Katafalk is bringing death on wheels

interview with Katafalk

KATAFALK is one of Holland’s most promising brutal metal bands. Having built up an underground cult status since the year 1995, the band now unleashes their debut STORM OF THE HORDE.

KATAFALK ‘s raging musical style can be described as an explosive mix of Death-, Thrash- & Black Metal – influences, dominated by furious blastbeats and aggressive riffing. These components are brought together in dynamic, well structured songs, keeping the listener focused

The most important turningpoint in KATAFALK ‘s career up ’till now was their ‘PROMO 2001’: a 3-song promo cd which gained an overwhelming response from all over the world, selling 800 pieces and resulted in touring with God Dethroned!

After a lot of line up changes and playing a LOT of gigs, making the band stronger and stronger, KATAFALK has evolved into an extreme metal machine that is well known for its explosive and intense live shows in which both the aggression of the music and the enthusiasm of the bandmembers play an important role.

Let the storm of the horde blow you away !

interview with Chris and Pier on 09-01-2003

Please give us a short introduction of yourself?
Chris: Hi, we’re Katafalk from Groningen, The Netherlands. We play fast and brutal death/thrash/raging METAL! The band was started by me, Christiaan (guitars) in 1995 and after two demo’s and a lot of line-up changes we’ve signed to Cold Blood Industries (run by God Dethroned’s Henri Sattler) and finally recorded our debut album ’Storm Of The Horde’, which will be out the 28th of January.

Any urge to tell something about the others?
Chris: Also on guitars we have Pier Abe, on drums blastbeast Michiel, on bass Henk Jan and our new singer’s name is Niels. They joined Katafalk in respectively 2000, 2001 and 2002. Niels is also guitarplayer in Dutch death/grind band Prostitute Disfigurement. He replaces Wokkel who sings on the CD.

Explain the name Katafalk? Also taken from one of Tolkiens stories?
Chris: Although I highly enjoyed the Lord Of The Rings books and movies, Katafalk has nothing to do with Tolkien. Katafalk is a Dutch word and it means hearse. It’s coming on wheels and it’s bringing death, exactly like we do when we come to play somewhere!

Pier Abe: It’s a good name; it sounds good, it’s simple, and the meaning of it is cool.

Do you agree that the name suits a black metal better? Why yes?
Chris: Like I said Katafalk is a Dutch word meaning hearse and not something Norwegian or Tolkienish. To my opinion a hearse has a lot more to do with death in general, don’t you think?

Pier Abe: I also don’t know why the name Katafalk should have more to do with black than death metal. It’s just a word, and, like Chris says, the meaning of it is fully connected to the phenomenon of death. Someone told me that the wagons on which cannons used to be transported to the ancient battlefields, took back the corpses of the fallen on the way home. In this function they were called Katafalks. Don’t you think the transportation of dead bodies has got a lot to do with death metal?

How long did it take to come up with the name? What were the other options?
Chris: I came up with the name a long time ago, early nineties, even quite some time before actually starting the band. No other band has ever used this name in this form, although I later heard of bands who used the English version of the word (’Catafalque’). There was a Dutch band -now renamed to Desensitised (Hi Susan!)- and a Belgian band -now Disbanded. Because they used a different spelling it didn’t bother me. Besides, Katafalk is Dutch and so are we.

You are terrorizing us since 1995. Why now the debut?
Chris: The main reason why it took so long to bring out an album are line-up changes. Right after the first demo in 1997 the original line-up fell apart. Then we changed a lot in personnel and also in musical direction. We already played a mixture of death/thrash/black but more melodic and not that fast. Because of new (better) bandmembers I could incorporate faster and more brutal parts (blastbeats and stuff). The many line-up changes also frustrated me, resulting in an even more aggressive approach. Then in 2001 we recorded a promo and toured with God Dethroned, got an offer for a record deal, but again three people stepped out. So we got new members, got a new deal and finally could begin recording.

Pier Abe: We also chose not to bring out a full-length cd before we had a record deal. Well, the deal was signed in 2002, so then the time had come to make the album. We didn’t want to rush into things. The material has had a long time to ripe, and I think that benefits the final product.

How did you came to this style? Influences from the other members?
Chris: How Katafalk got to this style is pretty much covered in the question before. It’s also a combination of many styles metal I like I think, for example 80’s thrash, 90’s death and today’s blastbeats. Basically the album was written by me except for 3 tracks out of 13. Our previous bassplayer Jurjen wrote the songs ’Hatred’ and ’Operation Mindloss’ and our new bassplayer Henk Jan wrote the song ’Storm Of The Horde’.

