Kataklysm – Guitarist J-F (Jean-Francois Dagenais)
Interviewed on July 8th, 2008 by EvilG
Questions by EvilG and Lord of the Wasteland
At the beginning of the 90’s a band emerged from Quebec, Canada with the often quoted goal of many a young band – “to be the heaviest and fastest band ever”! After pretty much attaining that goal, and maturing, they realized what would create longevity would be their song writing. Over the years the band’s sound evolved while still maintaining elements of their “northern hyperblast” along with more grooving and thrashy material.
Still unarguably an extreme metal band, Kataklysm unleashed their latest album PREVAIL in May of 2008. I spoke with the band’s guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais (or as he referred to himself as “J-F”) about the bands current Summer Slaughter tour which is making it’s way around North America. We also touched on the Montreal Québec scene which has spawned many a great metal band, selling out, his “love” of show-off guitar solos (ha), etc.
To hear the complete interview
use the embedded media player below.
What is one of the best things about being on a big tour like the Summer Slaughter and what is one of the worst things about being on such a large tour?
The thing I don’t like about these big tours is that there is so many bands and there is gear laying around everywhere. We’re playing some big clubs, but some smaller clubs as well. When you get to a small place and there’s barely enough space to fit everyone’s gear, that’s pretty rough and you feel like you are stepping over everybody’s toes or something like that. But the good side is that the parties are amazing, there’s so many people to party with afterwards. It’s just a great time of hanging out.
Do you get to watch the other bands on tour or do you prefer more quiet time before you play?
I do watch some of them but I won’t stand there all day because you get kinda tired at the end of the day form watching everybody then you have to go on and play. I’ll pick a different band every day to go and see. One night I’ll go see Vader, another Cryptopsy or Despised Icon, or I’ll pick a different one and see a couple of bands every day. Just to feel the vibe of the place and see how things are going.
In the past, Kataklysm has been referred to as “Northern Hyperblast”. I wonder if you still think that is an accurate tag. I guess the infatuation with playing really fast with blast beats has lessened a little bit over time. You have more varied stuff like for example take the song “Taking The World By Storm” which has a nice mid-paced groove going on. So do you think “Northern Hyperblast” is an appropriate description or is it only for historical reasons that you keep it?
We’re still just ourselves and an extreme band. Of course we’ve added so much more to our music. I feel we were more of a one-dimension type of band before and now we have many more elements in there. I think if you see Kataklysm live, we are still an extreme band. We don’t deny our roots, that’s where we are coming from. We will always keep that element within our music. I think the northern hyperblast thing came from a guy from a magazine that gave us that name a long time ago and we’ve kept it since then. It was like drastic for speed. I prefer hyper – speed, blast, power… The northern part, well we are from Canada. It described one of our old records and it was a cool title to keep.
So what are your thoughts on the new musical direction taken by your fellow Quebec veterans, Cryptopsy?
I recently listened to the album to see what the whole controversy was about. In all honesty I thought the record was decent. To me it’s not the best material they’ve done but it wasn’t that bad. I don’t think it deserved all the backlash that fans gave them. For sure I think the song with the singing, I wouldn’t have done them if I were in their shoes because I don’t think it really fits the extreme metal genre. But I don’t think it’s a bad record. I think people should go see them live. They are actually doing good on this tour and I’m proud of them seeing them go on stage everyday and do this. As people see it live they probably will be back on their feet really quickly.
The complete interview (~25mins) is available in audio format from the media player at the top of this page. Listen to the interview to hear his thoughts on the question, “What do you think when fans or critics say that your own band has sold out?” along with much more……