Guitarist Anders Nyström with the Swedish metal band Katatonia spoke with me recently about the band’s new EP, The Longest Year. At the time I spoke with Anders, the band was finishing up a comprehensive tour of North America and were planning on heading to Europe to continue the onslaught. Katatonia has been in existence since 1991 and they have toured extensively around the globe. Here is what Anders had to say about the new record and the band’s touring plans for the year to come.

Hey Anders how are you doing?
Anders: I am doing good man. Things are rolling. It has been 3 years since we have last been here, so it has been a long ride.

You have two dates left, correct?
Anders: Yes we have two days left and that is it.

How has it been going?
Anders: It has been going excellent. It has been a smooth ride. I enjoy everyday in America.

Have the crowds been pretty good?
Anders: Oh yeah definitely. That has been the highlight. I mean New York was something I will never forget; it was an amazing date. Chicago was great, Canada was great, Los Angeles was fantastic and some of the Texas gigs were great. There have been a lot of really really good nights.

Now that your EP, The Longest Year is complete how do you feel about it and are you satisfied with the outcome?
Anders: Totally satisfied with it. We have a kind of tradition with Katatonia where we like to make EPs in general. So I am just happy to have another one out. It is made for the fans and we always put something special on them like a B-side or something totally exclusive. We did that this time around as well and they just wind up becoming collectors items so I am totally happy.

What is the writing process like? Do you guys all write together?
Anders: We are definitely not the kind of band that sits down at rehearsals and just jams. It won’t work for us and it never has. It didn’t work 20 years ago and it will not work today. Basically the process is either me or Jonas, the singer, will create the music and lyrics at our private homes where we are comfortable and then we will show the other members what we have come up with and take it from there. It is pretty individual as far as the creative process.

Are there any tracks on The Longest Year that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Anders: I have a really hard time picking out favorites from any of our releases because they just mean a lot to me. It is like naming one of your children as your favorite, it is impossible, I can’t do it.

Are you guys planning on working on a full-length disc or are you going to ride out the EP for a while?
Anders: I think we are basically going to be touring a lot. We are going to be touring all over the world and we have basically been doing that all Summer when we did all of the festivals. We are going to be touring until next Summer when we plan on doing the festivals again. We are going to Australia in between that and then we are going to South America, Scandinavia and a ton of other places. I think we won’t be looking at writing the next album until Autumn of next year.

But you are going to be playing all over the world for the next year huh?
Anders: Oh yeah. I think we owe it to ourselves and our fans to do that.

That is pretty amazing. You guys are going to go non-stop until next Summer with no break?
Anders: Yes, it is always like that. Where one cycle ends the new cycle starts.

Wow. You guys have been at this for quite a long time. Did you ever imagine you would still be doing it?
Anders: No, not really. I am the kind of guy that takes nothing for granted because I see that anything can happen and it everything can end tomorrow. So I am really grateful for where we are and what is going on. I just try to enjoy it everyday instead of bitching about it.

So you are heading over to Europe after your last gig here in Virginia. Who are you going to be touring with?
Anders: I don’t know yet. I think it is going to be a Finish band, but I am not sure. We have about one week off after the Virginia gig and then it is right back on the road again.

Do you find the rigors of touring taking more of a toll on you as you get older?
Anders: Well it is what it is. Touring is touring, but I love it and like I said before, you have to have the mentality that you live it and sleep it. You have to love the lifestyle or it won’t work for you. I have seen so man band members fall out and leave the music scene because they couldn’t handle the touring. So yes you have to have the mentality for it otherwise it won’t work.

How do you keep up with the touring? Do you do anything special or do you just go out there and do it?
Anders: For me the magic thing is actually Wi-Fi and the Internet because it keeps me connected. If I didn’t have that I would be a miserable bastard I can tell you.

Are there any countries that you have not played in that you would like to get to?
Anders: Anywhere. Anywhere they want to have, we want to go there.

But there is nowhere that you would really like to go to?
Anders: Well we have not been to India, Australia, New Zealand and South America, but they are all part of the next tour here that is coming up so that is going to be fantastic. We have done a lot of the obscure Eastern European countries as well and I don’t know what else is left. Africa maybe, but I don’t know if they even have a metal scene.

You know what. I have been talking to a lot of bands in the past few months and there are a bunch of them heading down to South Africa to play. I was recently speaking with the guys from Lamb Of God and Becoming The Archetype and they both just got back from South Africa and loved it.
Anders: Yeah that is true. So who knows, maybe South Africa then.

Any closing words at all?
Anders: I just want to say I am so happy to be back in America and touring again. As I said before, everyday is an adventure and we love meeting all of our fans over here. I want to thank them for coming out and making it a successful tour. Cheers for that!