THEAUSSIEWORD.COM’s special interview with Australian artist Katanak.
How and where did it all begin for you? What drew your interest to the music industry?
A: I’ve been infatuated with music ever since I was old enough to talk. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing and what I want to do as a career if I can. I went to Music Industry College for 11 & 12 and it all started for me there. I’d always been fascinated by the recording and engineering side of things but never thought I was good enough to write and play music live. One day my high school principal came to me and asked if I wanted to write a song for the schools album that was being put together as a fundraiser. I thought why not and put a pretty alright song together and it was included in the mix. I just loved the whole process so much that it really shifted my interest into the writing and playing side of things.
What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music?
A: Honestly I’m just on a quest to be better than I was yesterday, in music and in life. I want to make music my career so I’m writing whenever I get the time. I like to finish daily goals to keep me on track with my practise and my general life. I’m also currently taking singing lessons and that is a whole journey that I could talk for hours on. It’s had a lot of ups and downs and it is currently taking all my brain power.
What are some of your biggest goals you hope to accomplish?
A: The biggest goal in my musical career would be to get to the UK and play. To me that would be when I can say to myself that I can see I’m going somewhere. Until then I will push to become one of the best musicians and writers I can.
What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour?
A: The next couple of months I will be focused on more song writing. With the border closures and constant changes, I’m not at a level in my career that I can afford to cross the border and get caught out.
Early next year is when the fun really begins.
Tell us a bit about your latest release and how would you best describe your music?
A: I think that my style of writing is hard to define. Definitely blogs are having trouble pigeonholing me and I don’t seem to fit into many of them. I’ve written indie pop, pop, modern rock, surf rock and my latest is indie rock / alt rock. I tend to write however I’m feeling at the time.
I wrote Pinch Grip after watching a friend fall under the spell of someone who wouldn’t commit to a relationship but wasn’t willing to let them go. It was hard to watch that going on and he couldn’t seem to do anything about it. Just as he‘d decide to make the move away she’d ‘pop up to say hello’. Indie rock / alt rock just really suited the mood of the track.
Pinch Grip is a favourite for the crowd and to play live at my gigs. I’ve got this awesome guitar intro that is dirty, throbbing and just sets the tone. It’s just a lot of fun with energy to burn. In fact, I’m releasing the intro version on 15thOctober. I love the intro version and think you will as well. I hope that people get to hear it.
Give us an insight into your creative process. What gets you writing songs?
A: To write songs I have to feel really inspired. I find it hard to just sit down and write if I’m not really feeling something. It makes the music I write way more creative in my opinion when I just have the urge and the inspiration to write.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
A: I would love to give you some fancy answer and wax lyrical, but no. I write what I would like to listen to and I’m pretty upfront. Pop music has a heap of innuendos in it and at this point in time I don’t really sing about any of that stuff.
Success, what is the secret to it?
A: Success is being happy with where you are currently. I was in a job until recently that was pretty much sucking the life out of me and I wasn’t feeling really successful. Music was the only thing getting me through.
What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
A: I’ve had a few career highlights in my short time as a musician but honestly, getting to open for Pete Murray in 2019 was up there because he’s been one of my all time favourite artists since I even knew what music was. It was incredible standing up on stage in front of 1,500 people. I’ve looked at the photos from that day and you could not have wiped the smile from my face.
Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring?
A: I don’t really look up to any artists in their personal endeavours but Matty Healy from the 1975 and Luke Hemings from 5sos really are my inspirations for how I write and how I’m learning to sing. They are just insanely well practised and talented and I would kill to have a quarter of their talent.
Are there any new projects in the pipeline?
A: I’ve currently got a heap of unreleased music that just needs to get out there but I’m going to release them single by single. For someone at my level I can’t afford to record an album or EP so I’m sticking with singles.
Keep your eyes and ears out for some awesome music.
The music industry is constantly changing, where do you see yourself a few years?
A: Hard to say with the way everything is changing, but I am working hard towards playing some bigger stages with my awesome band. I’d like to also include travelling the world playing my own style of music because that’s what I love to do.
What is your favourite and least favourite part about this line of work and why?
A: I love every minute of the songwriting and the gigging. Unfortunately there is also the admin side that goes with releasing and as any musician or business owner will tell you, it’s damn hard keeping on top of it. I’ll also say that it can be quite hard receiving those emails that decline your work or even not getting a response at all. I’m lucky that I’m able to brush it off most of the time but there are moments it can get to me, especially if it’s been a day that just hasn’t gone right. You start to wonder just what you have to do to get your music to a listeners ears.
Name a few of your favourite Australian artists.
A: Pete Murray is all the way at the top and next is 5sos and then Powderfinger.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
A: Getting your music out there has become way easier but now you’re competing against literally everyone with a laptop and a DAW. In a way it’s actually become harder to get noticed. The back story seems to be everything.
I think there are changes that should happen in the Australian music industry and that would start with supporting local talent. Our main radio stations aren’t doing enough to support Australian music and musicians at my level don’t have many other places to go in Australia. Of course there are some artists who are finding support and it makes a very big difference to a growing awareness of them in Australia. I also feel that certain genres are maligned in Australia and that makes it hard when that’s the type of music you like to write – and let’s face it, people do like to listen to those genres but aren’t getting the opportunity.
I’m thankful I’ve found huge support with online stations who are happy to play my music. They don’t care what you are as long as the song is good. That’s the way it ought to be.
How will you continue appealing to the international market?
A: I’m writing music that appeals to people across the board but I think that in particular it might just suit an international market more. Only for the fact that international people may have more of a chance to find me. I’ll keep up trying to get it out there! I’ve had lots of comments from people who find my music and say they are happy to hear something different from everyone else. This means a lot and does spur me on to keep going. I just have to keep writing songs that people want to hear and sing along to.
Do you collaborate with others? Who is on your wish-list?
A: I have done quite a few song writing sessions with other artists and writers. Mostly local or Australian musicians but I have just recently written with someone from Canada. I would be keen to write with more international musicians as it’s always good to have a different perspective.
My all time hit list would be Matty Healy and Luke Hemings because like I said earlier, they really inspire me to better myself as an artist.
What advice do you give for other artists wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Hone your admins skills, haha. Actually I don’t know if I’m the best person to ask as I’m still trying to work it all out myself.
A message for your fans. How do you best interact and respond with your followers and fans?
I find Instagram the best platform to interact with fans and I love to get your comments and messages. You have no idea how good it makes a musician feel to get a comment or message from someone who says they listen to your music so don’t hold back if you like something.
I do like to thank people for following me and mostly the response is total surprise that a musician is contacting them. They’ve admitted that they have messaged artists before and received nothing back so they love the fact I chat to them. I will definitely respond so jump on and say hey!
Any last words?
Just take a chance to and listen to someone’s music. If you like it, tell one or two other people. Word of mouth is a very powerful thing. So I would love you to take a chance by listening to my music and let me know.