Kataklysm - Interview with Maurizio Lacono - 26th June 2005

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Please consider this being a spontanious interview before the Kataklysm gig in Munich, 26th of June 05, so don´t expect any in-depth questions from me! ;-) Just imagine the situation: the whole band sitting in the backyard of the "Metropolis" concert venue under some trees (the only available shadow place near / as it was an extremely hot day), and me between them, having this little chat with Maurizio:

T (= Twilightheart) > Okay, so how is the tour going so far?

M (= Maurizio) > Oh, we just started yesterday at the Metal Camp in Slovenia, so this is the second concert only. This is the second… we have only 10 shows to do in Europe … we are doing the Metal Camp and With Full Force, so we decided to take advantage and doing a small tour around Germany too, because we are not gonna be able to play this year since we are in the studio most of the summer and the fall, so I think we could take the opportunity to come by and say Hello and play a new song too and introduce some of the new material from the next album.

T > What´s the new song called?

M > The new song is called „Crippled and broken”. That´s the song we´re gonna do from the next record.

T > The album is coming out in 2006?

M > Yeah, February, next year.

T > Can you already tell me, if the song is in the same style like the songs from the last album? Or something different or whatever?

M > Kataklysm seems to be a band that reinvents itself with every record, I think. You know it´s us doing the album but at the same time it´s always fresh and new, I think. It´s never a repeat of the record before, you know. This record that`s coming out, it’s not like “Serenity in fire”… it´s gonna have the same intensity but it´s just going to be different. A lot of Thrash influences I think, the way it´s coming out… a very melodic record compared to the last record… I think it´s gonna have a touch of everything we´ve done, but with a lot of fresh air …it´s gonna be an important record for us and it’s the album which has taken the most time to write, you know … and we’re ready and we think we accomplished a very strong record, so we get ready to release it.

T > Why is that the album which took the longest time to write it?

M > When magazines give you 9 out of 10 and 10 out of 10 for 2 albums in a row, it’s hard to beat it, you know… so for the next record I think we have a little bit of pressure, because you know after 7 albums it’s hard to always making a record that`s gonna beat the one before, you know. But we´re not doing it that way. we´re doing a record that we think represents the band the best and I think that we just wanna take our time and do preproductions and we told the label “This time we wanna do it our way” because usually if you want to put a record out in a hurry … you know, this year, they wanted us to release the album this year and I said “No” … you know, we´re gonna take our time and let the people breathe a little bit, and next year when we release it I think it will be a good thing. We released 4 albums in 5 years, so it´s a lot…

T > So, was your label really setting you under pressure?

M > You know, when a band becomes more successful with every album they want more and more and they push and push, and it´s cool, but we don´t want to do too much, you know… let people enjoy what we´ve done so far. A lot of people while “Serenity in fire” and “Shadows and dust” didn´t know the band before, and I think after these 2 records have come out, we made a lot of new fans that now are buying the old albums like “The Prophecy…”, “Epic…”, “Temple of knowledge”, all the old stuff we´ve done. And they are rediscovering the band in a new perspective, and I think releasing a new record right now would be too much for everybody to grasp, you know. So I think it´s cool to let people breathe a little bit and then let them want a new album, you know. I think February next year will be cool, it will be 2 years since our last album.

T > I see. By the way, are you well-known in your home country in the same way as in Europe?

M > In Canada we have always done very well. I mean, it´s our home country. We´re one of the only bands that’ve toured Canada like many times, you know… coast to coast … it´s a very big country, second only to Russia. You have to go from one end of the country to another and very long rides… so… but we’re one of the bands that have done it, so we have a cool fan base in Canada. The US has always been a very difficult market for extreme music in general. But lately… our last record especially has been our biggest selling album there … we´ve toured with Cannibal Corpse there and did a tour with Danzig in February, which was a very strong tour for us and really made the band explode on the stage and it´s now a very important market for Kataklysm. But you know, for us… our home is always Europe and it´s Germany and it’s Austria and it´s Switzerland and all these countries have always treated us very well. For us it’s like a second home coming here, you know.

T > You`ve been touring with Danzig?

M > Yeah, he chose us out of 46 bands.

T > Really?

M > Yeah, he´s a fan of the band and he invited us. It was “Danzig”, us, and “Trivium” and “Eyes of Fire”, and we did the whole US, three and a half weeks.

T > Isn´t Danzig a very complicated person?

M > Not at all. He treated us with nothing but respect. We had a great tour bus which we shared with his crew. And we had nothing but a great time, we played 45 minutes every night. You know, it was great… he wore Kataklysm shirts and it was really weird to see him. But it was great to see that and see how much love he has for Death Metal. And a lot of bands in his status never bring bands like us, you know. And it was really cool to see that, especially in America, you know. It was cool… and also we did a 3 reunion with “Misfits” in Philadelphia, New York and Boston… with Doyle playing guitar and Danzig singing, so that was like a very historical moment for us to be part of that. It was an important tour you know… 1500 or 2000 people every night…  it was incredible.

T > 1500 people... wow!

M > Yeah, a place like Detroit was 2000 people … so… it’s really doing strong.

T > How did the people there react to your music?

M > You know, at the beginning we were a little bit scared because we thought we are a little bit too extreme, maybe… but as soon as we stepped in the crowd received us extremely well. I think a lot of the fans of Danzig are very dark, they like all the dark stuff and we have some very dark melodies in our music and we’ve played more of our melodic stuff instead of playing more of the brutal stuff on that tour, you know, because I think if people are not used to Death Metal, if you´re too extreme right after that, like 10 songs the fans they get a little bit weirded out … but… in our case it was just a great response and it was a very beneficial tour … a very turning point in our carrier I think.

