Interview With Katafalk's Guitarist, Christiaan
Interview By Luxi Lahtinen
The Dutch metal scene has always been strong and productive over the years, and in my
opinion, that country has produced some of the best Death Metal bands during the last
decade or so. Now I´m of course referring to bands like Pestilence, Asphyx, God
Dethroned, and Gorefest. One of the better newcomers that should be added to this
ever-growing line of very promising Dutch extreme Metal act - Katafalk, whose debut album
STORM OF THE HORDE just came out on Cold Blood Industries, and has already gained a lot of
positive attention in the media, due to its highly energetic, tight and downright brutal
Death/Thrash Metal. I got a chance to talk to the band´s guitarist Christiaan. Let´s
just cut this short and let the man do the talking and explain more who they are and when
they will come and conquer your peaceful - yet relatively quiet reconnaissance next.
First off, try to remember what are the three latest Death Metal albums you have
been listening to lately? (not counting your band´s album) What kind of reasons made you
to listen to just those particular albums in the first place?
The albums I have been listening to lately are: The Haunted - ONE KILL WONDER,
Defleshed - ROYAL STRAIGHT FLESH and Dissection - LIVE LEGACY. Why? Those albums came out
not so long ago, plus they are great albums of course!!
So, how would you compare your album to those aforementioned three releases as far
as your music is concerned?
STORM OF THE HORDE contains quite a few similar elements. And no matter what you call
it: Death, Thrash or Black - it's all 100% metal!! So if you like those albums check our
album out, too.
Katafalk was started some time around in 1995. When you started this band, did you
have a clear vision about Katafalk´s musical direction how you wanted this band to sound?
Or would you rather say - due to some natural musical progression within the band - this
band´s music turned out a bit different than you originally expected?
Of course I had ideas how we should sound, and some of those "rules" still
count. First of all, I wanted it to be metal the way it's supposed to be. Not to be
old-fashioned or conservative, but I just hate that MTV crap if you know what I mean.
Secondly, the songs should be real songs, not just a bunch of riffs piled together. A song
needs killer riffs, good melody lines and strong choruses. This counted for the old
material as well as for the new material. But I guess you can say there's always gonna be
some kind of progression over the years. You'll never know what to expect right from the
What bands influenced your music in the beginning, and how much did these
influences & inspirations change for the band in general?
Katafalk always had influences from multiple styles like Death, Thrash, Black, and
Traditional Metal. On our first demo you could clearly hear a lot of Heavy Metal
influences. After some line-up changes, the general interest of the band members turned
into faster and more brutal stuff. Some of my influences came from Iron Maiden, Slayer,
Dark Angel, Morbid Angel, Dissection, Emperor etc.
What reasons made you sign a deal with Cold Blood Industries in the first place?
What matters made their deal more tempting compared to some other offers you had received
from other labels?
Cold Blood Industries is run by Henri Sattler of God Dethroned. We did a little tour
with God Dethroned and Henri showed interest. CBI was the first to offer us a decent
contract. Before that we had recorded a three track promo which we had sent out to labels,
with no real results except for some decent ´thanks, but no thanks´ letters from labels
like Relapse and Osmose.
Was there something specific in your search for an ideal record company that you
were looking for before signing a contract with them?
CBI is a quality label with a great distribution worldwide, plus their office is right
in our hometown Groningen, so they are perfect for us. They are reliable people who do
their work excellently. We also got a plenty promotion from them. We did a lot of
interviews and were featured in every respectable metal magazine.
As for the songwriting of Katafalk, could you tell to our readers what are the
hardest parts to get both music and lyrics done for the band? To find those two or three
main yet killer riffs for songs, or come up with good enough lyrics for them?
The lyrics are always added when the music is finished. Of course they have to be good
and fit into the music well. About songwriting, only good riffs are to be used for our
songs, and only good songs are to be used for our albums. Since it took some time before
we got offered a record deal, there were no worries about not having enough songs.
