Interview: Ivana Sataić (ivana@venia-mag.net)
Photo: Nuclear Blast

Worldwide known Canadian death metallers Kataklysm have just announced the retrospective release of the first two decades of their career – ”Iron Will – 20 Years Determined”. About first 20 years, the new release and some plans for future for Venia-Mag we had an honor to talk to the Kataklysm singer Maurizio Iacono.

VENIA:  You’ve just released, let’ say, your retrospective release ”Iron Will” which brings 2CD’s and 2 DVD’s. Can you shortly present this release to your fans, what makes it special comparing it to other best of or retrospective releases we can find in music stores these days?
MAURIZIO: Well, for us it is about trying to capture together our story as we are as band together almost 20 years now so it is a long story we wanted to show to our fans. And in one hand it is like a souvenir of our work so far, of what we’ve done so it’s basicaly the story of ourselves and our fans. And it was a long process to get it together, it took a three years of work so I hope people will actually enjoy it. I heard it for the first time few weeks ago and it was pretty awesome. It’s pretty long material and it takes to some of the best moments in our career.

VENIA: Why have you decided to release it exactly now, almost 20 years since you’ve started. Why exactly 20 years and not 10 or 15 or 25?
MAURIZIO: I think that’s because as the band we are now working a lot. We are touring, we are recording and producing new album and what is the most important we have a long story behind us and this is a great timing to release something like this. We’ve already released the DVD, that was the recording of our live show. But now we wanted to release another DVD and make it something really special, I don’t want to be mean, but not just another live show.

VENIA: Great! And what is your favorite part of this release and why?
MAURIZIO: For me the most interesting part of the DVD is the beginning because it shows how we started and reminds me about that time like you can see us in our rehearsal room. We are really emotional for those moments and it’s really nice now we can watch them. Then there is that label stuff because it just happened and it reminded how it felt then, it was like : wow! *laughing*

VENIA: We’re talking of a long time, 20 years. What do you think  how has Kataklysm, musically and personally, developed over the years?
MAURIZIO: I think I did it in a way that I sing the songs in a good way. *both laughing* Seriously, I think musically every album was the best and we’re writting our best material now and now we are inspired and we’re writting the songs for our next record. We are doing together really great and all this is very excited, to be able to expirence music without to put it in any category. I know it’s a label stuff to do it but I think its just great to be in the band and be able to perform. And also the financial thing gets better over the years but we are only concentrated on music and concentrated on the band so I think we developed in a good way and we are still growing year after year. Some 10 years ago I didn’t think there will some new generation coming to see us so I feel like I’m in the best band in the world. Today we have those new audience and the old fans who are coming to see us year after year in the last 15 years. That’s awesome, is the great motivation to us to keep playing and deliver a good music.

VENIA: Now when you mentioned that, can you compare this young audience to those some 10 or 15 years ago? Are kids today different?
MAURIZIO: I think the main difference is basically the medium to deliver the music. Our first albums were coming out on CD’s and now it’s like mostly internet and things like digital download and stuff like that. The internet changed a lot actually because these younger generation is finding and know a lot more about the band and what’s going on as there are Facebook’s and modern media so they know a lot more what’s going on than back in the days when they basically knew the album and the music and today are more interested about the band and what is going on the road and stuff like that than on music.

VENIA: What is more challenging for you, to play in front of that old audience that knows about the album and the music on it, or in front of that young people who check the previous show on youtube and then come to see you the next day expecting this or that?
MAURIZIO: The most challenging show is to play somwhere for the first time because you have no idea how people will react and surprisingly sometimes it goes well, sometimes not that well but that’s the part of the game. You just have to give your best and that’s the most challenging. My personal satisfaction as musician is when I know I gave 100% and played live and gave the energy and to know the audience expected that.

VENIA: And when you look back, what is the best and the worst thing about being in the band?
MAURIZIO: The best thing is basically the live show because  I think when you play music as your career it’s a form of freedom, you are not going to your 9-17 job every day and I like that. I can just grab and play my guitar when I want or being on the road or playing concerts. That’s something that makes my life.
The bad thing when you’re touring musician is that you don’t have enough time to spend with your family and love ones. That’s the other side because you’re always away and I miss some important moments with my friends or sister. On the one side it’s a freedom, on the other it’s not as you are always away but in my life I’m happy I can be in the band and play my music.

VENIA: After so many tours and albums, what is still inspiring you to deal with the music and what is your secret to avoid the repetition?
MAURIZIO: I think the biggest secret is to feel the passion for the music. That moves us to do new songs. Then it is the thing we really know each other so we can easily say: it’s gonna be like that and that’s the best way to do it. But that passion is the secret and I personally believe there has to be the secret ingrident to get the best from the art form no matter if it’s painting, or writting, or music. I think if you’re passionate about what you’re doing you’ll get the best result. That’s the main thing.

VENIA: I agree. Kataklysm is the band woldwide known as fan-friendly. Generally, what fans expect when you meet them and what is the craziest thing someone of you did for you?
MAURIZIO: Yeah, we met so many cool people around the world and that’s another great thing about being a musician, you travel and meet people. For our fans I have to say, they come to us with some alcohol so we sit down and talk and drink but I have to say that’s not always possible, every day, at every show. And I appologize but I don’t accept any drinks before the gig as I’d be completely drunk after the drink with each of them. *laughing* But it’s great to meet so many nice people. And we get presents and thank you cards and stuff and I think we have the best fans in the world.

VENIA: And what do you think, how is important that fan-friendly attitude for bands success?
MAURIZIO: Mmmmm… I don’t know. Sometimes I think if you are friendly band or friendly person more people will like you. But it’s hard to say will more people like your band or you’d achieve success because you are a nice personality. Basically, we don’t like to act like rock stars or something like that because we are just enjoying being ourselves and enjoing ourselves and I think our fans like that.

VENIA: Now when ”Iron Will” is out what can we expect from Kataklysm in future?
MAURIZIO: We will do some touring to promote ”Iron Will” and it won’t be some mad tour, we will play maybe a month in the Europe and month in the States and then we will be back home because we have to write the new CD and we will focus on that. So it definitly won’t be the long tour.

VENIA: Oh, but is there a chance maybe to see you also in Croatia?
MAURIZIO: We’d love to!

VENIA: In the end, is there some message you’d like to send to your fans in Croatia?
MAURIZIO: Yeah, I’d like to say big thank you because every time when we come to Croatia there is lot of people who come to support us and it’s always crazy and we always meet nice people in Croatia. So, one big cheers and we hope to come back! 

VENIA: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure to talk to you!
MAURIZIO: Thank you!

Official web: http://www.kataklysm.swizcorp.com/