Interview mit Niklas Sandin von Katatonia

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KATATONIA are currently touring Europe together with Sólstafir. After an interview in Munich unfortunately didn’t work out, Niklas Sandin was kind enough to answer our questions by mail. Read here what he appreciates about Sólstafir, which song from „Sky Void Of Stars“ works especially well live and how it came about that Entombed A.D. guitarist Nico Elgstrand is on stage with KATATONIA on this tour.

You are on tour together with Sólstafir – what do you like most about the band?
That they´re super nice guys, easy to tour with and of course bring a musical element that fits perfectly on this tour. It´s great to be co-headling with these Icelandic gents.

Is there already a funny anecdote from the tour that you can tell us?
I wish I could spill the beans on something funny or crazy from this tour. But it´s been such a smooth and chill ride so far, that nothing “rock starish” hasn´t happened…yet.

KATATONIA im Februar 2023 in München
Niclas with KATATONIA live in Munich 2023

In 2020 and 2021 you played only six concerts in total, since 2022 you have played more than 40. Was it hard to get used to touring again? Is there anything you didn’t miss at all during the concertless time of the pandemic?
It wasn´t that hard, since it was something we all really looked forward to. So it was an easy task to get into the tour life again. And i´m really thrilled to be back at this. And more to come during the this year, which makes me even more excited.

The tour was supposed to take place in 2022, but then it was moved to 2023. Did that cause you problems, like costs for the band, or was it even good in retrospect, because now you can promote the new album?
These things always complicates things, and it sure makes a loss economically for the band. But it was just something we needed to go through, just as many other bands in the scene. The main things is to stay positive in these situations and to look onward to when the tour eventually can happen.

When the concerts started again, there were still a lot of cancellations, at least in Germany, because of bad advance sales and increased production costs. The former doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore, at least your tour is very well attended – but do you still notice the increased production costs in your balance sheet, would it have been more profitable to tour in 2022?
I think there´s a lot of factors nowadays that makes it more profitable to do a tour in 2022.

The increased costs are reflected in everything from tickets to band shirts. So far it seems to be working, but how long do you think this tightrope act will work … how expensive can tickets and t-shirts get before the fans stop participating?
That´s a very good question. Even though tickets and t-shirts gets more expensive, there´s lots of corners cut even bofore putting a higher price tag on for the fans. So we´re trying our best to still make tours and gigs happen, even with the higher costs to put on a show.

The crisis, inflation, gas prices, staff shortages … all this is not over. Do you think that the concert business will relax again, maybe even with falling prices in production and for the end customers, the fans, or will live music sooner or later become an elitist hobby for the upper class?
I have no idea, but I hope it´ll soon return to what it was before.

KATATONIA im Februar 2023 in München
Nico and Niklas 2023 live in Munich

Nico Elgstrand is with you as session guitarist to fill in for Anders Nyström. How come you asked Nico – and not for example Tomas Åkvik, who had helped out with KATATONIA before?
They´re both kick ass players, but Tomas wasn´t available for the tour. And Nico fits in just as well. We had Nico on board when we played in Tasmania, and he´s a very good and skilled guitar player. Also well experienced in touring, and a old good friend of Roger. So it was a no brainer. He brings an energy and vitamine injection to the band live which is thrilling.

When did you know that he would do the job, so how much time did he have to learn the songs had you time to rehearse before the tour started?
We had some time before the tour to prepare, so there wasn´t a problem. He is a professional guitar player, so he learned the song in a breaze.

You are playing a lot of songs from your new album on the tour. What is your experience so far, which one works best – and which one is the most difficult to perform?
For me the most difficult one is Colossal Shade, mainly because I play all the songs in the same tuning. It benefits me for the most part, but sometimes it can be challenging. The song Opaline is a killer to perform live, and it seems like people like this extra much.

KATATONIA live auf dem Brutal Assault 2022
Niklas Sandin with KATATONIA live at Brutal Assault 2022

„The Fall Of Hearts“ was very proggy, „City Burials“ then very catchy – „Sky Void Of Stars“ I think is right in between. Would you sign that, and if so, was that maybe even your intention?
I even think our latest release is more catchy than City Burials. And it´s much more straight forward. The intention is always to release something greater and better than the previous one. And I think we´ve succeeded with that again with Sky Void of Stars.

The album is now the third one you have recorded with the same line-up – does this growing familiarity between you as musicians have an impact on your songwriting?
It has a great impact on how well you work as a band. And how you know each other as musicians. So on a subconscious level I do think it has a positive impact on the songwriting. The machinery gets more well oiled for each release and tour we do.

Katatonia – Sky Void Of StarsI love the artwork, but I can’t find the direct connection to the album title – what did I miss?
I don´t think you´ve missed anything. It´s up to each and one to connect with the meaning of the album title and the artwork. I, myself, think the artwork gives a very good mood and depiction of how the album sounds like, and the general vibe.

Why was it still the perfect cover – or the perfect title?
Since they both represent the album in a very good way. Roberto Bordin did a killer job with the album artwork.

Thank you for your time and answers – I would like to end the interview with a brainstorming:
The most important item on your tour rider: Water, without that you´re kinda screwed.
Your favourite album from 2022: First Aid Kit, Palomino
Life on the Tour Bus: Splendid
Your resolution for 2023: Try to be kinder to myself
Ukraine war: Unnecessary suffering
A meal that always makes you happy: A home made meal made out of love
KATATONIA in ten years: Going on just a strong as today


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