Old-school Extreme Metal Arriving on a Katafalk (Interview with Chris from Katafalk)

07.06.2005  :: АрхивАрхив интервью Автор: Andrey Kugaevskiy

Disclaimer: this interview was conducted, like, a billion years ago or so, and since I’ve been very busy with, erm, stuff (don’t ask…), it’s only today (~1,5 years later) when I finally found time to dig it up, edit it and post. Sorry for the delay, guys. If you didn’t read my Katafalk review (and you probably didn’t, because I haven’t translated it in English :q), this band plays «old-school extreme metal» — and does it pretty good, mind you! If you like stuff like Angel Corpse, Dissection and Defleshed, and you still haven’t checked this band, shame on you, go and buy «Storm Of The Horde» immediately. As a side note for Russian readers: CD-Maximum has issued this CD under license from Cold Blood Industries about a year ago, so you can still find it if you really try. Okay, enough with the introduction, let’s get to the interview itself.

— (AK) Is there anything that you would like to tell us about Katafalk history?

— (C) I started Katafalk in 1995 together with some other metalheads. In 1997 we recorded our first demo ‘Through The Storm’ after which we had some line-up changes. I am the only original member now. Some years after the first demo we recorded a new promo (‘Promo 2001′) with all new members except for me and singer Wokkel. I did really well and we toured with God Dethroned across Holland. God Dethroned’s frontman Henri decided to sign us for his label CBI. Although some members decided to leave the band shortly after that, Katafalk continued and recorded «Storm Of The Horde» late 2002.

— (AK) What was the reason of creating the band?

— (C) Katafalk was created in order too make real metal! No trendy crap here!

— (AK) Why did you chose the name «Katafalk» to represent your music? What meaning do you put in it?

— (C) Katafalk is a word for hearse in our native language Dutch. It’s coming on wheels and it’s bringing death, exactly like we come and play somehere! It’s a strong and simple word with a cool meaning that fits the band perfectly.

— (AK) What goals are you trying to achieve with your music?

— (C) To make great albums, kick ass on stage all over the globe and supply the world with real fuckin’ metal!

— (AK) Did you have anything out prior to «Storm Of The Horde» CD? If yes, then how do you think your earlier stuff differs from your last album?

— (C) ‘Through The Storm’ (1997, 5 track demo cassette) and ‘Promo 2001’ (2001, 3 track promo CD). All tracks of the promo ended up on the album («Birhmark 666», «Hatred» & «Operation Mindloss») and the track «Rise Now» was on the first demo. All tracks were re-recorded of course. ‘Through The Storm’ was more melodic orientated, featuring some midtempo tracks. Heavy Metal! It still rules though the band was not very good at the time. Later on we focused more on speed and brutality.

— (AK) How did you hook up with Cold Blood Industries?

— (C) Like I said we toured with God Dethroned. Frontman Henri, who runs CBI, was already interested in us, having followed the band for some years. He invited us to tour with GD so he could check us out performing live across Holland. God Dethroned was touring in support of their ‘Ravenous’ album and we had just released the promo. By the end of the tour he offered us a deal.

— (AK) What can you say about your label’s activity regarding your band (promotion, etc.)?

— (C) CBI is doing great work for us, we’re really satisfied with them. ‘Storm Of The Horde’ is distributed worldwide (Europe, U.S.A., Canada) and we’re in any big magazine. We got our hands full doing interviews and stuff, all arranged by CBI. Besides that, they nearly got us on a European tour at one occasion so they’ve been very supportive so far.

— (AK) What bands do you consider to be your influences?

— (C) Iron Maiden, Slayer, Morbid Angel, Dissection, Emperor.

— (AK) What style(s) of metal can describe your music, in your opinion?

— (C) A mixture of death and thrash. Some people notice black too, and some traditional metal as well.

— (AK) How did you got into metal?