T > And what was your favourite tour in your whole life?

M > I think the most memorable tour I´ve ever done (just because it was my first one) was in 1995 in Europe with “Deicide”, when they released the “Legion” record, just because it was my first tour ever, and I was still like pretty much a little kid, you know… 19 or 20 years old, then going on tour and I couldn´t believe it… like… you know … what I was seeing, you know. It was 14 shows and then going home and I just toured and then I realised I toured and… you know… it was like still being on tour you know… But the best tour we`ve done in the US was definitely Danzig, and my favourite tour in Europe was the Headlining tour in October last year.. it was a very cool tour, all the bands got along and it was really a good amount of people coming every night. It was our first headlining tour in Europe after 12 years and it was just great and I was very happy about that.

T > Aren´t you sick of constantly touring… always in the tourbus and so on… ?

M> Ah, to be honest, I´m a little bit tired lately…. I think all of us are a little bit… and homesick a little bit and now that we have a little bit of break I think after this tour we´ll take the rest of the year off, you know… just writing the record and recording it, and then take a breather and then start to tour again next year. But … 4 albums and touring and touring in between every record is tough, you know, but it´s a necessity in this style of music. 50 % for the bands is doing a record and 50 % is touring… so…for us it´s very important to be on the road, it´s part of Metal, you know.

T > If you can just take the rest of the year off, then you must be able to live very well from the incomes of your music!

M > Yeah, we do. But we all have little jobs we do on the side and just to keep busy. I used to be a promoter in Montreal and do a lot of concerts and stuff. Now I live in Chicago and I live off what I can with the music. You know, me and my wife live together and we have a good set-up where I live. And everybody else has little jobs, but usually the band money is okay. It´s not Metallica… but… you know…so it´s a different situation, but it’s okay… for Death Metal we do okay.

T > I don´t even know of any good Death Metal Scene in your country. Can you recommend any other good bands from overseas?

M > “Martyr” is a very good band from Montreal, it´s a Thrash band, … there´s too many to name. We´ve brought out some great bands like Annihilator and Cryptopsy … we`ve got Gorguts … many bands have made an impact I think, and we keep doing our best, you know.

T > Have you ever thought about moving over to Europe with all your families etc.?

M > There was a little while when we thought about it, especially me and my guitar player, we like it so much here, so we were thinking about moving to Europe. But for us..  where we come from is our home… at the end of the line it´s always our home. No no… for us, it´s where we are for now and it´s cool. I think it makes it more special to come here by plane and playing in a different continent and then living here, being here all the time…I think it´s cool to have that difference of coming back home to a place where it’s different, you know.

T > Are there any other projects you work on? Have you ever thought about doing something different musically?

M > I always wanted to do another project. The problem with me is really timing, you know…. time consuming. This band is taking so much of my time, it´s very hard for me to do anything else. I think everybody maybe wants to do other stuff. We had another project once we started and we worked on it for a couple of years, but it´s just too hard to maintain 2 bands, you know. And we decided to put all our focus on Kataklysm and try to push it as far as we can. We’re going on 15 years together next year, so it´s a long time, you know. And we still wanna push it as much as we can... so we do.

((Maurizio keeps on drinking from his Bavarian beer.))

T > How`s the German beer?

M > It´s good. I don´t know what it is, but it´s good. It feels good tonight.

T > Do you have time for sightseeing here in Munich or somewhere during the tour?

M > I don´t think we will be able to see much tonight, because we have to go to Switzerland tomorrow. And we’re waiting for a Nightliner. We had some problems with our Nightliner … so we`re waiting until 2 am. So maybe after the show.. because we have a couple of hours to spare. Usually when we´re on tour we’re doing some sightseeing during the day, but we arrived a little bit late today, so… we won`t do much in Munich tonight.

T > Very unfortunate! (Munich is beautiful!) How was it yesterday at the Metal Camp?

M > Very cool. Obituary and Soulfly played yesterday, it was really cool. We had a good time.

T > What are your favourite bands?

M > I listen to so many bands … I listen to so many different things, you know, I listen to a lot of Rock … and to a lot of Metal. It´s really difficult for me to really pinpoint one band, but Slayer has always been a big favourite for me, you know. And I think every Metal band you will talk to will tell you “Slayer”…. makes me unoriginal in that sense but they’re our forefathers and just sell the music.

T > What would you do, if you couldn´t make music anymore one day?

M > I´m studying for the Police Force right now, Law Enforcement in college… that`s what I´m doing….

T > Police?

M > In the future… there is no pension in Metal, you know. You don´t get any money out of it when you finish your carrier. So I´m just studying for the future to do something in Law Enforcement in the states.

T > Okay… to come to an end… is there anything you wanna say to your fans in your forum?

M > In the Kataklysm forum?

T > Yes.

M > Just that: we´re glad that they come and visit us once in a while and put their opinions, and anytime they have a question to ask me I will answer them… no problem. I´m not just a person that doesn´t say nothing. As they’ve seen before: if they have questions about the band and it´s cool, I´m always available for any of the questions and I´m really happy to see people that support us and have been behind us for so many years in all different parts of the world… it’s really cool to see that. We have such great fans.

T > Okay, then thank you very much for taking out time. 

M > Thank you…

T > See you…


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