Pier Abe: We play this style because all bandmembers enjoy playing fast and furious metal. It’s a bandproduct.

What kind of music do you listen to yourself? Don’t be afraid to mention non metal.
Chris: I listen to all kinds of metal ranging from traditional heavy metal, speed, thrash, death, black, grind, whatever as long as it’s true and straight from the heart. Some favorites of mine are Iron Maiden, Slayer, Dark Angel, Dissection, Arch Enemy, Emperor to name but a few. In general I enjoy good songwriting, good guitar-riffs and strong melodies. So I also like some old stuff like Rainbow. Once in a while I listen to some other genres too, but mostly metal-related though.

Pier Abe: All guys in the band primarily listen to metal of course. That’s where we’re coming from. As far as I’m concerned, you have only two kinds of music: good and bad. And you are the one who decides wether something is good or bad. It’s as simple as that. Don’t let anybody tell you what you should like and what not!

What kind of music is a waste of energy?
Chris: I can simply answer this question by saying you shouldn’t waste any of your energy on music you don’t like. Period. Just stop paying attention! It’s very personal. I don’t like the crap being shoved to you via the media supposed to be cool. Follow your heart and choose your own path. And if you think there’s not enough cool music around, search for it or make it your own.

Pier Abe: Yeah, I completely agree with that. It’s a waste of energy to complain, so just ignore shit you don’t like.

In the bio you tell that your Promo 2001 sold 800 pieces. But aren’t promos meant for getting a label deal or reviews?
Chris: That’s right. Originally the promo was for that kind of purposes, but also for ourselves and for showing a sign of life (since the first demo was recorded late 1997). Because a lot of people were interested we decided to sell it to the public too, but we kept the price as low as possible (5 Dutch guilders, which is very cheap for a 3 track CD). Consequently, we sold a lot, earning nothing but getting a lot of exposure.

Pier Abe: Sure, a promo is meant for publicity and stuff, and of course we used it for that too. It worked very well. I mean, we got a deal, right? When we had recorded the promo, we discovered that there was a demand for among people who knew the band. Then we decided to release it for the public. It turned out to be pretty successful.

How much money do you wanna make with your debut? What will you do with the first payment?
Chris: We don’t have to make a lot of money with our debut. As long as the studio costs are covered it’s fine with us, the rest is bonus. We play metal for the love and spirit of it, and you can’t expect to live off metal in the first place. Our first payment will come after we have sold a certain amount of albums, cause the label has invested a lot if money in us. But hey, we have been given a whole bunch CD’s to sell, we got promo’s for gigs and Cold Blood’s been doing great work for us. Thumbs up for them!

Pier Abe: A couple of millions of euros would be cool though.

What is the benefit of having a label behind you? Was it easy to find one?
Chris: Being a signed band, people (venues/magazines/fans) take you a lot more serious. Also, the label works for you in handling advertisement, distribution, getting tours and stuff. I know Henri for quite some time and he knows Katafalk for quite some time. But we did have to prove ourselves as a band and we did, even after suffering a major loss in personnel, right after the first offer. By signing us, CBI has shown it’s trust in Katafalk’s music. We’re very content to be on Cold Blood Industries because it’s a great label for us and their office is right in my hometown Groningen. I can drop by any time I want so don’t have to discuss things over the phone or email.

Pier Abe: Of course it was good for us that we knew Henri personally. But he would never have signed us if he didn’t think we were going to do well. To do a little investigation, he offered us to be God Dethroned’s support act on their Dutch shows in 2001. This way he could check us out a couple of times in a row. Well, he must have liked what he saw, because right after the fourth show he offered us a deal. We had to prove ourselves, but knowing the man in person surely made it easier for us.

Was it your idea to ask Henry to play some guitar or did he forced it because you’re on Coldbloodindustries?
Chris: No we forced him! haha! Actually, I just asked him. So he came over to the studio the night we were recording solo’s and had a fun time together blasting solo’s on tape. Henri does the Slayer kinda solo-ing on the song ’Cannonfodder’ and did a real cool job. Fits the song perfectly, just like I intended. Nice guest appearance also.

Pier Abe: On the song you hear Henri and me duelling on guitars. We had a great time in the studio, with the guitar going from hand to hand. We just sat down and ripped that BC Rich apart!

