“some songs have themes which stretch further into my past, but the majority are about my new life and love in Australia… it’s basically a personal diary of manhood and letting go.”
Two years in the making, Garrett Kato's That Low and Lonesome Sound is the latest from this impressive folk singer/songwriter. Written largely about his relocation from Canada to Byron Bay, Garrett followed the release up by opening for Pete Murray's National tour, running from October to the start of December.
Garrett's willingness to tweak and fine tune his tracks at his home studio is rewarded with the richly dynamic EP. An album that is as heartfelt as it is moving, this new feather is making Kato one very fine hat.
You've always been introduced to me as, at least on paper, as Canadian born singer. Is it important to you that people know your home country?
It's more the fact [that] when I speak, my accent is Canadian, so it saves some explaining later on for people. I do love my home country and often miss the place, but Australia is honestly God's country and has been so far very kind to me.
When and why did you decide to leave Canada for Byron Bay?
I left for Australia in 2010 for just a little holiday away from Vancouver. I met my brother in Byron Bay and he had arranged a room for me at a share house. The first day at the house I met the girl from across the hall. Now five years later everything has changed, I have a home studio I work out of and tour and we have a 1 year old at home. Life is crazy.
Was there anything that you found unexpectedly difficult about relocating such a long way?
The hardest part is not having family around. You don't really think about it while you are relocating, but the circumstances can be often challenging for a young father trying to navigate through that on the other side of the planet.
You recently released your new sound, That Low and Lonesome Sound, can you explain the title to me? Why is it a low and lonesome sound?
This album is basically a concept about my relocation to Australian. During the five years in Australia I've gone through any different phases of life and have grown into manhood. That Low and Lonesome Sound is a narration of the past few years and deals with my biggest challenge and change in my life. So I am kind of the low and lonesome sound.
I know you recorded between two different studios, but why was this album in the works for two years before its release?
I recorded the majority of the of the record myself at my home studio. By doing this it gave me unlimited time to demo and explore every possibility of the songs. It was a liberating experience and also exhausting as my expectations were very high and if a song wasn't something I knew I was 100% proud of, I'd cut it. I think I recorded close to twenty-five songs for this record.
If I could only listen to one track off the album, which would you recommend to me?
Depends on the listener, but for me the most well rounded track is Ghost Town. It's about my home town of Port Coquitlam, which is famous for only one thing... The most notorious serial killer in Canadian history. The man lived about 5km away from me and the town is more or less a beautiful place with darker shades about it.
You've played a lot of shows recently - both your own and as the opening act for Pete Murray - what is the major difference between opening and headlining?
Headlining a show is really great, but it's more pressure to give the fans an amazing show and I stress about it sometimes. Opening for Pete has been amazing. The shows and crowds are the best shows I've ever played. It feels like a dream when I'm on the stage in front of huge crowds in beautiful venues. So to answer your question, I prefer opening for Pete at this point in my career!
Have you met Pete before? Why do you think your music will work as his opening slot?
I've known Pete for about five years. I was playing at the Treehouse and met him there, we hung around after the show and passed around guitars with Mikey B from MT Warning and sang songs..it was a great night. So far the crowds on the tour have been overwhelmingly amazing during my sets. Pete and myself have a similar singing style..[I'm] really digging my set. I'm one lucky dude.