— (C) When I was young I heard the famous early hardrock music on the radio (AC/DC, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath), which got me interested in heavy stuff. First real metal album I got my hands on was Live After Death from Iron Maiden and it completely changed my life!

— (AK) Do you pay as much attention to your lyrics as you do to your music?

— (C) I don’t write the lyrics myself, but indeed, the lyrics should be equally good as the music is. There are some thoughtful lyrics on the album, but tradional metal fantasy lyrics as well. In general, the lyrics need to be good and fit the music well. Strong choruses are something I like to use very much.

— (AK) Do you think that lyrics are equally important with music in rock and metal? In other words, do you think that it’s fine to sing about whatever crap you want as long as the music is good or you think that good music also means good message?

— (C) Mmm I think there are as much rock bands who sing about crap as there are metal bands who sing about crap, but it differs of course what you see as crap. We handle some ‘very metal’ topics like in «Birthmark 666» or «Baptized In Fire» which of course is based on fantasy but for instance I don’t like over-gory lyrics. Some of our other lyrics do have a message but it’s not something I think is mandatory for every song.

— (AK) Do you guys listen only to metal, or you’re also into other genres and styles of music? (If you listen to other stuff besides metal, have you ever thought about incorporating elements of it in the music of Katafalk, or at least starting some kind of side-project)?

— (C) It’s mainly metal we listen too. Our drummer Michiel plays drums in a power metal band next to Katafalk. Occasionally he might listen to some non-metal which is interesting for drumming. The brothers Pier and Henk might start some blues-based rockband in the near future. Singer Niels plays guitar in extreme Dutch death/grind band Prostitute Disfigurement.

— (AK) What do you think about non-metal influences in metal? Are you «progressive» or «conservative» when it comes to the future of metal, i.e., do you think that bands who use non-metal influences are moving metal forward, or you think that these bands are killing metal?

— (C) It depends what kinds of influences they are. I have always liked classical influences in metal. There are a lot of bands which enriched the metalscene which are true metal to the bone. Like Dissection and Emperor. The bands who are killing metal are those MTV-crapbands.

— (AK) What bands do you consider to be metal elite? Any underground bands you can recommend our readers to check out?

— (C) Besides the bands I already mentioned, Arch Enemy, Soilwork and Children Of Bodom are great bands too. A lot of bands who used to be elite (like Slayer) are now old and although they’re still big and touring they’ve had their best days. For some new Dutch underground bands check the other releases of our label CBI: INRI, Crustacean and Monolith. Some bands from are local area Groningen are Seizure, As It Burns, Monastery, Obtuse and Winter Of Sin (all unsigned).

— (AK) Do you prefer playing live or working in the studio?

— (C) I like both of them. Playing live is the most fun of course, cause studio work can be quite boring and stressful at times. But it’s great to have your work immortalized after lots of hard work. What I like is creating, and playing it live when it’s finished, or hearing the final result on CD when recorded is really satisfactory.

— (AK) What tours have you had so far? Any interesting stories to share?

— (C) A short national tour with God Dethroned in 2001. Great fun, we even got to thrash the dressingroom at the last gig hehe.

— (AK) What bands your «dream tour» would consist of (no matter active or disbanded)?

— (C) Slayer cause they’re really big, visit a lot of places and their old stuff still rules.

— (AK) Do you play any cover songs live? What three songs would you like to cover?

— (C) Recently we have played Morbid Angel’s «Maze Of Torment» and on the God Dethroned tour we played Terrorizer’s «Corporation Pull-In». It’s fun to play for old time’s sake and of course the crowd loves it. We even played S.O.D.’s «Fuck The Middle East» because of the 9/11 attacks. You never should play more than one cover per set though. Our album’s doing well so we’re currently concentrating on our own material. Perhaps we’ll do another cover in the future.

— (AK) Is there anything special at your live show, like naked midgets spitting fire in the drunk crowd or something like that?

