By Jonathan Matthews
We chat with the multi-talented Jean-Francois Dagenais (or JF for short) from the Canadian band Kataklysm, he’s not just the guitarist for an amazing metal band though, but is also an award winning producer and engineer who specializes in the rock and metal genres. His band Kataklysm’s latest album MEDITATIONS was just released at the end of last year via Nuclear Blast Records and they are coming down to Australia super soon, touring with friends HYPOCRISY, so it’s going to be a bloody heavy time… especially for those in the mosh pit!
SR. We’re here to chat about your band Kataklysm, you guys are heading down to Australia pretty soon right?
Yeah, we’re very excited about it, it’s been almost 5 or 6 years since we’ve been there so we’re honored to be able to come back and play some more shows for the new album MEDITATIONS, we’re looking forward to delivering a high impact show!
SR.I have to ask man, you’re only playing two shows… what’s up with that?
It’s such a long way for 2 shows but that’s how it was organized, we always go with the flow and wish to play more but if its only 2 shows, we’ll take it and make the most of it. The last time we were there we had 5 shows scheduled and this time around I guess it’s a different promoter, we’re doing those 2 shows in Australia then were flying straight to Japan and doing shows there so it’s like a week straight of shows for us.
SR. Is it likely you will get back to Australia within the next couple of years and perform in the other states?
Hopefully, we always try. It’s depending on whoever wants to get us there, if there’s a promoter out there that wants us we will be there for sure.
SR. You mentioned after your tour here in May you’re going straight to Japan…
Yes, that’s a part of this tour were doing, we started in Europe. We started the year up with Hypocrisy then we did a US tour with Soulfly, we’re doing the Australian / Japan dates, after that we keep going and have some festivals in the summer and then some more touring in the fall.
SR. So you’re touring with Hypocrisy all the way through?
Yeah, most tours with them. It was something we agreed on before we released the record, we’ve been touring together since back in the day twenty or so years ago we’ve been good friends with them since then and always remained friends over the years.
SR. So you met while on tour back in the day?
Yeah the first time we toured with Hypocrisy was 20 years ago or something like that, also I’m a sound engineer and I did live sound for Hypocrisy on a couple of tours so I know them like that as well.
SR. You’re a guitarist as well, I did want to ask you about what sort of guitars and equipment you use?
I’m currently using ESP guitars; baritone guitars. Because of the lower tuning, they help keep the guitars in tune and you can keep that B note very in tune, that’s important to me, the pickups I have been using are ESP EMG pickups which I really like, their classic, but lately I’ve been using Fishman pickups, they are like active pickups but they sound like they’re not, so it’s kind of a good cross between active and passive. Equipment wise I’m a big fan of Kemplar amps because you can modify everything, that’s what I’ve been using for touring, I created my own profile and use my Mesa Boogie cabinet, that’s my sound basically.
SR. Who are your biggest influences as a guitarist?
As a guitar player I’m a big fan of all kinds of different players. I could mention Dimebag (Pantera), he’s a big influence on me & Steven Carpenter from the Deftones, I really like his stuff.
SR. What are your plans for your next album?
Well now we are going to tour a lot, this year and next year, when all that has been said and done and we’ve been around the world a few timesI know the guys are eager to write some music, and we already have some ideas…
SR. Any changes in production and to songwriting processes lately?
We kind of have a formula going as of to how we do things but, regarding the songwriting, on this record, the thing we did different was that we were in the same room together writing songs as a band, we haven’t done that for a while, the reason why is simple, we all live in different cities so it is really hard for us to get together and write music. It’s so much easier to go back and forth in bouncing ideas online so I think it helped the writing process and helped us get a good vibe for the songs.
SR. You have some music videos out for “OUTSIDER” and “THEN I SAW BLOOD” are you going to have any more music videos being released for tracks off MEDITATIONS?
We were thinking about doing a few things things live, we’re playing some really big shows coming up, so we will be filming clips from those shows but so far there’s not really any plans, were going to roll with the punches regarding that and see what happens. It will be cool to release more for sure.
SR. If you could collaborate with any artist alive or dead who?
To be honest I love to collaborate with people out of the box and not even playing the genre were playing like an old blues man out of the 50s I think it would be great to collaborate with someone like that, even like a folk person, it would be cool to see what we could come up with, with someone like that.
SR. Were there any final messages for your fans looking forward to seeing you here down under?
We keep receiving amazing messages from Australia on social media and we’re really looking forward to being there and finally playing for you guys again and to play those new songs live, thank you so much for your support.
Don’t miss KATAKALYSM on tour in May down under for 2 shows only! Well worth the road trip wherever you are in Australia! Check out their latest album MEDITATIONS too if you haven’t already!