Back in 2007 in Tempe, Arizona, four very different, yet similar friends got together to play some music and created the musical ear candy that is now Katastro. After working the music scene in Arizona to the point the band opened for renowned alt -hip hop band, Dirty Heads, Katastro picked up a fantastic opportunity to tour with Pepper. Following that wildly popular tour, the group was then signed by Pepper’s label LAW Records. The bands’ second album, Strange Nights, was even produced by Pepper co-frontman Kaleo Wassman and Mike Sutherland (Pepper, Dokken, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Slightly Stoopid, Pennywise). One of the album’s hit singles, “Waste The Night”, further features Jared Watson of Dirty Heads.
“We are just oozing out whatever comes into our brain when we are in the room together and then that… is Katastro.”
With the extreme success of their albums, the band has had the opportunity to tour with more greats, like 311, Stick Figure, The Expendables, Awolnation and Tomorrows Bad Seeds. Their incredible energy and stage presence, combined with their impressive mix of rock/funk/blues and hip hop, have them also gracing festival stages, like One Love Cali Reggae Fest and Cali Roots — growing their fan base exponentially.
Needless to say, I was excited to have the chance to catch up with the guys in the middle of their Live from Paradise Tour with Iration, Pepper and Fortunate Youth in the Irvine, CA. We chatted about tour life, collaborations, the new album Tropical Heartbreak and more! Check it out…
With your vast and incredible music style, what were your musical influences growing up?
- Katastro: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Atmosphere, Incubus, Hieroglyphics… a lot of hip hop ‘Bay Area Rap Shit’.
How have those bands influenced you today?
- They don’t… [Laughter]. Well, they definitely do, because they’re rooted in the way we play music, I guess. But, I think over the years, all of us have evolved — especially with streaming music. The four of us are always listening to so much different stuff. I think the difference is, now, we are coming into our own. We’re not really trying to emulate anything anymore. We are just oozing out whatever comes into our brain when we are in the room together and then that… is Katastro.
It totally comes through. So, who are your current musical influences that have helped shape the new album?
- Everybody! Saba rapper from Chicago. He’s on Dreamville… J Cole’s label. A lot of rap and hip hop. We’re all over the place… some music sharing from group chats. Freddie Gibbs. I’m obsessed with his new album; he’s a really cool rapper. A lot of James Blake and weird R&B shit. Some Waylon Jennings. Nothing that relates to what we are doing now.
But, it must feed your soul and your thoughts in some way.
- I think that’s a huge reason why we make some unique music; it’s because of that in general. The four of us being interested in different things at different times creates, you know, something new.
Did Kaleo and Mike assist in producing the new album, Tropical Heartbreak?
- No, they were on Strange Nights with us. On this album, we worked with Rome from Sublime on one song… Colton Avery, a songwriter we’ve known for a while from back home in Arizona. We did like four or five songs with them and then went to a cabin and wrote the rest ourselves.
You’ve been performing live for a while now. What have been some of your favorite places?
- Oh, they are all different. But, Pier 17 in New York… [there’s] something about playing on a rooftop. And, Red Rocks. No question.
The best part of the interview, I have to say, is when we were discussing musical influences and how the church was a significant influence, when, all of a sudden, Andy Chavez busts into his church rap! UNBELIEVABLE! Maybe, if we try hard enough, we can convince him to sing it onstage! Be sure to catch the boys on the Tropical Heartbreak Tour NOW with Bikini Trill in a city near you.