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Jean-Francois Dagenais - Guitars for Kataklysm

Date: 8/30/10
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. The new Kataklysm album, "Heaven’s Venom", has a very strong sound that is full and heavy, yet with clarity and a good separation of the instruments. How did you achieve this?

JEAN: Well thank you for noticing that. We knew what we wanted to achieve with the production and the sound going into the album but its usually hard to achieve what you want but I think we did with this album. We wanted it to have a big sound, but a real sound to the drums, in your face guitars and it took like four days to get that sound down. But the actual recording went pretty smooth and it took about three weeks for the whole record.

2. Did you work with the same people that worked on the last couple albums?

JEAN: Actually I recorded everything in my studio and then we used this guy out of Denmark to do the mix, he also did "In The Arms of Devastation" and he did a great job so we decided to use him again for "Heaven’s Venom". His mix is a little dirty yet ballsy so we like that. The production on the last album, "Prevail", may have been a little too clean for us.

3. The artwork is really sharp for "Heaven’s Venom". Is the artwork tied into the lyrics or is there a theme to the album?

JEAN: It’s about fighting your inner demons and working hard for what you believe in. The album reflects a lot about what has happened with the guys in the band and what has happened in everyone’s personal lives. That’s maybe why the music sounds a little more aggressive. The artwork represents the soul of the band, the beast who has appeared on the last few albums.

4. How have the Ozzfest shows been going?

JEAN: really good, its our first time playing big show in the U.S. and it was cool to see all these people early in the day. Plus, the Ozzfest lineup in pretty diverse with Ozzy, Motley Crue, Rob Halford, and Kataklysm being a death metal band its really great getting a positive response. I would say we have our fans in the crowd but a lot of people were new to us.

5. There is a spoken message that opens up the album "Heaven’s Venom". Is that from somewhere?

JEAN: Is was lifted from the commercial for the newest Rocky movie, hahaha. We felt it was on point with what we wanted to express with this album, like the struggles I talked about before. It was the perfect intro.

6. How has Kataklysm’s music evolved from "Shadows and Dust" and "Serenity In Fire", to "In The Arms Of Devastation" and "Prevail", to now "Heaven’s Venom"?

JEAN: I think we try to push ourselves with every album, but I think this last album since we all went through so much the writing session were real powerful, and as a result the music is a bit more challenging. We wanted to combine both our playing ability with straight forward songs, good riffs and chorus’. And playing the new songs live is fun and a challenge.

7. Do you ever find it difficult to write new music that is fresh, maybe innovative, because there are certain expectations that come with being in the Death metal genre?

JEAN: No because I think we are pretty spontaneous and write them the best we can. We know what we don’t want so that helps and when we get something good we keep working on it. Sometimes we will put a riff or something aside like a drum beat that we like but can’t decide what to do with it at the moment and use it in the future. But I don’t think you will ever hear Kataklysm do anything that’s not us, like a country song, haha, we try not to have limits but its our personal taste playing this style of music.

8. You did a video for ‘Push the Venom’. Will you make another?

JEAN: Not sure yet we have to see how the record does first. It’s a great way to promote the band especially with YouTube.

9. Plans for the rest of the year?

JEAN: Touring with both Katakylsm and our other band Ex Deo. We are doing a tour with Devildriver in September, then an ex Deo tour with Nile in November in the U.S. Then we go to Europe in Jan/Feb, a South American tour in March, Russia again, then all the open-air stuff in Europe in the summer.

10. Who are some of your favorite death metal bands?

JEAN: Bolt Thrower, I like the old school stuff like Unleashed, Dismember, those are my personal favorites.

Official website: www.myspace.com/Kataklysm


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