Garrett Kato Interview

Artist projects
Jan 2020
Andy Tudehope

Byron Bay’s adopted son - Garrett Kato is what one would call a holistic creative. He tours the world, produces music for other like minded artists, writes and performs with an authenticity that is undeniable and consumingly lovely. With the turn of the new decade he has now decided to start it with a bang by teaming up with none other than Australia’s folk sweetheart - Julia Stone. 

"Breathe It In" is about meeting someone when you’re messed up. Julia and I carved out a narrative of a couples deteriorating life together from substance abuse; ultimately coming down to a choice: the substance or the relationship," says Kato on the single, which kicks off his 2020 after a streak of singles last year. "We spent two days together writing in my tiny house in Byron Bay two years ago. She was in Byron recording the Snow record with Angus and had a few days off. We were total strangers on the first day of writing so we spent a lot of time getting to know one another.

Garrett, It is really lovely to have a chat with you. Thank you for taking the time. How are you and how is life in Northern New South Wales going? 

Life is peachy in the northern rivers, can’t say the same for the rest of this beautiful country unfortunately. But currently I’m taking some time off in the Pacific Northwest. It's snowing right now. 

What is the current state of the music scene like there at the moment in your opinion? There always has been some seriously good music coming out of there but it seems to be really growing in the last 12 months. 

Byron Bay in particular is a real melting pot of talent and driven songwriters that showcase their songs on the streets. Being a producer in the area it’s almost unbelievable how many talented people from all over the country come to cut their teeth here and allow me to capture their songs. It’s a special time here for sure. 

You are often on tour and your Instagram content is always extremely enjoyable at these times. If the music stops interesting you, I am sure you can always get your own travel show. Do you have a favourite place to perform in the world?

I’m in love with Vienna at the moment, me and Riley Pearce recently played there and had a magical show. Hahaha thanks I do love to travel, never thought of being a travel host, but perhaps one day! 

And how about outside of music. Do you just have a favourite place to be?

I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada so that’s my favourite place to be to switch off and see family and friends. The mountains there are good for the soul. 

Do you remember what it was that triggered your initial interest in music? Was there a moment or a person who did it for you?

Most family get togethers my uncle would hammer out some Beatles tunes on the piano and the family would watch and sing. It was my first brush with live music and I thought it was almost like magic how it made me feel. 

Your music finds itself perfectly nestled within easy listening folk. It is mid-tempo, with vocals that caress the soul and guitar work that is extremely well versed. Did you naturally fall into this genre or was it an area of music that you always intended to write within? 

Thanks for your kind words, I often think it has a lot to do with your natural demeanour. As much as I love music from all walks of life I think it’s wise to write music that suits you as a person. I’m not a hugely social person so the more introverted styles of my genre really fit the way I see the world. 

You are not only writing lovely music but are also contributing to the scene through your production work that has involved acts such as Ziggy Alberts, Riley Pearce and Harrison Storm. What is it about this side of music the compels you? 

I love creating things regardless if I’m the creator or the collaborator. It’s been a real privilege to see how these incredible artists craft their songs and how they see the world through their stories.

Breathe It In is a beautiful track and you pulled in an amazing collaboration with Julia Stone. How did this one come about? 

I’m friends with her manager and he set it up last minute. We had never met before so I was a little nervous initially. She is so sweet and has a very honest way with writing which was both inspiring and refreshing. She’s the real deal. 

Favourite: Movie (the one that you can watch over and over?)

I love the movie “there will be blood” by PTA it’s so good.

Breakfast food?

An açai bowl is a great vibe, particularly in summer. 

Thing to do on a day off?

Hang with my family, I have two daughters and they pretty much soak up any time I have away from music. 

Music to listen to right now?

It’s a bit all over the place, been loving Bon Ivers new record and also into Rex Orange County and my mate Kyle Lionhart's record. 

Outfit to wear?

I live in Blundstone boots and some type of tee shirt with jeans. Maybe the odd dad outfit for going to the beach ha. 

What is the best meal you can make? 

I’m honestly a terrible cook. Like. Terrible. 

What are you most looking forward to in 2020? 

I’ve got so much music to release this year so I’m excited to get it out to the world. It’s going to be a big one!!