live shows, bigger production and backtracks and to get the whole package live too – it's been quite fun and very, very nerve-wrecking at the same time.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): And have the old members helped to figure out parts or was it up to you to listen to the records and figure out what to play?
Niklas Sandin: Yeah, yeah, I sat at home with my bass and listened to the tracks. And from that I learned the bass parts on my own and then went to the rehearsal sessions and checked with the other members of the band to see if it was correctly played. But in some parts of the music I do my own thing rather than play like the former bassist did, to get my own touch on the old songs – to get a new vibe on the bass... with their approval.
Daniel Liljekvist: When we rehearsed he usually was the one who got all the notes right. We stopped “Is it this?” and he went like “I play it here” and “Yes it's this.”
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Was it the same for the guitar and Per “Sodomizer” Eriksson?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah... I don't know how he did it.
Niklas Sandin: I think so.
Daniel Liljekvist: I think the same way, maybe, because he had to learn Fredrik's guitar lines and Anders had never played those things before. So he couldn't teach Sodomizer to play them, so I think he figured it out pretty much at home too.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): I think for the new members it's especially important to be prepared since you don't want to show up and notice you can't play anything.
Niklas Sandin: Yeah, that would be embarrassing.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): You haven't toured Europe this extensively for almost 4 years now. Is there anything you're really looking forward to? Maybe because it's different from the US?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah that's right... You mean any specific places?
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): No, rather the general feeling.
Daniel Liljekvist: Well, I just missed touring Europe. It's been so long since we did it, so I'm really looking forward to sold out shows, a good atmosphere, meeting nice people that I haven't met for four years. Usually there are some familiar faces out there. And I'm really looking forward to meeting the spring in Europe. It was so bloody cold and snowing at home and we came here and (there's) no snow and almost ten degrees outside, it was like spring. So yeah, just good times.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Alright, then let's talk about the new album. The first question, I'm not sure if you can answer it, but I give it a try: It's about the lyrics, because there are several phrases and expressions that are exactly the same or similar as in older songs. Do you know if Jonas intended to make a connection to older songs or if it was just coincidental?
Daniel Liljekvist: I think I asked him the same question, but he says it's just coincidental.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Because it could have been possible that it's like a sequel or something like that.
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, it could be that, but I don't know if he wants to say it if it is. I'm the wrong man to answer that question anyway. Sorry.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Have you and Anders done backing vocals this time too?
Daniel Liljekvist: No. I did nothing this time. No screaming parts from me. I wanted to do it but there wasn't enough time and when you hear the finished result I don't think it would fit with any screaming parts either. So we just skipped that.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Many people wonder who that female voice on “Nephilim” is, if it is a female voice at all?
Daniel Liljekvist: “Nephilim”? No it's Jonas singing with the falsetto voice. Jonas did the vocals everywhere except for the last song.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Now about Frank Default. What role did he play in the development of the songs? He played the keyboards on the new album and also recorded special backing tracks for the live shows. Were the keyboard-created atmospheres already included in the song-writing or was it his own input while doing the recording?
Daniel Liljekvist: I think it's kind of both. He got to hear the demo songs and he listened to them and created some parts from his own mind, listening to those tracks. And Jonas, Anders and Frank met up and just put all those things together to create the finished product. He made a fantastic job.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Do you think you will work together with him again in the future?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah I think so. He's pretty easy to work with and he's got great ideas. Things that we wouldn't think of.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): But you're not planning to take him on tour?
Daniel Liljekvist: No.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): So no sixth member?
Daniel Liljekvist: I know we're going get shit from many people for using the backtracks and not getting in a keyboard-player, but we chose to do it this way now. But who knows about the future.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): It sounds like there was kind of a pre-production that he could work with. So I think you were the first one who really recorded after the pre-production with your drums. Then what did you have on your ears when you played? Was it only the basics and rhythm, without any keyboards?
Daniel Liljekvist: Uhm, some keyboards and all the guitar parts and the bass lines. But that's about it. Jonas and Anders always make the major parts of all the songs, so they make demo tapes at home and email me and I listen to them and get back to them on how and what I should play. But when we actually come to the recording studio, tracking the drums, it's always going to be different. Every time. So I actually never heard the finished product before we actually have the CD.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): I wanted to know about your snare sound because I think it's really great and it reminded me a bit of the “Watershed” snare sound from Opeth. So I want to ask what brand and skins you use.
Daniel Liljekvist: On this album?
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Yes.
Daniel Liljekvist: I think we use like five different snares. With emperor heads, like those with the black dot in it. I'm too lazy, I don't know anything about drums. I can just play them. And I hit really hard rimshots. Except on the ghostnotes.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): So you don't know what compressor was used?
Daniel Liljekvist: No. I know we used compressors, but I don't know the brands or the technical stuff.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Too many details.
