We sat down with international DJ, KATO, to talk about his new summer anthem and what’s next for 2017.
Who influences you musically?
Both my dad and my brother have had great influence on my musical upbringing. My brother dragged me to concerts during my childhood and teenage years and that gave me a taste for alternative music. My father was a drummer back in the happy sixties but he gave up his musical dream to get a regular job and provide for his family. When my father died I promised myself that I would take a risk and go for it as a practicing musician.
When was the precise moment you realised you could make a career in music?
When I was 18, I dropped my education and started my life as a club DJ and musician. Though it raised some eyebrows with my family and friends, I continued because I didn ́t want to waste my time with an education I didn ́t like. The first years were extremely hard, but I was successful in making a career as a club DJ and that gave me freedom to produce music with dedication.
Describe your style?
I have often been asked what genre my music belongs to. I don ́t know. I love to mix different genres and for me, contrasts are essential. Music must never be too plain and predictable. I think I suffer from music ADHD.
You’ve recently collaborated with Sigala and Hailee Stanfeld for your new track, ‘Show You Love’. How did the collaboration come about?
I have worked with the fantastic songwriter, Grace Tither, several times now and when she played me a demo of “Show You Love”, which she had made with Sigala, (though it was a demo), I knew it had potential. I asked if I could play with it and we started to send the music to each other until it was perfect.
How were they to work with?
For me this was a new way. I like to work in a studio together with songwriters and artists but with “Show You Love” we had to send the track back and forth to each other. This process opened my eyes to that kind of work. It takes a lot of time but all the partners can explore and try new ideas before they present it to the others. We made the track before Sigala was even Sigala, but at that time he was already extremely talented. Hailee joined us in the end of the process, and her participation was a wonderful spice, which completed the track. Unfortunately, I didn ́t manage to record her vocal in the studio but when I received the mail with her vocal it didn ́t matter because the sound was just perfect!
Do you have any more exciting collaborations in 2017?
I ́m busy with sessions with a lot of different artists. I travel a lot and I work with both established artists and talented songwriters. I ́m really excited to see reactions on the new material when it comes out. In addition to that, several remixes will be released so 2017 will be a great year!
If you could collaborate with one artist/band, past or present, who would it be?
I have a dream about listening to Bono on a tuneful house track. He is a legend! I love contrast and his rocking voice will be a cool contrast in a house track.
What was the inspiration behind the track?
Musically we tried to catch the summer-feeling with the marimba and the piano and also the club-feeling with the bass-line. There is the contrast again. The lyrics are about wanting love from another person and then daring to give yourself to them 100%. You can ́t expect people to invest their life in you if you ́re not willing to do the same.
What does a typical day in the life of KATO look like when you’re not creating music?
Everything in my life is about music. But many other exciting things happen when you are a musician. Days pass by with coordinating and preparing shows, planning new singles, remixes for other artists and so on. Every day is different and new challenges appear.
Are you playing or attending any festivals this year?
I ́m going on a festival tour back home in Denmark. I have played at festivals the last six years and though I have international ambitions with my music, it is still important for me to play in Denmark. It is my Danish fans who backed me from the beginning and it would be wrong if I didn’t perform continuously in Denmark. My biggest show this year will take place in Tivoli in Copenhagen Friday the 9th of May.
What’s your festival outfit of choice?
Nothing but sunglasses.
Are you going on a lad’s holiday this year? If so where?
Mostly a lad ́s holiday turns into work because we always bring a small setup to jam on. Some of my best tracks I have started on a laptop under the sun in Turkey. I go there 3-4 times a year to see so me good friends. It is my oasis and where I get new energy. I usually go there to relax but I always bring new tracks home. I come from a country where we have very few sunny and warm days so when I go to sunny Turkey, things happen. I get new and different ideas than the ideas I get in my studio.
Being an international DJ, you’ve played sets all over the world. How do the crowds compare to with countries?
I think the Danish crowd is the best! The crowd has been there from the beginning, and the Danes are rowdy when they party. I have also played in the south of Europe a lot. People from all over the world go on vacation in Spain, Turkey, Bulgaria, Italy. It is really magic to play on a beach filled with so many different nationalities gathered for the same purpose. That gives you a feeling of belonging to each other even though we come from different places.
Where and when is your most memorable DJ set and why?
My first festival show at the biggest Danish festival “Smukfest” was unique. I was the first DJ to be a name at a Danish festival, and to close the show (next to Roskilde) was the biggest moment in my career in Denmark. People were skeptical, but luckily the show was perfect and six years later people still talk about that show.
Where and when is the most memorable set you’ve ever seen and why?
Some years ago, I warmed up for Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso at a club in Oslo. I had seen them play at big clubs and festivals before but this time they played very relaxed in a small club, and that was a great experience. They are wonderful craftsmen and I respect them. They tore the crowd apart and played more ‘techy’ than I ever heard before.
What’s your drink of choice on a night out?
Vodka / Soda and a splash of lime.
Being an experienced DJ, can you give any advice to those wanting to make it as a DJ?
You must really want it! You can ́t become a great dj overnight. It takes many hours of practice to learn the technique but it takes years to learn to read the crowd. That is an art and you can ́t fake it if you want to be a successful club DJ. I have been playing since I was 12 years old, but I was 25 years old before I was chosen as the best DJ in Denmark. I was a nominee for 5 years before I won. You have to be able to turn defeat into energy if you want to be successful in this business.
Describe yourself in three words?
Nerd, sensitive and stubborn.
Check out KATO’s new collaboration track with Sigala and Hailee Steinfield: