KATAKLYSM Guitarist On 'Meditations' Album: 'I Feel Like We're Back Stronger Than Ever'

March 25, 2018

Josh Rundquist of That Drummer Guy recently conducted an interview with guitarist Jean-François Dagenais of Montréal, Quebec, Canada-based melodic death metallers KATAKLYSM. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On the band's forthcoming new studio album, "Meditations":

Jean-François: "I'm stoked about this album. We all worked together for this one. We haven't done this in a long time because we all live in different cities, so what happens, we all pitch in ideas through, like, our own home studio and Internet and stuff and a lot of Skype sessions. That's how we did the last few albums, but this one, we actually all got together in one room and just worked together as a band. I think that's what did it for this record. The magic came out this way."

On the collaborative process behind "Meditations":

Jean-François: "It's like that vibe. Someone comes in with a great idea and then the other guy will jump on it and just pitch in something else or bring it to some other places. It's just great to be able to go back and forth like that and very quickly because, some of those songs were written so fast because of it. They were pitching ideas at each other and just like 'Wow! Yeah, we have a song!' [Laughs] It was great. For sure, I think that's the way I want to go and just write together. I think all bands should try to do that more and more. In this modern day and age, I see the appeal of working long-distance like that with a computer and everything, but, I feel it's the better way to go with everybody together, one room, like the old days and just jam."

On how he would describe his own playing on "Meditations":

Jean-François: "Me, it feels like…it felt like on the last previous records, the last couple of albums we did before that, we were getting in the mode where we were like 'Okay, it's almost become somewhat of an office job.' In that you're like 'Okay, we're going to put out a record. We're going to tour and do this. Okay, we got to write another album.' The cycle just became so repetitive and work-like, almost. On this record, it didn't feel like that to me. It felt like everybody wanted to do this and wanted to bring the energy back to what it should be playing in a band. That's the one thing I've noticed on this process on this record. I feel that we're back stronger than ever and we just want to be kids playing in a band and let go a little bit of the business side that sometimes takes over because it's your job, you want to pay the bills, but it doesn't feel like that to me on this album. So, that's a nice thing."

On whether "Meditations" represents a "rejuvenated" KATAKLYSM:

Jean-François: "Oh yeah. I was excited when Maurizio [Iacono, vocals] brought the title ideas to the table because I was, like, 'Man, this is refreshing!' It feels like it all makes sense to me, the lyrics work well with the music and it's quite meaningful and it makes sense to me as a older metalhead. Lyrics are still relevant for me in my life versus sometimes, I'll listen to some other stuff and I'm like, 'Man, it's cool for a teenager, but for a young adult like we are in KATAKLYSM, it's not relevant to me personally.' I feel this album does that, the way we wrote the lyrics, it's really interesting for me as well."

On working with Jay Ruston (ANTHRAX, STONE SOUR),who handled mixing duties:

Jean-François: "It was kind of a gamble for us because you never know because our music is so extreme and needs a certain type of process to it, to be able to be delivered right and we weren't sure if going with a guy like Jay Ruston, who is more of a traditional heavy metal/rock producer, that it could work. We all knew that, 'Okay, if this works, it's going to be really awesome. If it doesn't, it could be such a mistake.' No, it wasn't. We got our mixes and we were, like, 'Fuck yeah!' All of us together. We made the right call there and it was perfect. But, we worked really hard on the tracking, me and Oli [Beaudoin, drums]. We spent months on recording the drums and guitars and the bass tracks and making sure Maurizio delivers the right energy with the vocals. We really polished the thing and we sent it to Jay Ruston and he totally brought it up to another level. So, that's really exciting."

"Meditations" is due in June via Nuclear Blast. The 10-song disc was produced by Dagenais and Beaudoin and was mixed by 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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