Daniel Liljekvist: I mean, I love drummers who know exactly how they want the drums to sound before they even record them and they turn out like that because they know how it works. Actually, I don't care. Because I actually have so much faith in the producer and everyone else that I just want to play and know for sure it's going to sound good. And if I interfere with it, it's going to sound like crap, I would believe. Like “Ah, what about that mic?” – “That's not a microphone, it's a fire extinguisher.” – “Oh sorry”. You know, like that.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Let's come to the next topic: Criticism. Since Katatonia's a band that's evolving all the time, every album is so different and we all know you get lots of criticism every time, lots of listeners who suddenly think everything's turned bad. How do you deal with it? Don't you care for what your fans and other people say or do you even take it into account when working on new stuff?
Daniel Liljekvist: Well, of course you care what the fans say. But at the same time it's a difference between criticism and just bullshit. Because there's a lot of bullshit too. I mean, I can take criticism. There's something you can take in and learn for the next album or something, if it's good. If it's bullshit I don't even read it, I don't even care. But all the good criticism I read it and enjoy it. But to me it's not important. I'm not going to cry a week if I see someone for example posting at the forum that the drumming sucks.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Nobody said that
Daniel Liljekvist: Nah, but if it was like that. It could happen. Some jerk... I wouldn't cry tears for that because I know it doesn't suck. That's just bullshit.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): A lot of people on the forum didn't really like your video for “Day And Then The Shade”...
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): It got a pretty bad response, and personally I also didn't think it fit very much. But what do you think? Do you think it's really a great video to represent the song?
Daniel Liljekvist: Actually no, I don't think its super-duper good either. I don't know what happened, 'cause that video recording started when we were on tour with Porcupine Tree and Paradise Lost. So I don't think the input from our side, or rather Anders and Jonas' side was that much. I think he (the director) did most of it by himself. I'm not sure, but I thought it would be different. I think it's a pretty decent video but I had no input in it.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): The new one which I haven't seen yet is from Charlie Granberg again. Is there a reason why you worked with him again after you worked with another director (Lasse Hoile)?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah sure, but I don't know why. Maybe he didn't have time. We worked with Charlie before, so we know what he's worth and what he does.
Have you seen the new video?
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): No, I haven't seen it yet.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): I have seen it.
Daniel Liljekvist: Ok.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): I think it's much better than the last one.
Daniel Liljekvist: I haven't seen it really...
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): It's not on the homepage yet.
Daniel Liljekvist: Alright. One day I'm going to see it too. It's so much going on around Katatonia right now, I don't even have time to go online and see everything that's commercially right on. I think I've just seen the “Day And Then The Shade” video twice. I don't really have a decent opinion about it either.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): You're a father, too, right?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, father of two.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): How is it to be away for so long?
Daniel Liljekvist: Well, it kinda sucks, but there's always Skype. Even if my fiancée is home with my kids, I know they're safe and just five minutes on Skype with them and they know I'm okay and we can see each other's faces. That's pretty awesome. I don't miss them as much as I did the last tour when I didn't have my laptop with me. So it's much easier now.
HM to Niklas Sandin: Do you also have kids?
Niklas Sandin: No.
Daniel Liljekvist: He is the kid.
Niklas Sandin: Yeah, I am the kid. The youngest one.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): How old are you if I may ask?
Daniel Liljekvist: 12.
Niklas Sandin: No 13. No I'm 33, no 23. So it's a big leap in the ages but we're pretty much the same.
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah I think so. We all like beer and play music.
Niklas Sandin: Yeah.
Daniel Liljekvist: That's what counts.
Niklas Sandin: The main interests.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Have you read the "beard" thread on the forum?
Daniel Liljekvist: No I didn't, but I heard of it.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): People made songtitles with the word "beard" in it. Like "the longest beard" or "tonight's beard".
Daniel Liljekvist: Ah, bullshit threads.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): There are plenty of them.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): No, it was a great thread.
Daniel Liljekvist: I heard about that thread about us having all got big beards on the CD photographs.
That's actually a story, because me and Jonas did a bet. That was actually in May. We weren't supposed to shave the beard until we got the photographs for the new album. Which took place on August 18th. So, the end part of that time span the other guys thought about... 'cause they saw my and Jonas' beards...
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Epic beards.
Daniel Liljekvist: ...like cavemen and said. "Oh, we wanna look like that too!" So they started saving the beard the last month before. But when I came home from that photo session I cut if off.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Well that's the info we want to get here.
Daniel Liljekvist: It just started with me and Jonas first. We wanted to look like bums.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Was it itching a lot?
Daniel Liljekvist: No no. Just two weeks, like now I haven't shaved, now it's itching. But when it's down here it's very warm. You can imagine me having that big beard in July in the summer. Chasing the kids... “Come here, can you see your father's got a big beard and is sweating!?”
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): It's hard to continue with the next question after that topic...
About the new track on the EP that will be released soon. “Sold Heart”. Who wrote it and was it a leftover from the album, or is it a special recording?
Daniel Liljekvist: Jonas did it. It's his song. I think parts from it were supposed to be on a left out song of the record, but I don't think the whole song was supposed to be on the record. So it's a new song. He had some scrap material, riffs, laying around, so he put together a song. I think Frank was on it, too.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Ok, how is it? Have you heard it?
Daniel Liljekvist: I have heard it I think once. It's very mellow. A little bit like “Unfurl” but more up-tempo. He played the chorus and it's all programmed drums. I didn't record any drums for that song.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): And do you know if they used samples from your kit to imagine it was a real drumkit, or is it more like keyboard drums?