Most of your music has been written by Christiaan, and the lyrics by Wokkel. Why
don´t other guys contribute both music and lyric writing for the band that much?
Wouldn´t be easier for the band if everyone took part in the process?
The others simply don't write that much and I always did. Around the time of the 2001,
promo bass player Jurjen wrote songs too, but he left the band cause he wanted to play
other kind of music. There are two of his songs on the album and he also helped us out on
bass for the album. Our new bass player Henk wrote the music for the song STORM OF THE
When you work with a new song for the band, are there any specific things in a song
you would like to pay more attention to for some reason or other? In which areas you could
say you are very good at when talking about songwriting in general? Could you claim that
you have extraordinary sharp ears for killer riffs or chorus parts? What are your best
parts in this particular process? Feel free to use any superlatives about your song
writing skills along with your answer now.
Yeah, killer riffs and strong choruses - that's what really does it. Also catchy song
structures and decent melody lines are important to us. No cheap or boring stuff. Like in
any kind of music, any song just has to be a good song. Every part of it has to be both
exciting and functional.
What are some songwriters that have been very inspirational and influential for you
during all these past years, and that have even influenced what Katafalk is all about
nowadays musically? And what about some good lyricists that have had some impact on your
style to write lyrics for the band?
I like well-structured songwriting of the classic Heavy Metal bands like Iron Maiden, a
riff-laden songwriting and intensity of Thrash bands like Slayer and Dark Angel, the dark
melody lines of Morbid Angel and Dissection etc. What I know of Wokkel´s lyrics are that
most of them are taken from real life - that's where he gets his inspiration from.
If you should describe Katafalk to someone in a few words, by what words you would
use in this particular description?
Killer Death/Thrash, fast and brutal raging metal or something like that, is what we
usually use to describe it. It's funny that everyone seems to label our music differently.
Some say it's pure Thrash, others say it's straight Death Metal, while even some others
tend to call it Black Metal. I guess there's a bit of everything in it.
Would you describe as a typical Katafalk rehearsal situation? How is it actually
like? Lots of intense and hard rehearsing, or just a more tension-free event - basically
just a relaxed jamming?
We arrive to our rehearsal place and get our gear ready. Usually, Michiel's
drum kit is
already set up when we arrive. We tune guitars, check the sound, goof around a bit to play
warm and then blast off some songs of our set, currently consisting of our entire debut
album. When we have done enough of that we work on new songs.
You are quite an experienced live band already. You have already done a number of
gigs with such established names as God Dethroned, Thanatos, Sinister, Hypnosia and
Occult. Do you consider Katafalk more as a live band than a studio band? Do you believe
your songs actually sound better in a live situation compared to a sound you can create in
a studio environment? What are some of your personal favorite songs to play live and why
do you like to do them more live than possibly the rest of the songs indeed?
Many people consider Katafalk as a great live band and that's quite flattering to hear.
I guess our music is great for both playing and seeing/hearing live. I don't know if the
songs sound even better live, but seeing us in a live situation you get our total show
which involves a lot of sheer headbanging and thrashing! Actually, we recorded many parts
of the album live in the studio which explains the live feel of it.
"Cannonfodder" is an overall favorite as it's a great song to play live.
What are some of the best venues to play in your area where you live? And are these
venues mainly specialized to book mostly metal bands, or could you see them more like as
ordinary Rock clubs instead?
Where I live (Groningen, NL) there's the famous Vera venue. A lot of
foreign bands play there - not only metal, but also (mostly) underground Rock bands as
well. Other cool places in Holland are venues called 013 in Tilburg and
Baroeg in Rotterdam.
I was going through your website just recently and noticed that lots of gigs have
already been booked this year. Especially playing at quite a few festivals this year. Are
there some particular gigs or festivals that you really look forward to participate this
year, and can you tell what makes them so special for you in the first place?
