An interview with: Young Kato

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Fighting off the snow on a Friday night to see one of Gloucestershire’s best talents around, I caught up with Cheltenham band Young Kato at their headline tour at Gloucester Guildhall. Touching on their recent appearance on Made in Chelsea, the band also talked about when it’s time to eliminate covers from your set and what advice they offer bands just setting their foundations in the music industry. Oh, and the potential of an album coming out in 2013.

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How does it feel to have a headline tour?

It’s our first tour we’ve ever done so it’s nice to finally get round to it, it’s wicked.

Last time I spoke to you guys was in the summer, what’s been happening in the last six months?

It was weird because Glos Park was the day that we really got a kick in the bum as it was, our manager took us to one side and just said that we need to thrash this set and ever since then we’ve just improved ten fold, we’ve stepped it up completely. After that gig we kind of thought, yeah it went well but there’s stuff we can do to improve our set and make it flow better.

But you’re always looking at ways to improve yourself

Yeah we always criticise what we’ve done, we’re our biggest critics, but I would say that that day was the one that changed it for us, we completely stepped it up, especially the live aspect but we weren’t giving it the credit it deserves, and now here we are and hopefully people will see on stage that we have improved.

How did the tour come about? Has it been in the pipeline for a while?

It’s one of the things we wanted to do. We’ve played a lot of London shows and one of the things we picked up was an agent, so through that we were able to book more gigs. He said what do you want to do, and we said that it would be good to head out on our own tour and go to places that we have never been to. We’ve been no further north than Birmingham and no further south than London. It’s interesting to look at the ticket sales in places like Nottingham and Leicester. It’s to do with the powers of the internet too because we’ve got ticket sales from places we haven’t played before, it’s a start.

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As you were featured on Made in Chelsea do you think that helped you pick up a new fan base?

Definitely. We did a show in London the other week and a girl came up to us and was like I saw you a few days onto on Made in Chelsea and came just on the back of the programme.

How did that collaboration come about then?

Through the women in the production team at Made in Chelsea, she got hold of our EP and it just went from there. For a small band like us to be on the show it’s weird because it’s mainly big bands and we absolutely love the tracks that they play.

It’s nice that people take the time to hunt you down after the show and want to find out more about you.

It’s good because they’ve got a Spotify set up too so you can listen to every song in full. It’s cool because you can find all these new bands that have the same kind of vibe.

So you started off your headline tour in Bristol on Thursday, how was the first show?

It was wicked. We thought it would be a bit like blowing off the cobwebs but it went really well and there was a great turnout. It’s been two weeks of solid rehearsal so we just wanted to do it. We love going to Bristol, it’s like our second home and we pulled in over 200 people last night, easily, in the o2 side room. It looked really packed and healthy, everyone was up for it and we had a great night. We haven’t been to Bristol for a while now and the fact that we’re still getting all the fans down is brilliant.

Is there going to be any new material we’ll be hearing tonight?

Yeah loads. The thing is, to us it’s not new but obviously we’ve only got like five songs on the internet, there’s one song we are playing which is actually new and about a month old. But to everyone else a lot of it will be new, there are about five tracks which aren’t online. For a headline set it’s short and sweet but we wanted it to be to the point. We play what we want on tour and we think that we’ve moulded a really good set together and rigorous practice sessions to form a set that flows, it should be a good night.

Are there any covers in the set?

No it’s all original stuff. It’s important for bands to find a time when you surpass the covers stage if you know what I mean. It’s great for bands to do covers because people know what you sound like, who your influences are, and then they can compare the two songs and find who you are. But now, because we write all the time it’s easier for us to not do covers. It would be harder for us to do a cover and learn it now, we’re better off writing our own songs. Luckily they go down really well so we might as well just keep going on.

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So your self entitled EP is out now, is there any news of an album coming out in the future?

That’s one of the things that’s quite hush hush at the moment, an album is 100 per cent in the pipeline and definitely will happen within the next year or so, so it’s just down to when the time is right. We don’t want to rush into it, but there are definitely plans.

And are we hoping to see some of the stuff on the album being played tonight?

I think the album material is all there tonight it’s just a case of dropping or adding a few songs, it’s pretty much there.

How have people been taking your new song break out?

It’s gone really well. We had the Vevo promotion as well which was really cool so it’s pushed it out even more. Say if I searched for The Maccabees Pelican, one of the recommended tracks would be us in the corner with this horrible shot of me with paint all over my face, it was cool to see it and it got us to that extra 30ks after the first release. To get 60 odd thousand views it can only go up from there.

How’s everything going with Lab Records? (The label that Young Kato are signed to)

We wanted to put out an EP and that was what we signed for and was something we wanted to do under a label and now we’ve done that. The guys are really good, they gave us total freedom with the EP and they said to us from the very beginning that they will be our stepping stone to build this organically and get the fans in slowly, bit by bit, and then get that nationwide audience. They’ve done really well and we’d recommend any band to go straight to Lab Records if they wanted to release something like that, if they’ll take it.

For bands that aren’t signed but want to be at the level you are, what advice would you give them?

Don’t worry about getting signed, we’ve always said that getting a label has been kind of a bypass to making what we think is good music. You don’t start a band to sign a record deal. All the perks of a headline tour and stuff like that, the centre of the audience is the craft of your song writing and you hone in on that, everything else will just follow on, it’s the song writing that you’ve really got to focus on. Everyone can do things in their own way, there’s no strict rules on how you can work your band. There’s no bible that says this is how you make it to the top, you’ve just got to find your own way. We’re slowly but surely, as we believe in ourselves, climbing up and we know it’s going to take time and we know that we could have part time jobs for a while, but we don’t have the pride to be knocked we just love being in a band and we just take every day as it comes.

Young Kato are currently on their headline tour which comes to an end in Cheltenham next week. Check them out at www.facebook.com/weareyoungkato

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