Kataklysm – The Everlasting Has BredWednesday, 23rd October 2013
Dead Rhetoric: Was it a requirement that Max’s replacement be French-Canadian?
Dagenais: We really wanted just a good drummer, and the fact he’s French-Canadian makes it a little bit easier to understand each other. We all speak English, but ourselves, we’re used to the French and we have our own ways up there. [laughs] We wanted to first look at who was available in that area, and if we weren’t able to find somebody, it could have been elsewhere. And we had some big-name drummers wanting to help out on this album and we were thinking that could have been a good idea too, but at the same time, we don’t want to keep the focus on one super-new member that would bring everything to the table. We wanted to keep the focus on Kataklysm and having a good musician that was lesser-known, but would fit with us on a personal and musical level.
Dead Rhetoric: As for Waiting for the End to Come, it feels like a really good synopsis of all the things Kataklysm does really well, but, your riffs come across as meaner. Not like they weren’t before, but was the approach to get a little more brutal this time out?
Dagenais: I wanted to push myself as far as I could possibly go. As a guitar player, I know that I am good at writing things that have hooks and some sort of catchiness to them. I also like writing melodies, but for this record, I wanted to push my playing to the max. I wanted to be able to play tight and powerful riffs, and unleash whatever I have in me and put it on the record. The other guys too, like Steph [Barbe, bass], when I came up with a few of my songs for the record, he was like, “Man, this is hard to play!” He had to sit down and learn the stuff together and make sure everything is tight. We’re still practicing very hard for this tour coming up in November. Some of these songs are harder to play than the ones in the past. It’s a challenge, but at the same time, it’s refreshing; you can’t go on auto-pilot with our songs, you have to be able to think and perform, and it’s really a good challenge in a positive way.
Dead Rhetoric: A criticism sometimes leveled at the band from the old-school death metal crowd is that you haven’t always been technical enough. What do you say to those who feel that way?
Dagenais: You have different ways of looking at music. You can be a talented musician who performs that plays super-fast with scales or you do all of these tricks – especially drummers or guitar players, or we took the approach of “Let’s write good songs.” We concentrated a lot more on finding good hooks and choruses, songs that have a flow to them. Finding a tempo that would work live because we tour a lot. We wanted songs that would be efficient live. That’s how we started writing more, say, AC/DC is to heavy metal. Really simple. You hear anything from Back in Black and it works. It’s not the best musicianship in the world, but the songwriting is amazing, and that’s the idea we have with Kataklysm. We didn’t want to be Dream Theater – we want to be the AC/DC of death metal. [laughs] Something you can bang your head to, and catch on really easy.
Dead Rhetoric: Who’s the melody guy in the band? You? Steph or Maurizo [Iacono, vocals]? It seems like an underrated component of your sound.
Dagenais: It’s usually me and Steph. We feed off each other. I’ll write something then send it to him, then he’ll send it back to me and it’s how we work. We challenge each other; I’ll write a song, then he’ll go “Listen to this!” and he’ll send back a song that’s better. [laughs] I’ll write something else and we’re challenging ourselves, it’s cool because we have this healthy competition. We never write on the record who wrote what, but we know who wrote what song and we know what songs work better live. It’s fun.
Dead Rhetoric: You have the Sepultura tour coming up. You’ve put in a lot of work in North America since 2000, so you’re slowly making some good headway here. What’s the expectation for this tour?
Dagenois: We wanted to start the campaign with a tour like this because is a higher-profile tour, with bands that we’ve played with before and we’re friends with. I think it’s interesting for the average metal fan to see different styles every night. I think Sepultura and Kataklysm, they go very well together because of the groove aspect of [it]. We’ve been fans of them since they started. It’s a nice way to start the campaign, and at the same time, we’re rehearsing new songs from the record for that tour, so it’s a nice way to introduce them to the public. One thing I like about this tour is that we’re playing nicer venues across the board, which we haven’t done in those nicer venues. It was nice to see all of these House of Blues on the tour circuit; we’re stoked about that.
Dead Rhetoric: All of this talk about touring makes me remember your tour in 2000 with Dismember, Krisiun, and Shadows Fall. Recollections?
Dagenais: I remember we had such a good time with all of these bands. The Krisiun guys were incredible. To this day, they’re still really good friends of ours and when we were doing our first European headlining tour, we asked about bringing Krisiun. Since then, everytime we see each other we have such an incredible time. I remember that from that tour, and Dismember were really funny and Shadows Fall were really good guys. They even brought us back out a few years later when they got bigger. They took us on their U.S. run. We made good friends and it was good times – we were travelling in a very small van with the equipment in the back. [laughs] Our humble beginnings.
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