All festivals are really special I guess. We will play at the Noordschok
-festival (NL) with Entombed, then at the With a Dragon's Blaze festival (B)
with Mörk Gryning, at Obscene Extreme (CZ) with Macabre and at Party
San Open Air (D) with lots of great bands (Malevolent Creation, Marduk, Vader,
Behemoth, Naglfar, Dimension Zero etc). But also the small Dutch Stongehenge
festival is special to us as we often visit it ourselves.
As many surely consider Katafalk as a hard gigging band, I was just wondering how
hard it is for you to fit all these gigs into your own personal timetables? Do all of you
have your daily jobs? I guess you always cannot accept every gig opportunity that is
offered to you. Am I right?
We try to do every possible gig we can get. We even did underpaid gigs far away from
our hometown just to get our name to be spred a bit more. That's one of the ways to become
more known and successful. Of course we all have our daily jobs and activities, but if
necessary we just take a day off in favor of the band.
What´s the most memorable gig you have done so far and with what band (or bands)?
And are there some bands that you´d like to hit the road with some day?
The gig with God Dethroned at the Vera venue in our hometown Groningen was
really special. It was one of the last gigs of that little tour. We got an offer for the
record deal after this gig. Another great gig was our recent CD release party - also in
our hometown Groningen, but this time at the Simplon club. We entered the
stage with the intro of "Empty Life" and had fireworks as high as the ceiling
when blasting into the song. That tragical burning accident happened at the gig of The
Great White concert in the States only a couple of days later... As for dream tours: An US
tour with Slayer would be really great, but touring with a band like Malevolent Creation
would also be very cool.
What will you personally expect from yourself in the future as a member of Katafalk?
I mean, have you made any goals for yourself that you will try to reach as a musician and
a member of this band?
My main goal with Katafalk is to make same damn good metal and spread it!
Talking about expectations a bit more, what kind of expectations or hopes do you
have toward Katafalk on the map of Death Metal? Obviously one of your main goals is to
establish Katafalk as one of the leading forces here in Europe first, and then trying to
become recognized a bit outside of Europe as well, correct?
Well that would be really nice! We haven't been playing abroad until now, but this year
we finally will.
Are there some specific countries that you would like to see Katafalk doing some
gigs in the future? And do these countries have some following for a band like Katafalk is
We receive fan mail from lots of different countries like Germany, Belgium, France,
Portugal, Brazil, Japan, Korea and the U.S.A. . It would be great to be touring all those
Could you tell us something about the new material you have done after the songs on
STORM OF THE HORDE? What kind of a musical direction have some of these songs taken when
comparing these songs to some of your older stuff? As I suppose, you probably are heading
toward more aggressive, more brutal and heavier things all the time with your new
There's already some stuff written and it's aggressive, melodic, technical and brutal.
Maybe we'll do some more epic parts for some of our songs, too. We´ll see
Holland has always been known for its strong Death Metal scene over the years.
Pestilence, Asphyx, God Dethroned, Sinister, Gorefest, Thanatos, Severe Torture, are only
a few names off your great Death Metal scene. So, could you give us a reason or two for
the fact why you have so many talented and successful, particularly Death Metal bands
coming for the Netherlands? You must have something special in your water down there,
Indeed, we do have something in our water down here! Actually, we call it
´Netherwater´ and it's really special because we live below a sea-level. That's our big
secret... Nah, just kiddin'!! We're proud of our strong metal scene and great bands in the
past, that's why we do our share and keep the flame burning!
What could be your ultimate goal you would like to achieve with this band in the
future, besides this usual ´fame & fortune´ thing, of course, -HA!
To grow as musicians, have a great time and spread the word of metal of course!
I want to sincerely thank you for the time you sacrificed for making this interview
happen. Thanks again, and all the best both for you and for the band as well. May the last
comments be yours now
Thanks a lot for this interview and hails to Metal-Rules.com! Listen to STORM OF THE
HORDE; drink beer and bang your heads! Visit our shows and check out our website
www.katafalk.com for info! Cheers to all!!
Band Website: www.katafalk.com
Katafalk - Storm
of the Horde