Jerry of Rauta conducted an interview with frontman Maurizio Iacono of Montreal, Quebec, Canada melodic death metallers KATAKLYSM prior to their November 9 concert at The Circus in Helsinki, Finland. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the evolution of KATAKLYSM's sound from an extreme death metal band into more melodic and straightforward territory:
Maurizio: "Getting old. No, I'm just kidding. [Laughs] I think with everything, you can't keep doing the same thing over and over. You have to have some sort of evolution in your music because it's also very hard to keep your fanbase satisfied forever doing the same thing. People get older, they change and you have to keep this fresh element in your music. KATAKLYSM has never repeated the same record twice. We've been a band that's loved trying new things here and there — not completely changing the recipe because we are who we are and KATAKLYSM will never change on that level. Especially on the last few records, we've been exploring more melodic stuff and the arrangements have been different. We're just getting more mature as songwriters. We're late -bloomers a little bit; we've been around for so long. We kind of sound very modern at the moment. That's important for us to keep going. Some bands are meant to do the same record over and over. It's fine. That's what people really want from them. I think for KATAKLYSM, it's kind of expected that we do surprise stuff once in a while with new elements always in our music. I think for us, it's just the way it is. We're comfortable in that environment."
On the songwriting process for their latest studio album, "Meditations":
Maurizio: "For us, I believe it's getting just easier to write now than before. We used to think too much about what people are going to think. I think that hurt us for a few records where we played it safe a little bit and stuff like that. Now we're kind of like opening up our horizons and trying new things, a different producer, this album, we used Jay Ruston out of Los Angeles, who works with STONE SOUR and ANTHRAX, which is a huge gamble for a band like us to do, but it worked out great, he did a great production. He was also, he was, like, 'Oh, man. This is a big challenge. A heavy band like this.' But it came out great. Sometimes you've got to take those steps, you've got to take those gambles. I think it has a very modern feel to it. The new record, some of the arrangements are way off compared to what we did before. We tried new things on this record. Also, vocal patterns are different — not as trying to go so deep; going for a more mid-range style which is where I'm most comfortable as well. Between KATAKLYSM and EX DEO, which is my other project that we have, which are two different things with the same guys, that's also another challenge to keep them completely separated. EX DEO is going to be more of a storytelling, more heavy type of environment than KATAKLYSM. KATAKLYSM is going to be a street-smart, level type of band that doesn't go killing babies and being satanic. It's just a real-life type of band. A lot of people call us now the PANTERA of death metal because of the grooves and the way we approach our music. I have no problem with that. That's one of my favorite bands, so it's cool. That's the tag we're getting more lately."
On how KATAKLYSM balances their creative needs with their business approach:
Maurizio: "I manage a bunch of bands as well. I've been doing this for a while. I started a management company in 2008 and I've worked with many bands and every band has its own path that needs to be designed. I think that's very important to continue to explore and to study, so when you're in today's world, you have to study what the kids or the generation is into and understand the path of promotion that's going to attract those people to get into your music. I think that it's a constant studying of the market. You can never get comfortable, because the moment you get comfortable, that's when you work less and things start around you changing really quickly. This is not an industry like the old days where you could spend ten years or five years on the one big record and everybody will be, like, 'Yeah, 'Reign In Blood'. It's over. That's it.' Now, it's every three years, you need to come up with something that's going to keep the people hungry and satisfied at the same time. It's a very, very tricky scene now. It's not the same. I think it's way harder than it used to be in the sense it was very hard back then to get signed. When you get signed to a record company, you are getting signed to a record deal, Nuclear Blast or Metal Blade or Century Media would sign you, the whole world would know about it in a magazine, not online. Then it would take forever for people to get to know you. But once you got signed, it was, 'Okay, you're special.' Everybody was looking at you. Now, it's like 20 bands get signed, so how do you come out? Then, it's just a different world where everybody is available and everybody can be there at any time so you have to kind of juggle the whole way through. I kind of keep an old-school approach. I'm big into touring. I think this is still the way to do it with connecting with your fans. There's nothing like it. Everything else is synthetic to me. You have Internet; you're not touching the person; you're not feeling the music. Everything else to me is synthetic. It's not real until you see the band live. I think that's when you become the fan mostly."
"Meditations" was released on June 1 via Nuclear Blast. The 10-song disc was produced by the band's guitarist Jean-François Dagenais and drummer Oli Beaudoin, and was mixed by Jay Ruston. Mastering duties were handled by Paul Logus (PANTERA).
The "Meditations" cover artwork was created for Ocvlta Designs by Surtsey, who also crafted the artwork for KATAKLYSM's previous record, "Of Ghosts And Gods".