Katatonia – Seconds Are Worthless
By: David E. Gehlke
Blistering.com: Very impressed with Per and we’ve seen him with you and Jonas in Bloodbath before, but he’s easily the most technical guitarist you’ve had in the band.
Nyström: Oh yeah. That goes with all aspects. He’s a really big gear-nerd in the band. He just loves to take things apart and put them back together again. He loves to know how things work. It’s really good to have a guy like that in the band who can always fix a problem. He’s really into guitar playing and he can shred, so we have every opportunity to do what we want with the guitars.
Blistering.com: We’re coming up on two years since the release of Night Is the New Day and it was well-documented that the writing of that album was difficult for you. How does it sit with you now?
Nyström: It’s safe to say that the album wouldn’t have been put out if I wasn’t happy with it. We’ve done all of this before and everything has to go through a filter. What Jonas came up with…it’s just as much Katatonia as it ever would have been. Totally happy with the album.
Blistering.com: Have you started to think about the next album?
Nyström: Oh yeah. We’re actually pretty much through with the writing. We did this tour like a break from the writing. When we come back, we’re going to focus solely on that. We’re going to sit down in our headquarters, day in and day out, pumping out songs. The new album is 100% promised to be released in 2012.
Blistering.com: You’re on that three-year schedule now.
Nyström: We need to stick with it. Otherwise, we’re just losing it [laughs]. And if you’re doing it too often than that, I don’t know…it gets spoiled. The three-year rule is excellent.
Blistering.com: What are you thinking direction-wise?
Nyström: It’s a little bit of everything. There’s always some cool leftovers that you never know which way they can go that you can pick up again. Of course, there’s a lot of new ideas that you more or less come up with as you’re recording. Not all of our songs are 100% complete until we’re done in the studio, so I love to stick around and experiment with a lot of effects pedals and maybe the drummer comes up with a cool pattern that makes you think about something different. It’s an open process. It’s cool to experiment because by the end, we know what we’re about and what the album will sound like. We’re not going to lose that with our next album.
Blistering.com: Night learned more toward the atmospheric side of the band, so will we see a return of some of your heavier elements?
Nyström: Yes and no. I think where Katatonia really shines is in the diversity of the material. If there’s too much of one of them, it’s not really ideal. I think we’re going to go for that perfect balance.
Blistering.com: Going back to the lineup for a second, right after you put out Night Is the New Day, the Normanns left. Did you see it coming?
Nyström: I was disappointed. Totally. I felt like…with an album and that stage in our career, we were moving upward. We still are experiencing growth in certain areas. I mean, we were steadily climbing upwards. Slow, real slow, but upwards. I just couldn’t believe they didn’t want to be in on the ride because what we did after they left has been the most successful years of our career ever. I was totally disappointed with it, but to each his own. Everybody is in their different stages of life and I can’t speak for them and their conditions…I have a hard time that you’d want to give up on something when you’ve invested so many years of your life in it.
Blistering.com: Have you talked to Fred or Matthias since they left?
Nyström: Sure, we’ve been in touch. We’re still good friends and everything. It’s not like we’ve said “goodbye” or anything. You probably won’t hear much from Matthias in a while because he doesn’t have a band, but Fred is keeping busy with October Tide. They’re even playing live and they released a really killer album [last year’s A Thin Shell]. So he’s still active.
Blistering.com: “Dissolving Bonds” has made its way into the set and is quickly becoming one of your more popular songs. Since you wrote it and it didn’t make the cut on The Great Cold Distance, you must feel some type of satisfaction now that it’s being recognized so much.
Nyström: I’m flattered. It’s a good song and somehow, we have a tradition of putting good songs as b-sides [laughs]. It’s not actually deliberately done. It’s not like we feel the song is too bad to be on the album, it’s just that all of those songs that have been put out as b-sides have not felt like we could fit them into the order of the album. Usually, we’ve been frustrated because we felt the song itself is excellent or really special. But, if you look at it from our perspective, if you put it out as a b-side or a single, it will damn sure make the single more exclusive.
Blistering.com: Once you wrap up the anniversary shows, what’s on the agenda?
Nyström: We’ll spend winter and spring next year in the studio, then you have the summer festivals. So if you look at it, next fall we’ll have the new album out and we’ll start the whole cycle over again.