Katatonia: Per Eriksson Interview

On a freezing cold night of December I sat down with Per Eriksson, guitarist of Katatonia and Bloodbath to talk Katatonia, Bloodbath and Video games.

James: Katatonia are well into the ‘Dead Ends of Europe’ tour, how’s the tour been as a whole?

Per:  The tour has been great! Playing wise, horrible bus wise haha.

James: The tour has been all over mainland Europe, for most of it yeah?

Per: Yeah, exactly. But our buses kept breaking down on us for little bits so but apart from that it has been a great tour

James: And this is the second date of the UK leg of this tour, you played London last night. How was that experience?

Per: London was fantastic. It had sold out, it was kind of a small venue but it was all sold out and everyone was really happy.

James: And the focus of this tour is to promote the new album ‘Dead End Kings’ which came out in August, how was the recording process for that album as it had been three years since your last album had come out?

Per: We started recording the album in December of last year so it took around six months or so. So from the starting of recording to the release it was not very long and we didn’t have a lot of time to write songs as we were touring all the time. But we managed to push it all in that short time.

James: What would you say were the main lyrical themes behind the new album?

Per:  Well I don’t know much on the lyric side as Jonas doesn’t really like to tell you what his lyrics are really about you know, he wants everyone to make up their own mind to relate to the song. So I don’t know much about that but we were under a lot of pressure so I don’t know where it all came from, we just went in and did it.

James: So when you are recording does Jonas come up with all the main ideas or do you all collaborate to get the end product?

Per: Well Jonas and Anders have been the main songwriters since the band started but everybody writes separately in their own homes then we all put it together at the end.

James: In September of last year it marked the first time Katatonia played Lebanon in the Middle East. What was it like going to that part of the world which don’t often get that many metal shows?

Per: It was kind of weird you know, but it was really fun to see that part of the world you will never go to on a holiday, I wouldn’t do that haha! I thought it would be more of a Muslim country but it’s not, it’s like Europe so that was surprising.

James: And would you say that tour over there was one of your standout moments being in the band?

Per: Yeah absolutely, those kinds of shows are crazy. We did India as well which was, a lot of bands play there now, but it was still a weird place to play as it is so different.

James: When Katatonia first started they were like more influenced by black metal and more heavily linked with doom metal but later albums the sound has evolved. Why did this process happen?

Per: I’m not really sure but we all grow up you know, when you get older everything changes like your music taste. So I’m really not sure. As you can get boxed in just playing like death metal as we do that in Bloodbath, you can only do it in this box, if you go outside of the box it’s not death metal anymore; you can’t really experiment.

James: On the topic of Bloodbath is there anything new in the works?

Per: We’re working on it.

James: Slowly but surely!

Per:  Next year we hope to record a new album if we have the time.

James:  As Katatonia have been going for such a long time, how do you keep going after all these years? How do you keep producing fresh ideas?

Per: I haven’t been with the band so long but I have no idea actually. A burning passion for music maybe haha! Or a lot of anguish to get a rhythm or something!

James: And when you’re not recording, when you take the months off between going back into the studio what do you do with your day to day life?

Per: I play a lot of video games.

James: Xbox of PS3?

Per: Xbox, I’m a real gamer haha!

James: That’s the real answer haha

James: And it has been three years since Katatonia was last at Bloodstock Festival, do you have any hope of playing there again?

Per: Absolutely. We have looked a little bit on the festival summer but I haven’t seen it on there yet but maybe for next year

James: Have you seen the lineup for next year?

Per: I haven’t no.

James: It’s shaping up nicely. Slayer got announced as last headliner.

Per: Oh right nice one!

James: So with all the festivals Katatonia have played which has been the best experience?

Per: We’ve played so many festivals I can’t even remember anymore. I’m not sure.

James: And with Katatonia considered to be a pioneering band of the doom scene do you pay attention to upcoming bands in the doom scene?

Per: I have no idea what’s going on anymore, I stopped caring a few years ago as I didn’t find anything new or exciting as most of it has been done already. So now we just kind of go back in time and shake out stuff I missed out

James: What would you say your main influences were in wanting to be in a metal band?

Per: That is a hard question, so something like Metallica or something you know. But King Diamond changed my way of looking at music, when I heard Abigail by King Diamond for the first time I wanted to do darker stuff with my music.

James: I think it was earlier this year you did the American leg of the tour with Devin Townsend. How was that over in the states?

Per: That was a great tour. Devin is such a nice guy and his band are fantastic, it was an easy tour. As we are all getting older it’s not so much a party anymore like it used to be. They were on the same page so there was no friction or anything.

James: So that’s it, thank you for your time I really appreciate it.

Per: No worries man.

Katatonia’s latest album ‘Dead End Kings’, is out now.