Interview: Kataklysm guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais

Thanks to Riot Entertainment, we got the chance to interview guitarist Jean-Francois Dagenais from the Canadian death metal band Kataklysm ahead of their visit to Australia next week for a full headline tour.

SR. Just to start, the obvious question is how are you guys feeling about coming to tour Australia in just a few days?

JFDagenaisJFD. We are very stoked! It’s our second time coming to Australia, we’ve been there in 2007 and ever since we’ve wanted to come back but didn’t have the chance. Now with this new record we are starting the world tour with Australia and we are very happy about it and we’re very looking forward to the shows and meet everyone again. One of the things I remember of Australia last time is having BBQs with everybody having BBQs outside, that was great….looking forward to that, we meet so many cool people last time…it’s going to be great. Looking forward to playing new songs in our new show, that is exciting too, cannot wait to see how the new songs are going to turn out live as it’s the first time we are play them.

SR.for this new album you guys worked with Zeus from Haterbreed, who was the producer and engineer, so how different was it to work with him?

JFD. I think always try to push yourself a little more and we wanted to keep our roots and our sound, but at the same time I think with this album we stepped a little bit outside our comfort zone a little bit outside the box and he brought a lot of new elements to the table and Ollie our new drummer brought a lot of new things to the table and we worked very hard on the songs and song writing to make it interesting and relevant for this day and age in music and that was really our goal with this record so we worked super hard and are really happy with the results.

SR. Did you guys recorded at your studio or at a different studio?

JFD. it’s the same studio, we recorded everything ourselves so I own my studio and we recorded everything as usual but we had Zeus mixing the record at Massachusetts and that was the first time he did the mixing part and I think he did a really incredible job, we’re really happy and it doesn’t sound too clean but doesn’t sound too muddy either it’s just the perfect balance of everything.

SR.You guys now have Ollie on drums, how hard was it to find a new drummer for the band, was it a long process or you had Ollie in mind from day one?

poster_kataklysmJFD. actually it wasn’t really that hard to find a new drummer, from the moment we announce that Max wasn’t going to be on the new album with is we had a lot of phone calls from great drummers out there we wanted to do it with Ollie because we already played shows with him in the past and we knew how good he is and we didn’t want the new album to affected by say like a super star drummer coming in the band and taking all the focus away from the music so Ollie was the perfect guy for that and he’s from the same area of Canada as us and we speak the same language and it just made sense so that’s why we chose him and so far we are happy with the results and we looking forward to play live with him more and he’s fitting really well in with the band and were are really looking forward to the upcoming shows are going to turn out.

SR.You have been a long time producer, so if you look back to day one, how do you think the band has evolved today?

JFD. I mean everything you do as a musician or as a band, like when you start you always do your best, at the beginning you have a lot of heart and a lot of soul, but we weren’t very good musicians we just add variety to do what we do and I think that’s what got the attention of the world media and the metal scene in general in the beginning but with the years we grew as to become better musicians and better song writers and play your instrument as well and I think it shows I’ve had like a 20 year career and almost the same guys playing together I think like it’s an experience you can’t really get anywhere else and I think as a band we create much better at what we do and it shows in the new album and I think you can definitely hear like a 20 year work on this new record and it’s very rewarding for us.

SR. Speaking of Waiting for the End to Come, what’s your favourite song and why?

JFD. I think my favourite track on this new record is the opening track Fire, it was one of the first songs I wrote for the record and somehow it stuck and I knew it was a great in your face type of song but it has a lot of different elements to it that I like and I remember like getting the first notes to the first riff and I was like oh man this is going to be a cool record, but I didn’t think it would end up being the first song like in my mind I thought we’d finish the album with that track but it ended up being the first track.

waiting for the end to comeSR. For the Australian tour how many songs are you going to play in the set list? Do you have the set list arranged or are you still working on that?

JFD. yeah, we are getting the finishing touches to it and all the ideas we want to play and half the set is going to be new songs, I don’t want to say which ones yet cause we want to keep it a surprise for people who come to our shows but  half the set is going to new songs and the other half is going to be like classics from every other record we did before and it’s really hard for us 20 years to choose the perfect set list because we have so many albums but we know the songs that people want to hear and hopefully they enjoy coming to our shows and it’s going to be awesome and we are going to play an hour and 25 minutes of music we are going to play and there are a lot of cool songs and we are very stoked about it.

SR. We have a few fan questions – the first one is have you ever had the chance to meet any of your idols?

JFD. ah absolutely and it’s funny that I play in a band but I’m a fan of music first and I’ll always be a fan of music and like meeting Iron Maiden as we’ve played in a few festivals with them and I felt like I was five years old again and be like yay….that was really awesome.

SR. Have you had any strange or weird fan requests?

JFD. Hmmm, I mean, people are collecting a lot of stuff and people are asking me for different things like old strings or used towels and stuff you get and to me that like weird and I’d rather meet someone and have a good conversation with if I’m going to give them something like a pick or autograph something…makes more sense to me.

SR. You guys have any fun story while on tour?

JFD. Oh there are always a million stories but like there are too many to think about but a lot of the stories I’ve had are like being drunk and being an idiot.

SR. Would you like to give any advice to any young Australian musicians who wan to make it in the industry

JFD. Well the best advice which I can give is when you really want to start a band is try to be unique in yourself and don’t try to copy anyone else just come up with your own ideas and your own things and don’t just take no for answer just go for it and see where it leads you and I think just be yourself is the best advice I can give, and I think sometimes if you write music and you think it silly, because you’ve never heard it before, sounds funny, but just trust your instinct and go for it I think it’s the way to go.

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Wednesday 4th December – Brisbane – Crowbar

Thursday 5th December – Adelaide – Fowlers Live

Friday 6th December – Melbourne – Corner Hotel

Saturday 7th December – Sydney – Manning Bar

Sunday 8th December – Perth – Rosemount Hotel

Tickets only $59 + bf available from

Strictly Limited VIP Meet and Greet Packages available for each show!

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