♦♦♦ Aurora Borealis ♦♦♦
Katatonia (V)
Interview mit Roger & Niklas [Katatonia], 30.09.2016, Köln/LMH

Am 30. September 2016 legten Katatonia im Rahmen ihrer „Fallen Hearts Of Europe“-Tour auch einen Zwischenstopp in Köln ein. Vor ihrer Show in der Live Music Hall traf ich den Bassisten Niklas Sandin sowie den neuen Gitarristen Roger Öjersson der schwedischen Progressive-Dark-Rock/Metal-Band zum Interview. Ein Gespräch über seltsame Tour-Souvenirs, Lampenfieber sowie Veganismus…

How did the tour start for you guys?

Niklas: The start of the tour was really good. We played in Malmö, Sweden. So we actually started the whole thing in our home country. It wasn’t a too long drive. But then we had a travel day down to Leipzig. I think the shows are getting better and better…

You came all the way from Sweden to Germany by bus?

Niklas: Ja, we came by nightliner. It’s a long drive, but you don’t really notice it, because you’re travelling during the night, you can sleep and you wake up in the next town.

Recently you’ve been on tour in Latin America. Which experiences did you collect over there?

Roger: It’s an amazing place with amazing audiences. For me it was the first time being over there. You guys [pointing at Niklas] have been there before…

Niklas: Yeah, we were there five years ago. That was the first time for us and we were totally shocked, because there is so much more energy in the crowd. It’s almost like they’re at a soccer game – jumping and cheering…

Roger: …almost louder than we are!

Which souvenirs did you buy over there?

Roger: I forgot mine on the plane. [laughs]

Niklas: There were some flutes [laughs] that we bought at an airport, but we left them on the plane.

Also you’ve recently been in Bulgaria for playing together with an orchestra. What kind of event was that?

Roger: We played with the philharmonic orchestra at a venue which they actually found somewhen in the 70ies. While they were building a highway, they dug out this old roman theatre and instead of making a museum out of it, they turned it into a venue. That is really cool! It’s almost 2.000 years old.

But how did it come about that you played with that orchestra?

Niklas: It’s something that several bands from our management have done before – like Paradise Lost and Anathema. They found out it’s such a good concept and people appreciate it, so they questioned us if we wanna do it as well. We accepted. Of course it’s a little bit weird, because we didn’t hear the arrangements before we actually were on-site. So the first rehearsals were a little bit all on edge.

Roger: We had two days of rehearsals before the gigs, which was nice… [laughs]

Niklas: …and well needed.

Do you prefer big festival stages or small club stages to unfold?

Niklas: I think that some kind of midsized venues are the best – for 1.000 people or a bit smaller. It gets more intimate that way and we can connect to the audience better. And of course if it’s too small, you can’t have the full light show with the screens and backdrop and everything. And if you’re playing too big stages, you kinda get lost and can’t see any faces.

Does anyone of you still suffer from stage fright?

Roger: I don’t think so.

Niklas: No, not like stage fright, but sometimes you can get of course more nervous than other times.

Roger: If you haven’t had the time to prepare properly, you fear some technical issues or whatever. Otherwise everybody is cool!

What can we expect from your show tonight?

Niklas: You can expect a show full of energy and darkness.

Why is your support band Vola not playing tonight?

Niklas: They’re playing at Euroblast Festival. I think it was even booked before the guys were confirmed for this tour. Therefore Agent Fresco is playing a little bit longer for the audience.

To what extent do Katatonia and Agent Fresco from Iceland fit together?

Roger: It works out really well. Their music is more progressive.

Niklas: I think it’s a good match. I have hard times to describe the music, but it’s cool…

Let’s talk about your own music: “Death” is a big topic on your new album “The Fall Of Hearts”. Seems like Anders and Jonas, who wrote the lyrics, didn’t have good times last year…!?

Niklas: Might be. [thinking a bit longer] Hard to say. It’s always been bleak and depressive lyrics.

Roger: But the songs are open to interpretation, though…

Niklas: Yeah, it’s up to interpretation.

What’s the most positive song on the new album?

Niklas: Oh. [laughter] The songs have different levels of depressiveness, I guess.

Roger: From grey to black.

Niklas: Exactly, different shades of grey.

For the song “Shifts” you recently presented a new music video. To what extent did you bring in your own ideas?

Niklas: I think it was mainly Anders who communicated with producer Lasse Hoile about the concept and what should be in there. But Lasse had quite free hands, because he’s been doing so much in the past for the band. He’s always doing good and fitting music videos, in my opinion.

The current tour is still running for a few weeks. What do you miss the most when you’re on the road?

Niklas: The once left home.

Roger: Family, kids…

Niklas: Family and Kelles Kaviar which you can get at Ikea. Some people call it fish tooth paste. [laughter] You put it on sandwiches and eggs.

Isn’t the food good enough on tour?

Roger: I’ve been spoiled actually so far on this tour, because I’m a vegan. And it can get quite tricky sometimes… It was very tricky in South America, I can tell you. [laughter]

Lots of meat, I guess…

Roger: Ja. You wanted to have something vegetarian and it came with minced meat, chicken or bacon. It doesn’t even say on the menu. I actually lost weight on the US tour, that was weird. There was no food for me!

Niklas: You’re allergic to mushrooms as well. [looking at Roger] And if there came something vegan, it was mushrooms. [laughter]

But did you find anything to eat here at the buffet of Live Music Hall?

Roger: Oh yeah, lots! Beautiful foods so far. I’m lucky!

How do you keep yourself fit and healthy on tour?

Roger: We don’t. [laughs]

Niklas: I changed my beer diet to red wine. [laughs]

Is there lots of party in the tourbus every night?

Roger: We’re enjoying having a few drinks, but we never really get wasted…yet.

Niklas: The most craziest thing I’ve done on this tour which was rock’n’roll: I spilled a glass of red wine yesterday that it didn’t get more crazy. It’s the first tour with Roger…maybe a few more weeks and you’re running around naked!? [laughter]

True, you’re still quite new in the band, Roger. How did you settled in?

Roger: Actually it felt kind of natural from the start. It’s just a weird thing that we actually never met before. We have got lots of common friends and used to hang out in the same places, but we never met!

How did you find together in the end?

Niklas: I think the Opeth guys recommended Roger. We actually had this ad on our Facebook page and official homepage about that we’re searching for a guitarist and that people could apply. I think it was Fredrik in Opeth who said: “Hei, I know this really good guitar player. He is easy going. Why don’t you check him out?”

So you joined an audition, Roger?

Roger: No. We just had dinner…

Niklas: We already knew that you can play a couple of chords… [laughter]

Did you already contribute to the new album?

Roger: Just guitar solo parts. The album was pretty much already done.

Niklas: Yeah, when I met Roger for the first time, everything was pretty much recorded.

How will you prepare yourself for the dark and cold Scandinavian winter? Escaping to Australia for touring over there?

Niklas: Yeah, that’s nice. It’s the perfect month to play such a tour over there.

Interview & Fotos: Lea S.
Website Band: www.katatonia.com

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