KATAKLYSM Frontman On Bands Who Drastically Change Their Sound: 'It's Not Cool For The Fans Who Have Been Following You All These Years'

February 17, 2019

Alex Haber of Heavy New York conducted an interview with frontman Maurizio Iacono of Montreal, Quebec, Canada melodic death metallers KATAKLYSM prior to their January 11 concert at Gramercy Theater in New York City. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the touring cycle for their latest studio album, "Meditations":

Maurizio: "[It's been] good. We started really strong in Europe. It's been one of KATAKLYSM's strongest markets. We went out supporting the record there first. It was phenomenal. It was sold-out shows after the other. It was really good. We were with our friends and brothers in HYPOCRISY. It was a really good tour together. We are now starting to get into the U.S. part of it. Unfortunately, we couldn't do the whole SOULFLY tour because my wife is expecting, so she's holding on for dear life until I get home because she's this big right now. It's anticipated it's coming earlier, so I had to cancel the last week of the tour. Other than that, this is the first tour for 'Meditations' in the U.S. We're really happy to be here. It's been good so far."

On whether KATAKLYSM sticks to a formula when writing a new album or takes a new approach every time:

Maurizio: "There's always going to be a base to everything. KATAKLYSM's has always had its own identity regarding that, but we've never treated an album the same. We've never been 'This is what we have to do.' It's more of like how do we feel? What worked and didn't work? It's an acknowledgment of your career pretty much every time we come in. At the same time, we don't want to change anything. We've been around for so long and there's a reason we've been here for so long. We want to keep that going and we want to keep our fans satisfied. I know exactly how fans feel if you take a 360 [sic] change and you completely change the sound just because you want to. It's not cool for the fans who have been following you all these years and having that formula that they like about you. I think you take it with a grain of salt. You want to throw out some surprises and do some new things. KATAKLYSM is KATAKLYSM the way it is. I think we're going to try and perfect what we do as much as we can."

On whether there has been a time when his lyrics have determined the composition of a KATAKLYSM song:

Maurizio: "A perfect example of that is a song called 'Shadows And Dust'. We wrote it a long time ago; it's one of our biggest 'hits'. I don't like to say that word, but in death metal, it's whatever. We wrote the entire song around the chorus, so it was one of those things where I had an idea and I was like, 'Look, I want to do this. I want to come in with 'Shadows And Dust' and boom!' Everybody's, like, 'Okay, cool.' Everything got written around it. Sometimes it's the opposite. We don't have a formula per se. It's really about the feeling. Sometimes the music is there and I got the ideas on top of what we're doing. Sometimes the opposite and I'm going to have an idea and we're going to work around it. It's always different."

On whether he likes to leave his lyrics "open to interpretation" or there's a message behind them:

Maurizio: "I leave it open to interpretation, but I do have a message behind everything I do. KATAKLYSM has a very strong connection with its fanbase. We've never been a big media band. We're not always in the media, like 'This is what I'm eating right now.' We're not that type of band. We've come to learn about that and part of us really accepts that and likes that, like that we don't have that type of thing, but we do have this connection. When I write a lyric, they know that I'm dealing with something that's kind of personal, either it happened to me, happened to my guys, happened to us. It's open to interpretation to whatever is going on out there. It's very important to us, this aspect, because I think I have to write about something that matters to me. Everyday life to me matters. It's not about 'Satan's here! We're burning!' It's like, 'Alright. What after?' I think I'm not about a fantasy type of literature when it comes to writing music. Some bands, that's what they thrive on and some of them have a political angle to it. They're talking about Satan, but they have a political angle to it, or whatever, butchering babies. Everybody got their thing. But for KATAKLYSM, it's more of an everyday struggle because we've struggled like that as a band, also. We've never been accepted with everything, it's always been a fight. It reflects in our music and our lyrics. Yeah, it definitely has an underlying message, always. But we leave it open because sometimes I say something and it means something else. Example, 'Manipulator Of Souls' that we did back in the day. For me, it meant something. Somebody else came to me and said 'You saved my life. I was addicted to heroin and it manipulated me to my core. Your lyrics pulled me out.' Even if I don't credit myself to any of that, I think if the lyrics are helping the person, they already have the fight in them, they just don't know they have it. Maybe that will help them come out. To me, that's mission accomplished. I'm super happy with that."

"Meditations" was released last June 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".

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