Sunday, May 26, 2013
As Sweden’s KATATONIA winds down on their US Tour as the opening act for OPETH, I had the opportunity to see the amazing show at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA. I also enjoyed a conversation with KATATONIA drummer, Daniel Liljekvist and got his thoughts on all things happening in his world.
Q: Did you guys just finish soundcheck?
A: Yes! I’m a bit sweaty.
Q: So the tour is almost over?
A: Yes! Tomorrow’s show is the last show with OPETH. And then we go back to the Sunset Strip to play The Roxy again for one last show as a headliner.
Q: You just played there last night, how was that?
A: It was energetic and it was packed. It was sold out, there was a lot of people, and it was warm in there.
Q: There was energy in the crowd? That’s strange for a Los Angeles crowd.
A: Is it? I know the Susnet Strip, we only played The Whisky before, but it seems like the audience is a little spoiled. You really have to step it up there. A couple of my bandmates went to The Rainbow after the show of course (laughs). I don’t go there as I don’t think I’m cool enough to hang around there.
Q: Come on, Lemmy hangs out there.
A: He’s too cool for me. Last time I was at The Rainbow, Lemmy actually got mad at me. He yelled at me.
Q: For what?
A: For sneaking up on him and taking a picture. (laughs). I bought him a shot of Jack Daniels and he said politely, “I don’t do shots. Thank You” and he poured it in his drink. And then he started playing this little game and eating a prawn cocktail or whatever. I was drunk and wanted to have a picture with him. So our merch girl took a camera and went over there and I went by Lemmy and she snapped the picture. Lemmy saw the flash and said, “I didn’t ask to be in the picture.” “Ask me nicely and I would do it.” He’s still a cool guy. It was my fault, I fucked up. But it’s pretty cool to be yelled at by Lemmy.
Q: Walk me through this tour a little bit, what’s been some of the highlights?
A: It’s been so long and through a lot of places. We played in Tulsa, Oklahoma the day the storm started. When Opeth came off stage, there was this wind, the rain, the thunder that was nothing like I’ve seen in my life. It was a bit scarey and we fucked off. We dodged that storm by a couple of hours and made it to Kansas. And it started there too, really heavy thunderstorms.
Q: Kind of a scarey part of America with Tornadoes.
A: This was disgusting weather, it was too extreme. Our driver said we were in the area where we had the biggest chance to catch a tornado or big storms. I’ve never seen that before and I thought it would be cool to see it but when I saw the weather, it was like, ‘I don’t want to be here.”
Q: But you got to experience it to a certain degree.
A: But the lighting I saw when we were leaving I was sitting in the front of the bus, I’ve never seen lightning like that before. It was going across the sky. I’ve only seen it come straight down from the sky, never side to side.
Q: You don’t get that in Sweden?
A: No! And not that heavy. It’s like 20 minutes and it’s gone.
Q: As a drummer myself, and hearing what you do, I always found it more difficult to lay back and sit in the pocket without overplaying, how do you approach your songs?
A: I just listen to what Jonas or Anders write and try to make it as interesting as possible because they write such great songs and I’ve been with them for like 14 years now and I understand what they mean with certain riffs. Jonas is a great drummer in his head, he has great ideas that he can’t play himself and he uses me to fulfill his dreams on drums. He comes up with awesome drum parts and great fills. Every time we record a new album he’s with me in the studio and together we come up with the drum parts and bounce ideas off of each other; what do you think about this or think about this? And he has the greatest drum mouth ever. Trying to explain a cool fill or beat, he mouth drums it, like a beat box. Everything is really fresh. Nothing is rehearsed before we get into the studio. If you rehearse songs for 3 months before you get in the studio, they’re [the songs] are old.
Q: What drummers made you want to play drums?
A: I’ve been asked that so many times but I would say no drummers. I started getting into music in the early 90′s. Well, in the late 80′s I started listening to QUEEN. I started listening to NIRVANA, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, KORN, and DEFTONES. I never really listened to a lot of heavy metal.
Q: What do you listen to now?
A: On tour I don’t listen to music at all. But when I’m at home I listen to a lot of Electronic music like ROBYN (Swedish pop/electronic star). I listen to some Norwegian punk. I rarely listen to Metal.
Q: What happens after this tour?
A: Hang out with my kids and my fiancé and just chill for two weeks.
Q: And then what?
A: Festivals! Download in the UK, Grasspop, and all over Europe.
Q: It’s a culture over there.
A: I kind of like festivals. We go there to, well, we’re not the big band, we’re going there to gain fans. But I know it’s going to be so many people there. I love to attend festivals as there’s tons of great bands and tons of beer.
Q: What about after the festivals?
A: There have been some offers but I can’t say much because it’s not set in stone yet. We’re going to be busy in the fall, maybe August through December. It’s going to be quite a lot to do. Both Europe and Stateside.