Kataklysm's Jean-Francois Dagenais says We're Metal it's How We Will Die

Canadian death metallers Kataklysm has been around for over 20 years and are still going strong. Eleven albums under their belts with tons of touring in between with no plans on stopping. Guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais discusses the tour, history, and future plans.

1. Do you ever see the original line-up to get back together ever?

Jean: To be quite frankly I don't see it happening. It was great for what it was back in the day. Espically our old singer we liked him for who he was but I don't see myself or the other members to play music with him ever. There's no hard feelings, I think who Kataklysm is for today is who we are, myself, and the other guys, I think this is who we are and how we're going to die. Money talks and promoters for festivals or record labels ask for certain people or groups to get back together for one day or a few days, but for me and the rest of the guys, it's not about the money , but I don't see it to happen.

2. Would you mind telling me where the band got its name and what the meaning is behind it?

Jean:  Our old singer he got the name but wanted to call it by its Latin name kataklusmos which means in Latin a great devastation or an event that changes the world. We thought it sounded funny so we changed the name to English and switched the "C" to a "K". The English word is spelled with a C but we wanted to keep the Latin letter of K because it looked like Kreator and thought it looked cool back then.

3. You got new drummer Oli Beaudoin, how do you go about finding a new member that you know, clicks with the band and meshes well with your music?

Jean: So far so good. We had a great time writing the record with him and touring with him, musically we fit really well together. But personally he's getting part of the family slowly. It always takes longer to get someone with the band, the other members have been with us for so long that it's harder to get someone into that inner circle. He's doing a good job and it's working really well at the moment, we met him at a show we had to cancel because Max couldn't play so Oli played the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise a few years ago with us, and he's worked with other bands, so we knew he would be the one for the job, he's learned the songs really fast, he was also a fan of Kataklysm, so he knew the songs already, the chemistry was just so natural so when Max needed to take time off we knew he would be the one to call when he decided to do it with us.

4. You're on your eleventh album to date, what can you tell me about this album that hasn't been said about it already?

Jean: It's a long time when we started 20 years ago. Probably before the internet was really popular before, it was a different time back then. We went through years of different technology and music and still can't believe it. When we first started they told us we wouldn't last 5 years with the way music and bands go, the way the industry is and we're still here doing better than ever. I don't how to call it if it was faith or us just being stubborn and stupid, I think we're all happy to be around in this crazy music world. I think being part of this music scene is fun and a ton of great musicians and people out there, meeting them all over the world, to be here in this day and age.

5. Did you get the album you wanted? Is everything on there or were there some things that were just impossible to pull off?

Jean: It's never 100% the way you want it. Art is never really finished it's just released. It has to come to a point of just releasing it otherwise you go insane or you miss deadlines or make choices on finishing stuff. That said, I think everybody gave 200% in the song writing and everyone worked really hard. I have to give it to the vocals sometimes you work 6-8 hours a day and you don't get much done, you have to keep that will alive to do this. I am happy about it and it sounds the way we want to do it and it's at its best and it's a mix of our roots and us as 2014 and I'm very proud of it.

6. You will be heading out on your own headlining tour, with no days off why did you want to go full force with this run?

Jean: When you're out on the road throws you off,  because you get into a zone where you get comfortable having a pattern everyday that you do, when you get the day off it throws everything off balance. I prefer to do it in one shot, with this run we decided to split it in half instead of the one shot we usually do. We're going to do the other parts of the U.S. on the next run in the fall. We wanted to do it this way in one straight shot no days off. When you play for 3-4 weeks in a row you have the energy but when you play 2 months straight you get tired. I think the fans and people coming to the shows deserve their money's worth and if you're tired and not giving it your all so I think doing it this way was the best way to do it.

7. Why did you want this touring cycle to just have you and Aborted only as opposed to the usual amount of acts taking part in a tour?

Jean: We always try to do new things and I think the way we wanted to do this was to find a way to keep the ticket prices as cheap as we could. We wanted to give the local talent a chance to play with us and we are always getting bands asking us if they can play, there's never enough spots on the bill. We don't want to play after 10 bands late at night. We want to keep it at 5 or 6 bands max or if it's just us and Aborted we could have only 3 or 4 bands play. So the promoters for every city was happy with it, they can get their best bands to play the shows, now it's only us and Aborted but the costs are low and at the same time all the local talents get promoted that was the idea. It's a trail run and if it works we will do it again and if it doesn't do great we will do it another way and we're always trying new things.

 8. What can fans expect to hear on this tour? More new songs or old songs?

Jean: We're stoked about the new album and want to play as much as the new stuff as we can. We also have a ton of classic songs and I know our fans want to hear. We're always trying to switch the setlist around for all the tours and the fans who come back hearing the same stuff, so it will be a mix of both. I think there's a lot of the new and the old stuff on this set list to please the people.

9. You guys have yet to release a live CD/DVD combo, when can we expect to see something like that from you guys?

Jean: We released a documentary a few years ago so it's like a DVD of the band's career if the fans want to see the whole story. You see how we choose to do things the way we did, it's 5 hours long so mostly people watch it in parts it's interesting and if you want to check it out it's called "The Iron Will". We did some live stuff in the past and released a live DVD filmed in Germany "Live in Deutschland – The Devastation Begins" that the fans can also check out.

10. While out on the road and doing tours and shows with other acts, how does the road trip work, do you all follow each other on the road in a long train or does everyone go their own way and meet up at their destinations and break stops?

Jean: It depends on the tour we always try to get a tour bus for ourselves because we feel that we have a choice of how you spend your money and how you travel, you can get a van and a driver and spend time in a hotel room every night. Or you can take that budget put it into the tour bus but don't get hotel rooms every night, you get a bed that rolls as you travel while you sleep. You feel fresh each and every day and I think it's smarter to invest your money, so this tour we get the front and Aborted get's the back with the bed's in the middle. We have shared buses with them before so we decided to do it this way. Some bands prefer the vans and I understand that, I can see you want the control and not be stuck with a schedule I think I prefer the bus and we're getting old and it's nice to have our sleep and it's a smarter option for us.

11. Would you guys ever consider releasing any of your material acoustically? IF you guys did go the acoustic route and do a show all acoustic do you think the fans would go?

Jean: I am an artist and experimenting and I think some of our material would translate well acoustically with some of the songs. But I don't see us doing that live or doing a type of thing like that. We're a metal band and it's how we started and how we will die. If we decide to do anything acoustic or orchestral type of direction it will be a different project it would not be called Kataklysm it's not going to be our songs. We worked a long time to find the sound and style we play and will continue pushing with every future album.

12. Anything else you'd like to say or want to add?

Jean: Just a big thank you and thanks for the interview and support. For anyone who wants to check us out we will be out on the road for the next few weeks and if you can't see us you will see us in the fall, check out the new album wherever metal is sold and cheers everybody!

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