Canadian born, Byron Bay local Garrett Kato has today released his anticipated new record, That Low and Lonesome Sound, alongside the announcement of a 27 date tour opening for Pete Murray on his extensive regional, Yours Acoustically tour through October, November and December. Kato will also be hitting the road this month to play a run of album launch shows kick starting tonight at Brunswick Hotel in Brunswick Heads, Black Bear Lodge Brisbane on the 17th, The Vanguard Sydney on the 23rd and 303 Melbourne on September 26.
New single Headlights is an anthemic, toe-tapping folk rock, anti-love song. “I’ve always loved the idea of anti love songs and having a large group of people sing along to something other than ‘I love you babe,’” says Kato.
Recorded between Kato’s home studio and 301 Studios in Byron Bay, alongside Anthony Lycenko, That Low and Lonesome Sound was two years in the making with Kato recording most songs multiple times, explaining, “I just kept adjusting them and tending to them like my garden.” The result is a dynamic album full of texture and warmth. Kato’s smooth, dreamy melodies and exquisite harmonies create a feeling of nostalgia, weaving a rich tapestry of storytelling folk gems.
Written about Kato’s relocation from Canada to Australia, “the record focuses on the journey and personal battles of letting go of a past life,” he explains, “some songs have themes which stretch further into my past, but the majority are about my new life and love in Australia… it’s basically a personal diary of manhood and letting go.”
Pumped to tour the new record, Kato will be playing his first run of September shows with his full band and will then jump straight on the road solo to open for his local Byron mate Pete Murray. ”Playing solo with just my guitar is my most comfortable mode, I love breaking hearts if I can.”
Hi Garrett, I know that you are super busy on tour, thanks for your time. I was reading your story on your website usually I skim through as I know most of it or it is not informative and I really like your sense of humour, are you sure you were born when you were 0?
(laughing) I guess if I was Korean I would be born at the age of one .
Did you move out to Australia planning to live in Byron Bay?
No there was no plan to move out to Byron Bay at all actually, basically I moved here strictly because I moved into a share house with my brother on the holidays, I just wanted to take a break from things in Vancouver and I ended up meeting my partner now, we are now married and have a kid now. That is how it all happened, I really did not plan on anything.
It is one of the countries best places to live. Certainly one of my fav places in the world.
Well the funny thing was I thought all the places on the coast were similar to that but it definitely one of a kind place.
I was just up there for Splendour, it was great. Muddy but great.
Yeah it would of been muddy!
2014 was a super busy year for you, recording at home and 301 Studio and becoming a father as well!
Yes for sure!
In your bio it says that you like to record then change a bit then record again, would you call your self a perfectionist in your music and life?
Yeah I would say so, I am a disorganized perfectionist if that makes sense. It is kind of like being a person that sometimes does not know what you want, you kind of stumble your way through things and eventually you come up with something like what you were looking for I guess. So that is how I like to describe it, sort of a disorganized perfectionist. That is the best way to say it. (both laughing) Which is a weird way of saying it but I love getting things just the way I like it. Nice and tidy.
I love that your new single Headlights has anti love song vibes, it makes a refreshing change from most of the love songs released today. I am a little over love songs!
The video is great as the concept was simple, and the images of the girl capture the attention of the viewer to watch her emotions and how they change. Was this a concept you always envisaged for the music video when writing the song?
No, I wrote the song based on personal experience and then the video clip was something that the director that he wanted to collaborate came up with me (Trevor Worden) Obviously as I am an Indie artist I don’t have any huge budget for a video and so he said I will give you a hand with that and he came up with this concept of having me singing to the camera basically try to follow the song to the video and it turned out better than I thought it was going to be to be honest as we had a shoestring budget to work with and then basically we just pulled it together and the actress we got for it was just strange enough, we wanted her to look a little unpredictable and mentally unstable and I think she did a pretty good job of that.
We wanted her to show the highs and lows. We wanted to embody what it would be feel like to be going through a turbulent time with someone that was not all there maybe, if you know what I mean so that was the idea behind that.
It took like a day of shooting then the director did all the B roll himself so that was really cool yeah, it was fun.
I know I said that I like your anti love song, I am now going to contradict myself when I tell you that I adore your song More than Love.
The lyrics “times were hard
we were spending too much time apart
See money is a tricky thing
Always taking the more it gives
But you know darling I can’t be the same here now without ya
I could tell you a million reasons why but I don’t try to no more”
Certainly resonates in my life and I can really connect to it.
I know it is hard to choose between all you songs but is there one that means the most to you?
They are all pretty personal to me, sick bones is another one that is my experience of almost signing with a major label and I wrote a song about that, how creativity and business can collide and that it either works perfectly or not at all. So that was a good one, and More than Love was basically kind of being a touring artist, most of my songs are about being an artist who is away form home all the time and it is about understanding more about life when you have kids and sort of have a different perspective as a writer and writing about the ‘he said, she said’ is kind of more in-depth and internal.
My kids are 19 and 17 so I guess that they are not “Kids’ anymore but I know what you mean about changing perspective and my perspective has change heaps as my son is in Europe and my daughter is about to go to Canada, oh yeah that is where you are from!!
Life completely changes when they become adults themselves as I feel like I am becoming obsolete as a parent.
yeah I guess that you have reached the next stage where you kind of look at yourself again rather than take care of everyone else.
I guess that would not be an easy change for people, I know that my mum had a hard time with it, you have a hard time getting into that role then a hard time getting out of it that role. If that makes sense.
It sure does!
I am going into that role, and I am trying to be a little less selfish and trying to get into that, parenthood is a rollercoaster that is for sure!
Playing solo with your guitar is your most comfortable mode and you love breaking hearts if you can. You are Canadian living in Byron Bay with your accent, I am pretty sure that is in your favour as well.
I read that… then I read that you were married with a kid!
Yeah it is weird hey! I guess I meant like breaking hearts in like sadness and tension I guess. Maybe I should change that!!!
Yeah add a couple of words after that in your bio lol
Yeah I meant making people feel more emotions in the set. (both laughing)
That is like the main goal for me playing solo, like tonight, it is how I like to have it.
Have you worked with Pete Murray before? Three months touring and 27 shows is a fair sized tour!
I have actually, my first EP I released in Australia he played on it, he has been instrumental in my career actually. Anytime I have a question about something or I have a tour or something like that he is always there to back me so it is really really good.
It is so good to have a heavy weight in your corner like a young fighter if that makes sense so it sort of works along those lines, it is sort of a huge blessing, as soon as I moved here I got to know Pete pretty well so it was sort of like good, he has ben such an amazing dude ever since. It has been great.
Thanks heaps for your time, I wish you all the best for your album and tour.
As we ran out of time I agreed to interview Garrett again after his tour. I look forward to that and seeing him at his show in Melbourne.
You can purchase his album here
Like him on facebook here
Written by Jen Rees