In the Halloween issue of Metal Maniacs, KATATONIA guitarist Anders Nyström discusses the band's "Live Consternation" release and the perception of vocalist Jonas Renske as a "reluctant frontman." Excerpts follow.
Metal Maniacs: Was there a point where you guys said, "Screw it, we got to get KATATONIA on the road?"
Anders Nyström: We definitely had the aspect of being on the road in our minds when we wrote the last two albums, for sure.
Metal Maniacs: Do you wish you would've put KATATONIA on the road sooner?
Anders Nyström: Sure, but I don't think we were ready at that time. We didn't get a proper lineup until 1999, and then we needed some years to find an identity as performers, which we have now. But [we] will improve continuously.
Metal Maniacs: Jonas was/is a reluctant frontman, but from recent live shows and the DVD, it seems he's pretty comfortable being the center of attention. What was that journey like for him?
Anders Nyström: Well, it must be hard sometimes for Jonas to sing his heart out with lyrics referring to personal dark and depressive matters and at the same time also be accused of being a reluctant frontman. I actually think much of the stuff he sings about doesn't go in hand with running around on stage, throwing horns, smiling and firing up the audience. We're not an energetic power metal band. I think the withdrawn and shy aura actually does more justice to the concept of our songs than going wild, but we have some songs mainly on the two last albums that don't really fall into the doom and gloom category, but are still dark. And there the more aggressive approach fits better.
Metal Maniacs: Do you think the rest of the guys went through similar experiences?
Anders Nyström: Yes, I think they all reacted to the criticism pointed towards KATATONIA being sometimes too boring and too withdrawn on stage, but surely they've been developing themselves through their own experience as artists as well.
Metal Maniacs: What about you? What lessons have being on the road and playing on stage taught you?
Anders Nyström: I've always enjoyed being on stage rocking out from day one. I never felt I held anything back, which sometimes has even backfired on me as I got blamed for abandoning the identity of KATATONIA, which I don't want to do. When I'm on stage I do the things I do with a passion. It's not some gimmick going on. It's from the heart.
The Metal Maniacs Halloween special issue will be out October 23.