KATATONIA Frontman Discusses Songwriting Process For 'Night Is The New Day'

Brendan Crabb (a.k.a. Spiritech) of PyroMusic.net recently conducted an interview with vocalist Jonas Renkse of Sweden's KATATONIA. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

PyroMusic.net: The band has never made any secret of the fact that you aren't too fond of the writing and recording processes. Is this because it's such a mentally and physically exhausting thing for you to undertake each time you make a new album?

Jonas Renkse: Well, I think it usually comes down to that we are very hard on ourselves and we care so much about the details and in this kind of music there are a lot of details. It just takes such a long time to get satisfied with every song and the songwriting has to be perfect in our eyes and everything. So it's a tough process to go through, but it's very, very rewarding once we're done. Right now I feel that doing another album shouldn't be a problem, because the feeling that you get after you've finished with a new album, it's hard to beat that one.

PyroMusic.net: So what is your primary emotional response when finishing an album? Relief? Excitement? Neither?

Jonas Renkse: It's mostly relief, first of all. Because you know that you don't have to spend nights on end in the studio for a long time. But then of course you see the reactions from the press, the media and most importantly the people that listen to KATATONIA and then it becomes very... that's a feeling of joy, to see people's reactions. Be it good or bad, it's always fun to see what people think.

PyroMusic.net: Given that you wrote the bulk of the material on this album, was it an even more stressful experience than usual this time around?

Jonas Renkse: Yeah, I guess for me it was, but I also took some pride in that and I really wanted to do something that could hold up to what Anders ["Blakkheim" Nyström, guitar] has done in the past, because he wasn't a very active songwriter on this album. But, I mean, putting the name KATATONIA on an album, you have to reach a certain standard to even think about doing that. So it made me very creative I would say. It was as very long process, kind of lonely but I really liked it because it was very creative for me.

PyroMusic.net: Did any new subject matter inspire your lyrics on "Night Is The New Day"?

Jonas Renkse: I wouldn't say there are any really new subjects. I try to write as honestly as possible, it's usually about the same kind of subjects; I just try to not repeat myself and write more... write in a more varied style perhaps. The lyrics are about the bleak side of life basically and there are only so many variations you can do, but I'm trying to come up with the most... you know, the music is the most important thing and then I have to adjust my lyrics, I want them to suit the music perfectly and that's what drives me to write. It's not always easy, but it's always interesting, I have to say (laughs).

PyroMusic.net: How often does writer's block get in the way and make an already difficult process even more grueling?

Jonas Renkse: I think for this album, it was the first time that we really felt that kind of thing. I think it had to with some of the pressure that we put on ourselves since the previous album, (2006's "The Great Cold Distance") which we were very happy with. And also the album was doing very good, the record label wanted us to release a new album and we knew that we couldn't release a new album until we had better songs. I think that was the reason that we didn't really want to start doing the new album, because all of a sudden it felt like a massive black cloud over our heads, you know? But I think once we got our shit together and actually started doing one or two new songs and got the feeling that the new material was very strong, I think that's where it all turned around and became a very creative process instead.

Read the entire interview from PyroMusic.net.

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