Anders Nyström – Katatonia ‘Hearts of Darkness’

Swedish prog-metalers Katatonia are heading down under for a very metal Christmas for their first ever headliner. With a back catalogue spanning a quarter of a century, the band will be showcasing a wide range of music for eager fans.

With an interesting history, we spoke with guitarist, Anders Nyström to discuss latest album, The Fall of Hearts, released back in May of this year, as well as details of jamming with Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt, who even played for Katatonia some time ago. Nyström also alludes to the awkwardness of playing on a diverse bill in Australia a while ago too; take a look at what else he had to say below:

Is it challenging for the band to organise touring to places so far away in the world like Australia from a logistical point of view?

Well, we can’t go full production of course. When doing any kind of fly-in gigs we have to cut down on pieces of gear we’d normally use on a normal headliner tour where we have a bus and a trailer, but still, we’re used to this scenario as all the summer festivals are done this way, so we’re doing our best to make sure the qualifications are in line with the expectations.

Will the band be visiting Asian countries as well in December? If so, where to?

Nope, just Australia this time. We still have many Asian countries to tick off off our list of places to go and play, especially Japan which we, believe it or not, still haven’t visited. Hopefully we’ll find our way there someday?

Back in the day you guys visited Australia was for No Sleep Til Fest back in 2010. That was a one-off festival that never returned but it was actually a pretty cool set up – what were some of your highlights of that tour?

Yeah, we were there more recently while supporting Opeth back in 2013, but the ’No Sleep Til’ fest was the first time we ever played Australia and we even got the chance to play New Zealand too! I guess the festival was pretty cool, but musically it was all over the place and this mishmash of styles and that entourage made us feel like outsiders, but we did our best to showcase what we’re about in those 30 mins we got to play in the scorching daylight. 

Of course, this time around it will be a headline tour and therefore a longer set, is it a lot easier to make a setlist when you have a much longer timeslot to fill?

Yes much easier. Obviously when touring for a new album you wanna feature a big chunk of songs off that album, but you always have to include the classics aaaand you also wanna throw in surprises and play some rare songs, so you need at least 90 minutes to get all this in. 

You guys have released a stellar album called The Fall of Hearts back in May. Will many of those tracks be making the setlist on the upcoming tour – or after releasing 10 albums do you tend to put more of a focus on the back catalogue?

I think we’re currently playing 3-4 songs off the new album, I’d wish it to be a handful, but not more than that ’cause you still have to make room for the old “classics” that belong to any setlist and what people really are expecting to hear us play. 

Opeth have just released a fantastic new album and we know that Mikael Åkerfeldt actually was a part of Katatonia for a while? Do you stay in touch with the band, and what do you think of their new album Sorceress?

I’ve been playing some songs while we hang out backstage. I love it! It’s such a ride! I mean there’s a lot to take in and digest, but I’m working my way through it. Mike and the boys will always be dear friends of mine, we always supported each other. 

Sweden is renowned for so many incredible bands in the world of metal, who are some of the younger bands that the rest of the world should be looking out for in the near future?

Well obviously Ghost already ”made it”, but they’re probably one of the best newcoming bands from over here. There’s prob a bunch more, but my mind is blank. 

Will you guys be bringing any bands down under for your Australian tour in December?

No we’re just picking local supports from down there. Different acts for every show though.

Finally, what can Australian fans expect from the upcoming tour?

5 guys from Sweden playing as many fan favorites as time allows for!

Interview by Ricky Aarons (rickysaul90)

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