He swapped the cold for the beaches of Byron Bay a few years ago, so it’s only fair we begin claiming Canadian-bred songwriter Garrett Kato as our own. Currently on tour around the country with Pete Murray, Kato recently took some time out to tell the AU about how touring has treated him so far, his new album That Low and Lonesome Sound and more!
Your album has been in the works for two years, did your idea for how it should sound change over that time or was it just a matter of perfecting the songs you had?
The main idea was to have as much freedom as possible while writing and producing the songs. Prior to this record, I had a more genre specific approach to records and liked having a flow for the work. So [for] this record, I scrapped a lot of songs and refined songs two or three times just to get the right takes and feeling in the track.
You mentioned you kept adding to the songs over the recording time, how have you translated that to a live setting, where you only have one shot at a song?
Playing solo on this tour with the record has been great. I wrote all of these songs alone with just a guitar and nothing else and generally, I will only record a song if it’s great from the bare bones stages of melodies and chord changes. So the songs translate pretty easily to the singer songwriter mode.
The album is about letting go of your past, so do you now see yourself as more of an Australian or Canadian? How do you think it reflects in your music?
On this particular record, the relocation was huge. I’ve been in Australia for five years now and it’s been a battle between the two. At the end of the day I’ll always be Canadian, but I have a huge respect for Australia and its people, it’s the best plan B in the world.
The video for the new single is much different to the videos for the singles from your EP, the visual story is much more subtle compared to the others, what was the reason for the change in style?
[Laughs] Honestly… mainly budget. I find videos really challenging to make believable. If I didn’t have to do them, I don’t think I’d really bother. Not my strongest point.
You’re playing nonstop for about three months, have you ever undertaken such a huge workload?
I’ve been playing lots of shows locally prior to this, but the amount of travel is something I’m still getting used to. It’s extremely fun and exhausting to be meeting so many awesome people and seeing all these great places. I get stops back at home for a few days here and there, but it honestly feels like I’m in a crazy dream when I’m touring with Pete Murray.
How differently do you think about what you’re going to play between your solo shows and opening for Pete Murray? Is there a different mood you aim for?
On the road in general I try to be super respectful on stage and off stage. Being an opening act, you are getting probably the most valuable gift from an artist… the audience. So each night I give it 100% and never go over time and try to help out as much as possible.
Pete Murray was a dominating force in Australian music in the mid 2000s, did you know much about him before your move here?
I had heard of him, I think around 2010? But being from Canada, I’m pretty oblivious to most Australian rock stars. Like when I was busking and Kasey Chambers bought a CD and tagged me on Facebook. I looked at my phone and was like, “5000 likes? Wtf?” Showed my Australian partner and she said “It’s bloody Kasey Chambers, you idiot!”
What’s next for you? Any plans to record a new release after this mammoth tour?
For sure. I’ve got a few songs in the pipe at the moment I’m working through and hopefully I can have something sooner than two years from now. But I don’t like rushing things, so let’s hope I get my act together!
GARRETT KATO TOUR DATES | Supporting Pete Murray
October 24th | Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide | TICKETS
November 11th | Spirit Bar, Traralgon | TICKETS
November 12th | Hallam Hotel, Hallam | TICKETS
November 13th | The Wrest Point, Hobart | TICKETS
November 14th | Launceston Country Club | TICKETS
November 19th | Depot on Beaumont, Newcastle | TICKETS
November 20th | Waves, Wollongong | TICKETS
November 22nd | The Basement, Sydney | TICKETS
November 26th | Mona Vale Hotel, Mona Vale | TICKETS
November 27th | Entrance Leagues Club, Bateau Bay | TICKETS
November 28th | Playhouse Theatre, Canberra | TICKETS
November 29th | New Albury Hotel, Albury | TICKETS
December 3rd | Harvey Road Tavern, Gladstone | TICKETS
December 4th | Villa Noosa, Noosa | TICKETS
December 5th | Redland Bay Tavern, Redland Bay | TICKETS