Crushing their way through the death metal scene for over two decades, Montreal’s own Kataklysm is going strong. Their self-coined “Northern Hyperblast” style delivers crippling riffs, bestial vocals and waste-laying drumming. While their earlier work was far more chaotic and somewhat poorly received by the metal populous, an early lineup change back in 1997 saw former bassist Maurizio Iacono take over on vocals and a large portion of writing for the band. Since then, the band has produced 10 solid albums, with their newest, Waiting For The End To Come (2013), still delivering some of the heaviest tunes around with a developed maturity that is both refreshing and straight up killer. We had a chance to catch up with founding band member and guitarist JF Dagenais, who records and mixes albums in his spare time, for a brief interview about the past, present, and future.
BeatRoute: What type of music did you listen to growing up that influenced you guys to write the Kataklysm material?
JF Dagenais: I grew up on the classic Iron Maiden, Testament, Slayer and stuff like that, but during that time there was a new wave of British bands coming out, like Napalm Death, Carcass, Bolt Thrower, and they influenced us a lot. They really influenced us to want to write the most extreme music around.
BR: What kind of music are you enjoying lately and are there any bands out there that are inspiring you?
JFD: I’m really into the more spacey and trippy style stuff now. I’m a pretty big Deftones fan and I’ve been listening to Radiohead and I really like Tool, but I still keep up with the new metal that’s coming out for my recording studio so that when a band asks me, “We want to sound like that,” I know what they are talking about.
BR: The new album slays and Oli’s playing on the album is astronomically tight. Given his past history in playing with some other big bands (Neuraxis, Belphegor, Keep of Kalessin), did he fit right in with the band like a dirty shirt or were (former drummer Max Duhamel) shoes to big to fill?
JFD: Yeah, he really made the whole process of writing the new album very easy. He was a big fan of Kataklysm long before joining the band, so he knew how Max played and he really kept true to the Kataklysm style, all while incorporating his own style into the songs and it turned out great. We’re really happy to have him on board.
BR: Touring aside, how much time do you get to devote to practicing/writing now that the band is established where it is?
JFD: We’re already thinking that we want to release a new album in another two years, so to do that we have to start slow because we are really busy. We all live in different cities now, so to get everyone together in the same mindset is challenging. We all have recording studios at home and we do Skype meetings and send ideas back and forth and build tracks that way.
BR: What do you like to do outside of the music world?
JFD: Well, now that I live in Texas, we do a lot of barbecues now!
BR: After being in the business for nearly 25 years, with 11 albums, two live albums, numerous demos, singles, music videos and tours under your belt, are there any plans of slowing down?
JFD: Well we’re certainly not getting any younger, but for now we look at it album per album and we assess where we are and, for now, we are all feeling really good. One day when it starts to not make sense we’ll call it but not for awhile yet.
Catch Kataklysm at Zoo Cabaret (Winnipeg) on April 8, at Pawn Shop (Edmonton) on April 10 and at Republik (Calgary) on April 11.
By Matthew Telgen