Are you happy with the end result? How often do you play it yourself? Where do you keep your copy at home?
Chris: I’m quite satisfied with the end result, it turned out really well, considering the amount of time we used and the album being our debut CD. Our producer Milan at SingSing studio’s did a great job. The production blows your speakers, it’s fucking loud, raw and brutal yet you can hear everything clear. I play it once in a while and every time I’m amazed how much it blows me away. I keep my copy within reach, for all to hear (everybody who drops by wants to hear it since it won’t be out until the 28th of January).

Pier Abe: My copy hasn’t made its way to my cd-storage yet, it’s still lying on top of the stereo.

Are you trying to sell some copies to your relatives? What does your granny think of it?
Chris: My dad has already ordered 2 copies and my granny is plainly proud for her grandson to achieve this musical goal. She doesn’t hear that much anyway, so she probably thinks it’s all great! haha!

Pier Abe: I think there would be something seriously wrong with our music if my grandma liked it. Or with my grandma, tssss.

What is the most import reason for being in a band? The gigs, recording, women, free beer from fans?
Chris: My main reason for being in a band is to express myself musically and emotionally, to play the music I like and feel, to support metal and to get the feeling and spirit across. Recording can be both exciting and stressful but it’s great to have your music immortalized after a long time of hard time of studio work.

Playing live is the best way of expressing music though. I always live up to gigs and give 100%. I am very proud Katafalk has such a good live reputation! And we drink lots of beers with the fans afterwards (if the fans don’t steal all our beer haha!). I also see a lot more girls at metal concerts which is a good thing.

Pier Abe: The live shows are definitely the main reason for me to be in a band. I like the raw power of a Katafalk gig. The music is intense to play and that makes you go crazy on stage. The adrenaline rushes through your veins and that’s an amazing feeling. The best shows are the ones where the interaction with the crowd is good. That gives you a feeling of great satisfaction. The recordings, women and free beer are of course very much appreciated too.

You play a lot live. Do you still rehearse frequently? What is the best thing of playing live?
Chris: We rehearse once a week. There are bands who rehearse only before recording but I think it’s important to rehearse on a regular base. You meet the whole band, you can discuss things easily and it keeps the band tight and in shape. Playing live a lot helps even more getting the band tight. Best thing of playing live is of course showcasing the music and doing our thing, having a great time! And it’s always nice to get great responses.

Pier Abe: It’s always fun to play with a band. We rehearse because we like to get together and play music. That’s what got the band started.

What do you do when the crowd is throwing beer and underpants on stage?
Chris: Never happened thus far (underpants being throwed – c’mon ladies!). There can be some beer spatting around when people go wild in the pit, but hey that’s just normal.

Pier Abe: Yeah, I would like to see some underwear being thrown on stage. Female underwear, that is. After the show the girls can get it back, if they ask nicely.

What are the plans for the future? Release another album in 2009?
Chris: Next album won’t take as long as the time before the first, haha! First we’re gonna do a lot of gigs to promote ’Storm Of The Horde’. Hopefully we can do some kind of tour to and some festivals would be nice too.

Pier Abe: Plans are to play live as much as we can. New material is being written, so I think we’ll manage to get the next album out before 2009.

Do you get good proposals for the band? Like gigs, compilations, inties etc?
Chris: We can’t complain, things are going very good for us right now, thanks to CBI. We’re on some compilation CD’s and we have plenty of interviews.

Pier Abe: Things are going well for us. A couple of times there have been talks about us doing a European tour, but as you know, in the music business a lot of things are talked about, but few things actually happen. There are currently no concrete plans for a tour, but you never know when the right offer comes.

Feel the urge to spew some things to clear your mind?
Chris: Unlike what some people might think, there are no bad feelings between us and the ex-members. They have a new band called Obtuse and we help each other out whenever we can. Wokkel did a good job singing on our album and also Jurjen has helped us out on bass in the studio. So there’s no rivalry whatsoever. We’re the best of friends and regularly drink beer together.

Pier Abe: I would have to say that there are a lot of great metalbands in our hometown Groningen. To name a few: As It Burns, Seizure, Winter Of Sin, Monastery and many more. Check them out at www.metalscombined.nl

Last rites?
Chris: Everyone buy our album “Storm Of The Horde” and go see us live when we play around your area! Thanks a lot Twan for supporting Katafalk with this interview and good luck with BRUTALISM!

Pier Abe: Have fun, do what you want, and keep an eye on eachother, allright?

Interviewer: Twan

Jan 9, 2003

Share this:

Follow us

Review tracks on Spotify