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Interview with Ka tet

Originally published 12/09/2014 on

They say lightning doesn’t strike twice, well I’d beg to differ.  Last year at the Electric Picnic, I stumbled across King Kong Company and my mind was blown.  This year, my mind was blown again!  I wandered in to a small tent in the Minefield area and was treated to one of the best gigs of the weekend.  The band in was Ka tet and I thought to myself, I’ve got to get them on  Well dear reader, I did, and here’s what they have to say for themselves!

Congratulations on a great gig at the Electric Picnic.  It ranked as one of the best sets of the weekend.  Was that your first Electric Picnic festival?
Thanks very much, ya it was our first Electric Picnic and I can safely say our best!  We were actually booked to play the same stage two years previous, but we had to cancel unfortunately.  Delighted that it was ranked as a highlight of the weekend, it was definitely one of the highlights of our career so far, so its good to know the crowd enjoyed it as much as we did.

Ka tet, it’s a rather strange name for a band.  What’s it all about?
It is a strange one alright, makes us sound more exotic… you’d never think a band called Ka tet came from the guts of the west of Ireland!  We’ve actually stolen the name from a Stephen King series of books called ‘The Dark Tower’.  It basically means one from many or like a group of people drawn together by destiny.  Sounds pretty naff, but it does set a tone for us as a group and it’s very much apart of who we are now.  Also, we have gained quite a few fans along the way from the name alone… seems most Stephen King fans love a bit of rock!

For those unlucky enough not to have seen you at the Electric Picnic, can tell us a little about the band, where you guys come from, how you all met and who is who?
Well, we’re all school friends originally.  We all attended secondary school in Ballyhaunis, Co.Mayo which is on the Roscommon/Mayo border.  Ronan (the man behind the kit) is from Roscommon and Kyle on bass and myself Tommy on guitar are both Mayo men.  We formed two years after school and have been together since.  We all relocated to Galway city a few years ago and that’s been our adopted home ever since and we love it!

I’ll get the obvious question out of the way…  Influences, who or what are they?  There seems to be an obvious love of 90s grunge in there and Kyle on bass sounds a lot like Chris Cornell when he lets rip!
Ha, ya well we love any honest to god rock music – Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, Rage Against the Machine, System of a down all that jazz, but we do listen to a lot of other stuff too.  A lot of the newish Irish bands knocking around would be hugely influential on us as we meet them on the circuit a good bit.  Plus the music being produced is better than most of the rubbish we’re exposed to anywhere else.  So not to start name dropping, but And So I Watch You From Afar, Race the Flux, Overhead the Albatross, Axis Of, Two Glass Eyes, We town Criers, Punch Face Champions, Mutefish, Fox Jaw, New Secret Weapon, Meltybrains…. the list goes on of amazing Irish bands, all of which we’re proud to call friends, but apart from that their music is fucking amazing!  So ya they are probably our main influences at this stage.

So how did you Electric Picnic go for you?  Did you get to stay for the weekend and watch some of the other acts?  If so, who impressed you guys?
Electric Picnic was an amazing weekend for us.  Apart from some big issues with moving gear to and from the different stages which resulted in some sore backs the following week, we had ourselves a whale of a time.  We ended up missing a lot of the acts we wanted to see like King Kong Company and Mogwai, but we saw some crackers altogether.  Two of my favourites were Meltybrains at the Body and Soul arena, those boys have their show down to tee and know exactly the message they’re trying to send, delighted to see they wedged the place too… and Bitch Falcon were awesome.  We caught them in the tiny Oxjam tent on Saturday night and they were epic!!!  The bass was too loud, the kit wasn’t mic’d properly and everyone was wasted, but my god those women can make some good noise!

For me, the three best gigs of the weekend all featured Irish acts.  There was yourselves over in the Mindfield area, Jerry Fish in his own tent and King Kong Company at the Salty Dog.  All three of you are very different, but you all had the crowd eating out of the palm of your hand.  Is there a resurgence in the live scene here in Ireland?
HA, I’m not sure if I fed anyone from my hands over the weekend, but it’s nice of you to say all the same.  I definitely think there’s been a huge boom in the talent coming out of Ireland in the last while.  When we started playing, during the ‘BOOM’ era, there was very little going on in the underground scene comparatively.  I remember paying to play downstairs in Eamon Doran’s to 20 people and half of them were other bands.  Today however you’ve got Dimestore, Saucy Sundays and loads more in Dublin, we run a night called ALIVE in the Roisin Dubh in Galway, there’s a huge underground scene up north that’s turning out some great bands and then there’s a heap of bands coming outta Limerick and Cork as well.  Add to that the huge amount of smaller indie festivals that seem to have sprung up this summer!  None of that seemed to be happening five years ago and I think a lot of it is to do with financial collapse.  Before that most artists in Ireland were aiming too high, everyone wanted to get signed and support the Chilli’s at Slane and just like the boom, it was all a pipe dream.  Today though, all the bands are doing it for themselves, everyone is starting their own home grown labels, promoters are building their shows from the ground up and everyone has more respect for each other and I think that respect and DIY attitude has resulted in a resurgence within the Irish music industry of great music.  The difference is that we’re now building on solid foundations and producing well rounded artists all over the country.  Its very exciting to be apart of!

What’s next for Ka tet?  Are you back in the studio any time soon or will you guys be touring around the country?
BOTH!  We released our album ARCADIA last year and that’s done wonders for us (BUY NOW ONLINE HERE ), but the majority of that music was written over 4 or 5 years, since the band formed.  So we’re now back in the studio, we have a new EP ready to record and we’re really excited about releasing it into the public domain.  Its a new sound for us which was bound to happen with a 5 year gap between songs, but we think its still inherently Ka tet.  We’re gonna do all the recording and producing ourselves again, primarily to keep costs down, but also because we want the time and freedom to create the sound we want.  Apart from that we’re constantly gigging around Ireland and we hope to tour the new EP in the first quarter of 2015, and that tour will take in Ireland, the UK, a lot of Europe and all going well we’ll even see some of the states… it’s gonna be a fun time!

We try to wind up our interviews with a few light hearted questions…

What’s the worst lyric you have ever written?
“Through these walls I’ve seen you cry, can I walk or can I fly”…. I immediately regret saying that.

For one night only, you can perform with any artist (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
I’d say Jimi Hendrix but I wouldn’t know what to do only stand there looking like a pleb… so I’m gonna say Rage Against the Machine and I’ll play the drum kit…. dam that’s some good ROCK’N!

What’s your guilty pleasure when it comes to music?  Mine, is the Sugababes (for numerous reasons!)
I’m gonna get a bit of stick, but Paolo Nutini… ‘Iron Sky’ on ‘Caustic Love’ is a bitch’n tune. I even forced Ronan and Kyle to come with me to see him at Picnic…. I know they loved it really.

So, that was Ka tet. If you get a chance to see these guys live, go!  They really do know how to rock. Oh and for more information on Ka tet and what they are up to, check out them out on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and their own website.

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