Daniel Liljekvist: I think on the song “Unfurl” it's my drums that are sampled on that song. That's me playing, but not playing the pattern.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Your sounds.
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, my hits.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): So for “Sold Heart” it's the same way?
Daniel Liljekvist: I don't know. Sorry.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Do you already have an idea for the direction the next album will go to?
Daniel Liljekvist: God no! I don't think so. We have to release an album pretty soon I think, but we got so much touring going on that I think we have to start making the music plans on tour.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): You have to do it for the label?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, they waited too long for the last album, so they already made plans when it's going to be released and when then deadline is.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): But you know there are always like three deadlines? On the third it starts to get serious!
Daniel Liljekvist: By that they're pretty pissed off! No, they're really good. I think it's good for us to make a new record.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): It was a long time, but “Night Is The New Day” was good in the end, so that's what matters.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Then we heard a rumour...
Daniel Liljekvist: I like rumours!
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): That Jonas is releasing an album with Krister Linder.
Daniel Liljekvist: I haven't heard anything about it. I would love if they did it, if they collaborated and made an album. But I've never heard about it. Where did you hear that?
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Somewhere on the internet. It's not a real source or anything, it's just a rumour.
Daniel Liljekvist: I can't confirm it, but I would love it. I would love if I could play on it, too.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Well, we'll see. I think it's the last question already. After all these years of experience, do you still have challenges you want to take? Can be anything like places you want to tour, awards you want to win or completely new style of music you wish to try.
Daniel Liljekvist: Awards we'd like to win? We haven't won a single award.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): So that would be a challenge for you?
Daniel Liljekvist: No, not really. Awards are not important, but it's always fun when you're nominated and you're sitting there and go like... Because we went to one nomination...
Niklas Sandin: The Manifest...
Daniel Liljekvist: The Manifest Award. It's for independent record labels, and we were nominated and were like: "Oooh~... ...Nooo!"
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): So you were sitting in the audience when it was announced?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, it was announced along with a small video clip and soundtrack, but someone else won.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): What category was it?
Daniel Liljekvist: Metal.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Best band? In Sweden?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah I think.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Do you know who was nominated and who won?
Daniel Liljekvist: Katatonia...
Niklas Sandin: Candlemass.
Daniel Liljekvist: Those guys who won and another band.
Niklas Sandin: Tribulation was the other band.
Daniel Liljekvist: Who won? It was with a "B"... Bird...face. I don't know. I never heard of 'em before.
Niklas Sandin: It was very slow doom metal.
Daniel Liljekvist: Instrumental, doomy.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Are you still pissed you didn't win?
Daniel Liljekvist: No!
Niklas Sandin: We got free beers.
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, free beers, so we didn't care so much.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Beers and beards.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): What about any other challenges?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yeah, there's ton of places we've never played before. I think this year there's a plan to go to South America, and we're going to Israel, too. Never even thought about playing in Israel.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): And since you're a pretty good drummer, I'd say, did you have the chance to be on some drummers...
Daniel Liljekvist: Drum clinics?
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Yeah, people that come to you and say: "Explain us your kit!"
Daniel Liljekvist: I wouldn't have a single idea of what to explain. Kick drum... it's white. Rack tom... I wouldn't have a single idea what to say.
Niklas Sandin: You should make a DVD, I think.
Daniel Liljekvist: I'm so... it's almost... I'm not ashamed of it, but I just want to play the drums. I don't care about sizes and measurements and all the heads... you know?
"What kind of cymbals stands do you use?" – “Uhm... chrome ones? Sparkly silvers?”
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Niklas, what kind of bass and bass equipment do you use?
Daniel Liljekvist: Here you go!
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Do you have a clue about what you play on?
Niklas Sandin: Yeah I think I have a better clue about that than Daniel over here. I play a Mayones bass from Poland currently. I just got an endorsement deal with them. I got it through Anders, and also Sodomizer uses the same brand. So I use a 5 string bass and an EBS bass head and cabinet amplifier.
Daniel Liljekvist: What's with putting the mics and all this numbers and shorts for it? Use the mic TK421.
Niklas Sandin: Yeah the R2D2 mic.
Daniel Liljekvist: I actually got endorsed too. I got a brand new drumkit from DrumCraft. I love the drums, I love the drums...
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): You have to say that.
Daniel Liljekvist: I don't know the sizes, but it's fucking awesome.
Niklas Sandin: The bassdrum is bigger and better.
Daniel Liljekvist: The Bassdrum is 22 x 20.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): Do you have it with you?
Daniel Liljekvist: Yes, you're going to see and hear it.
Markus Skroch (Hörspiegel): We had a question for Anders, it's about Diabolical Masquerade...
Daniel Liljekvist: Yes, I can answer it.
Alina Jensch (Hörspiegel): Will it ever return?
Daniel Liljekvist: No. ...I don't know. Not in the near future I think. He actually had plans for touring and had a band and everything, but it all ended up in the sand.
Hörspiegel: Thank you very much.
Both: Thank you, time for warming up. See you later.