It’s been a little over two weeks since Katastro dropped their first release since Sucker, a single memorializing Andy Chaves’ legacy using vocals he recorded days before his untimely death. The sanguine “Good Time” took almost a year and a half from start to finish– a journey punctuated by intense emotional reprieve and completed through the steadfast brotherly love some regular dudes share for their best friend.
From Andy’s rough vocal demos, drummer Andrew Stravers (aka Stravs) recorded in May of 2022 at the Dirty Heads studio with Jared Watson and Duddy B, to the final cut released on October 27, “Good Time” was a long-winded labor of love and a timely giver of hope to Gentle Predators everywhere.
Top Shelf Music sat down recently with Stravs to talk about how this little ray of sunshine of a song came to life and the many stages of growth it went through. Stravs explains that “Good Time” was made in three major chunks and It all began with an open invitation from Jared Watson.
“Over the years Jared had mentioned to me on previous tours or just in passing like, ‘yo, if you guys ever want to hop in the room and write some hooks together let me know’. So we finally hit them up … In May of ‘22, all of us [Katastro], including Andy, rented an AirBnB in southern California and the goal was to continue writing for the new Katastro album. We rented out the studio that Jared and Duddy usually work out of and they showed up and we wrote part of ‘Good Time’ together. It was really just all of us kickin it, having a really good time, catching up because we hadn’t seen each other in a minute.”
Stravs continues, “I believe ‘Good Time’ happened on maybe the first or second day and started with a simple guitar part that Duddy had. Andy and Jared and Duddy started singing together and that’s how they came up with the hook for the song. During that initial session we only tracked Andy’s hook, which technically was a demo take. We most likely would have re-recorded it because it was literally just the demo, but we were in a good studio and everything got recorded well so that’s the take you hear in the song now. I think it was his first or second take, which is kind of a cool little nugget.”
The second chunk happened 3 months after Andy passed, when they opened up the files of his vocals for the very first time.
“The first sessions we ever did after Andy died, we went to Miami, AZ– which is where our other producer who is our longtime friend, collaborator, and mixer, Matt Keller lives. We stayed at his house for a few days and we opened up the sessions [of Andy’s vocals] and we added live drums, more guitars, and beefed up the instrumental of the song.”
Keller produced the five previous Katastro albums and the band considers him a close friend, so they knew that he’d be the right person to help them mentally sort through what was going on. Stravs opened the ProTools session files and they began the tedious and painful process of going through all of Andy’s vocals and ruminated on what was possible, musically, for the future of Katastro.
“We now only have a finite amount of Andy… It was like making music in reverse. We had to reverse engineer how to finish a song, knowing Andy’s not here anymore even though we still have stuff from him, and how can we do that?
That in itself was really heavy. We’re sitting there listening to his voice all day long and oddly enough, it still felt like he was there with us.”
“Jared was like ‘Of course we’re going to help you finish the song’. So we set up that session and went out to California, back to the same studio [as before]- which was kinda crazy– and Jared and Duddy filled in the verses for the song. Because Andy, originally, was supposed to write verses for the song. So they jumped in, and record their verses.
Jared and Duddy went one step further and got in touch with producer Ryan Ogren, who produced the new Dirty Heads album and whose resume includes names like Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5.
Stravs explains, “literally hours before Andy died, we were all sitting at the AirBnB together, really on a high from all the sessions we had been doing and Andy was like, ‘Dude, this is crazy, Jared mentioned that we could maybe work with this producer [referring to Ogren]’. Andy was just really excited to maybe work with this dude eventually.
Fast forward, we’re in the studio after Andy passed away working with this producer that Andy was really excited about potentially working with… Ryan came to that session and tracked Jared and Duddy’s verses and helped us finish the song and bring it to life. He was a really great dude too, super humble and appreciative— telling us it was an honor to work on the song. This led to him working on a few other songs with us.”
Full circle, divine fate, providence, destiny, whatever you want to call it– “Good Time” has it, and not a minute too soon. Listen to “Good Time” on all digital streaming platforms and keep an eye out for the upcoming music video set to drop on today, 11/15/2023 and buy Katastro merch here.