Canadian-born, Byron Bay-based singer Garrett Kato has released his new album hemispheres today.
The final act to his earlier released EP, s.hemispheres, this album reflects on Kato’s memories and experiences in the southern and northern hemispheres (as the title suggests).
From sombre reckonings on life and vices, like on “Breathe It In”, a collaboration with none other than Julia Stone, to pondering love and lifetimes, like on “68”, hemispheres is rich in soft, guitar melodies and gentle acoustics.
The work itself marks a step-up for Kato in the industry, and explores his transformation from a beloved local name, to an emerging international artist.
Coupled with beautiful and ponderous songwriting, hemispheres explores changes in place, success and every emotion in-between.
Have a read of Garrett Kato’s track-by-track description for hemispheres, and for the full experience, don your headphones and take a listen as well.
“Made by chance. The story starts ten years ago landing on the shores of Australia and building a new life. It’s divided into two parts; life and identity in Canada and a transformation in Australia. Like most stories, there’s still more to go, but for now this is it, this is me.” – Garrett Kato
“I See You”
“I See You” was written by Thelma Plum, Sam Sakr, and myself. Its initial concept was getting lost inside the distractions of society, losing sight of what really matters and what is actually real. In a matter of hours we had almost everything you hear on the finished track.”
“That feeling you get when you see someone who was once so close but turned into a complete stranger. Almost like you see every part of you that you wish you could change through the eyes of someone else.”
“Like a fading picture, people can often find themselves disappearing from love like it were a faraway planet. Once you realise how far it is to get back, you have to decide if the journey is possible. “Permanently” is a track that asks the question of how much does it take to create permanent love for each other.”
“It’s Easier When You’re Standing There”
“The ones we love the most often are treated with the least care and appreciation. It’s good to remind yourself that although our busy lives can create infinite situations it’s the ones closest to you that will give you greatest victories and stay with you through your hardest times.”
“Everyone has their own unique relationship with the night sky. Growing up in Canada I’d find peace looking to the sky. It felt so big that anything I was worrying about didn’t seem so important anymore. Upon moving to Australia I felt I traded one life for another. It’s hard to not compare the life you once had to the one you’re living now. Now when I see the sky, the only part I can recognise is the moon. It’s the only piece of that previous life I can take with me.”
“Bringing a child into this world is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. It also was the point of no return to the life I once had in Canada. This song chronicles the inner struggle of shaping and providing for my existence in a foreign country.”
“This track was co-written by Dave Novak of Australian band Polish Club. His roots were fundamentally rock’n’roll so we created something outside my regular comfort zone. The song asks the question – ‘how much is too much for a life in music’? With its ups and downs and sacrifices of lifestyle we are forever climbing the mountain.”
“Friends” “I was listening to lots of Motown classics whilst writing and recording this track. I wanted to achieve a song with a simple playful message about wanting to have something more with a friend.”
“The inspiration for “Control” was the basic idea of letting go. So many times in my life I would question why things occur the way they do. Some find comfort in Gods while others find safety in a salary with benefits. I’m learning to be comfortable with the simple idea we can’t control our own existence. The unknown is scary, but can often unveil the deeper meanings of life.”
“I wanted to write a positive song that hopefully made people feel good. It was actually more difficult to write than I had imagined, so I took a moment to be thankful for everything I had and remembered that I wouldn’t have anything without this one person. She’s the mother of my two children and my best friend in life so I wrote this for her. It’s our little story of how we met and how I came to be here in Australia, living the life I have now.”
“Breathe It In feat. Julia Stone”
“I met Julia the day we wrote this track. The song started from a voice memo of a melody from her phone. It was a unique experience as we unravelled ourselves into the song and dived deep into our personal lives creating it. The song follows a story of substance abuse railing against a relationship that isn’t surviving because of it. It’s such a familiar story that is underplayed in our culture with an expectation to follow a lifestyle that isn’t sustainable.”
“Holding on to You”
“Our lives are fundamentally built on connections with each other and often these will dictate the course of our lives. I wrote this song with this philosophy in mind and how we can create our own world with the ones we share it with. In this case it’s the other side of the coin, where you know this connection you have is toxic and volatile for you, but it seems better than not having them at all. Like all addictions, that can take control of our lives, people can be the most powerful and damaging.”
“Take It Slowly”
“This song is the oldest of the collection. I had my daughter in mind when writing it. Life is an ever-changing landscape of emotions and challenges, but if you’re lucky your family grows with you. Starting my own little family across the world from my home I began to realise this more. It takes a lot to start over in another part of the world and it comes with its fair set of challenges, but sometimes these challenges are the only things that keep you where you’re meant to be.”
“I have never written a more specific song in my life. For the first time, I chronologically mapped out the story and told it in a new way. My performance was captured live with one mic and I built the surrounding landscape of sounds around it. It’s one of the rawest tracks I’ve released and I’m proud I kept it with all its little imperfections and subtle moments.”
“Moon (Live Acoustic)”
“This song was recorded live in my studio. I only did one take, it has some rough edges and doesn’t sound perfect and tells a different story this way. It’s hard to give away control when producing and this version really embodies that.”
“It’s Easier When You’re Standing There (Live Acoustic)”
“It was a beautiful afternoon and the sun was setting when we recorded this stripped-back acoustic version of the song. My beautiful man Mos was behind the camera and I serenaded him to the best of my efforts.”
hemispheres by Garrett Kato is out now via Nettwerk and can be purchased HERE