— (C) Naked midgets? What kind of pervert are you?! [Believe me, you don’t want to know… —AK] On a Katafalk show you see five guys going crazy on stage and that’s us of course. It’s all sweat, flying hair and adrenaline, like one guy once described it. On our CD release party we used some fireworks which went as high as the ceiling. Ironically it was only a few days before the Great White accident in the USA.

— (AK) Why your drummer has a pretty short haircut and the rest of the band have long hair? :)

— (C) Yeah all guys in a metal band should have long hair hehe! Drummers are hidden behind their kit anyway so for them I’ll make an exception :)

— (AK) The cover to «Storm Of The Horde» was painted by your vocalist. Is he a professional painter? Has he painted any other covers?

— (C) Wokkel is a professional painter indeed although he isn’t making lots of money with it. He also did albumcovers for other Groningen-based bands As It Burns and Winter Of Sin (he also sings in that band). All friends of us.

— (AK) Are you satisfied with your «Storm Of The Horde» CD? What you would’ve changed, if you had a chance to?

— (C) Yeah I’m definitely satisfied. All good songs and a great sound. Of course there are always little things but you can’t change them anyway. It would have taken more time in the studio and didn’t have much money to spend. And we got all great reactions so there’s nothing to complain.

— (AK) The saying on the CD tells that «Storm Of The Horde» was produced by «The Satanic Twins». I wonder how the hell did you manage to see the difference between them during the recording sessions? Have they used any black magic tricks to help you in your recording?

— (C) The Satanic Twins are Henri Sattler (of God Dethroned) and Berthus Westerhuys (of the famous Franky’s studio). They are the owners of Cold Blood Industries, so their logo appears on every CBI CD. By the way, we didn’t record at Franky’s but at the SingSing studio in Holland with Milan Ciric behind the board. Henri helped us out with the guitar-setup and we used his mighty Mesa Boogie amp. In the song «Cannonfodder» he does some guest-soloing. We had a fun time at SingSing.

— (AK) What reaction to your album have you experienced so far? Do you give a damn about negative reviews?

— (C) All reactions so far have been extremely positive, about 80 points or so. Of course there are always some people who aren’t into extreme metal but they shouldn’t review the album in the first place, so I don’t give a fuck about that.

— (AK) What do you think about drinks and drugs? Have you ever played a gig while being dead drunk?

— (C) Yeah I once did and it didn’t go very well haha. Before going on stage, I often drink one or two beers but not too much as it isn’t really helpful for playing :)

— (AK) What are your thought on current state of metal scene?

— (C) Excellent. Lots of good bands around if you care to search for them.

— (AK) What do you think about the internet and «mp3 revolution»?

— (C) Internet is a great medium. Okay filesharing cuts sales but also lots of (unknown) bands get more attention because of it. It’s the same as tapetrading in the eighties, although mp3’s are way more easier. I think real fans buy the CD anyway when they happen to like the music.

— (AK) Do you work to earn for a living or playing in Katafalk gives you enough money to survive?

— (C) Some guys are still at school, the others have jobs. We have to pay our bills too, you know…

— (AK) If you would have ever had a chance to go back and change something that happened or not happened, what would you have changed in the history of Katafalk?

— (C) I’m proud of the achievement so far (although it took a while). You never know if the result would be the same when things had been done differently, so let’s stick with things as they are. You can’t change the past anyway.

— (AK) What do you think about the future of Katafalk, music-wise? In what direction will the band progress?

— (C) I can’t really say anything about that yet. If there are enough good songs, we will record them and that will be our next album. Otherwise we don’t.

— (AK) How would you like the fans of Katafalk to remember it?

— (C) As a real metal band.

— (AK) Any questions I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

— (C) Can’t think of any…

— (AK) Any final words for the readers?

— (C) Listen to our CD ‘Storm Of The Horde’, drink a few beers and bang your heads! Check our website www.katafalk.com for news, tourdates, downloads, merchandise and other stuff! Cheerz and thanks Andrew for the interview.

— (AK) No problem Chris, and sorry for such a huge delay with posting the interview.

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