KATATONIA was born in Sweden in the year 1991 and have released around 10 Studio albums so far. Their music is characterised by an amalgamation of Progressive Rock and Metal but however does not adhere to a particular sub-genre. Their last album ‘The Fall of Hearts‘ released in 2016 and has garnered exceptional reviews and response since then. We are speaking to the band’s founder and front man, Jonas Renkse. Excerpts:
MJM. How did your 10th album, ‘Fall of Hearts’ come about? In the studio, or during tours? How much time did the recording process take?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: We wrote most of it during the downtime after the releases ‘Dead End Kings’ and the ‘Dethroned & Uncrowned’ version of the aforementioned album and their respective tours. Recording took a couple of months I think.
MJM. What were the inspirations for the album, both lyrical and musical?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Same as always. Mostly ourselves. Some other music. And a drive to always get closer to the perfect album.
MJM. When do we expect the next album?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: No idea.
MJM. How has Katatonia’s music evolved or changed in the last years? And why?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Depends on what time frame you are talking about. In the more recent years, it hasn’t changed too much, as we have crafted a style where we are very comfortable.
MJM. How do you prepare for shows? Is the essence more pure while writing or performing music?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: I prefer writing music. The live part is about trying to match the recording but also add a different energy. We usually have a drink or two and listen to some of our favourite music before a show.
MJM. Could you tell us a bit about when the band was formed? Did you think you’d be going strong in 2017?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: We formed in 1991 as teenagers, I don’t think we could even see as far as to 2017 back then. The future then was of no interest, we were living in the “here and now” pretty much.
MJM. The ‘The Great Cold Distance’ is also celebrating its tenth anniversary. Congratulations.
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Oh, yes! Thanks.
MJM. How do line–up changes affect your music?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: I guess it depends on the individual members and their qualities etcetera. It’s always a problem if someone has to be replaced, but usually it works out.
MJM. You have an extensive tour lined up. When do you find time to write new material?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: After the touring.
MJM. Do you guys get to pursue other hobbies, unwind or sight see?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Yeah, a little bit, if there’s time. Otherwise, we just relax between the shows, have some drinks, watch movies and stuff like that.
MJM. What kind of music do you guys listen to? In other genres too?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Everything that’s good to our ears, and from all kinds of genres.
MJM. Your playlist for today?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Today, I have only listened to the radio and the distant noise from outside my window.
Katatonia– Shifts (from The Fall of Hearts)
MJM. Your favourite releases of 2016?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: I have no idea what has been released in 2016, sorry.
MJM. Do any of you work on any side projects?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Yes, Anders and I have the band Bloodbath, Niklas is in death metal band called LIK, Daniel plays with a Death/ Doom band called Heavydeath and Roger plays with Tiamat sometimes.
MJM. How do you feel when you look back at your earlier music?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: I feel proud that we had such a drive to become an original band.
MJM. Your songs have a melodic backbone. How do you come up with initial melodies and lay the foundation?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Experimenting with chord progressions and trying to come up with interesting vocal melodies on top.
MJM. Some songs have electronic elements in them. What are they exactly? And why use them?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: A lot of different sounds. We use them because we think it suits the music.
MJM. Would you be open to use other ethereal instruments like sitar, to expand your musical horizons?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: You never know, it has a cool sound for sure.
MJM. How was your experience in India with your recent most show?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: A bit different from last time. If we come back I’d like to play normal shows as opposed to festivals.
Katatonia – Old Heart Falls (lyrics video) (from The Fall of Hearts)
MJM. India has a lot of active bands & projects from a variety of genres and release music regularly, in spite of not being supported by record labels, unlike other countries. This gives the artists a freedom with their music but sometimes a lack of international promotions, global marketing and sales, studio capital etc. What are your thoughts on this practice? And how do record labels affect bands?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Yes, it’s a balance between the freedom of doing your own marketing versus having a record label doing most of the promotion. I don’t really know what works best for the indian market. If bands from India want to go international I think having a record label would be best.
MJM. Amidst all the commercialism and boom in artists from different genres, what is your advice to young artists pursuing metal?
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Simple and effective way is to, develop in their own pace and not try to copy what’s hot at the moment.
MJM. Thanks for speaking with us. All the best!
(Katatonia) Jonas Renkse: Cheers.
Connect with the band-
Varun Gopalkrishnan (Metaljesus Magazine)