T.H.E Interview – KATO

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Platinum-selling Danish DJ and producer KATO joined forces with British hitmaker Sigala for their new single ‘Show You Love’ feat. Hailee Steinfeld.

Check out our chat below where KATO talks about ‘Show You Love’, early musical inspirations and more.

T.H.E – What were your early musical inspirations?

KATO – I come from a musical family. My brother was a bass player and he always took me along to rock concerts, right from a young age. This led to a curiosity for music, including multiple genres, which I still I don’t operate in today. My dad was a drummer back in the 60’s, but he had to give up his musical dreams to support our family. Though I lost my father years ago, I still feel like I’m living out his dreams, in respect to making a career in music.

T.H.E – How does the pop/house music scene in Denmark compare to Europe?

KATO – Denmark is a small country but it’s still difficult for new artists to break through. There’s so much talent in Denmark which is never heard, and as a music-lover it can frustrate me that all of that great music never makes it to the masses. That being said it does feel like more and more Danish artists are starting to work towards an international career though, and with international acts like Lukas Graham and myself the world is starting to look towards Denmark, which is undeniably helping to inspire other Danish artists.

T.H.E – What was the collaboration process with British producer Sigala like?

KATO – Normally I work best by having everyone in the studio together when we write and produce new tracks, this includes the songwriters and producers. But actually ”Show You Love” was the first song I have done where we worked online by sending files back and forth. It has definitely opened my eyes to a new way of working and it was a great pleasure to work with both Sigala and Grace Tither (whom we wrote the song with). Over the years I have worked with a lot of artists and producers and even though we came up with ”Show You Love” before Sigala’s big breakthrough, I was always certain that he had something special inside him. His ear for melody is quite amazing, and the positive and uplifting vibe of his tracks really offers something unique.

T.H.E – Did you find your producing and music styles to be similar or different?

KATO – I am in a period of my career where I often find myself experimenting with different genres, and ways of putting them together. Sigala was still unknown but his style and sound was already there, and it’s undeniable that he opened my eyes to ”UK house with a twist” (as I like to call it).

T.H.E – Was the collaboration with other artists, including vocalist Hailee Steinfield, something you’ve done before?

KATO – Throughout the last 7 years I’ve worked with some of the biggest Danish artists. For example I’ve made a track with Shontelle who made ”Impossible”, and then further afield I’ve released 2 tracks with the infamous Snoop Dogg. So it’s not new for me to work with big names. Of course I’m proud of the people I’ve worked with, but it’s the process and the way new songs are being written which makes me proudest. When you work with so many different artists all the time you can’t just follow the same pattern of how to write a track. Every session is different and people work in different ways, so to me it’s about getting the best out of everyone, even though they might work in a completely different manner to which I do. All of these experiences have developed me both as a musician and also as a person.

T.H.E – What are the benefits with working with other artists than producing singularly?

KATO – In one way I love being alone in the studio and having complete control. It’s that link, and bond with the songwriters where I really feel at my best. In this way I can produce around the song we are writing, and its in this space where I feel ideas develop the quickest. My first idea quickly becomes something else as soon as a songwriter hears it, from which this often gives birth to new ideas in my head. In that way we almost always end up somewhere else then I had initially imagined.

T.H.E – ‘Show you love’ has an abundance of dynamism, energy and electricity – what other key elements stand out in the track?

KATO – I thing we’ve hit a cool combination of summer vibes, by way of the piano together with the marimba, and then the contrast of the bass makes the track a bit more dusty and clubby. With Hailee’s vocals on the top I feel like we hit the perfect combination of optimistic melancholy, the coolness from house music and the catchiness of pop.

T.H.E – What makes ‘Show you love’ unique and different from your previous releases?

KATO – When we first put the record out (in another guise) here in Denmark I felt that the track was a bit too house based for my core fans. Secondly it was also a bit too soon for a UK house track to be released here. I experiment a lot with different sounds anyway but it sometimes takes time for an audience to move along with me, which is perfectly natural of course. I do feel like that this collaboration has opened my eyes to be more in tune with what’s happening in the UK, so stay tuned!

T.H.E – The track is almost in a niche category between ‘pop’ and ‘house music’ – is this style something you’ve done before?

KATO – Definitely. I always try to aim at something which can work in the club, or at a festival, as well as on the radio. It’s tricky, but I feel like that’s where I can separate myself from others. I come from a club environment but over the year’s song writing has become a larger part of my work, and it’s this blend that takes me to the place where I feel my music reaches.

T.H.E – You’ve sold over 40,000 albums to date with over 40 platinum and gold certifications – what do you make of your success to date?

KATO – First of all, these amazing milestones and numbers couldn’t have been possible without a team around me who keeps challenging me. I dream big, and that has always been a great motivator for me, this dream started at 12 years old, and here we are!

When I turned 18 I quit my education to be able to live out the dream of making music for a living. If you want to achieve something I feel you have to be ready to say goodbye to something else in order to focus on it 100%. Of course there’s been up’s and down’s throughout my career and its from these experiences that I believe I have learned a lot. I feel like I’m ready for the next chapter and I’m excited to see how the single will perform, because I have so much new music which I’m so excited to be sharing with you!

T.H.E – As an international artist, how do you plan to capture the UK and beyond?

KATO – I know that it’s modern to have some kind of gimmick in order to separate yourself in the EDM genre, but I strongly believe that my music is strong enough to speak for itself. I put a sincerity into my music that I hope people can feel and hear when I play live. I’m a DJ, geek and a craftsman, and I hope that there’s still room for DJ’s to perform live on the biggest stages, and that they shouldn’t have to send in pre-recorded sets beforehand just so the venue can time visuals and fireworks.

T.H.E – Do you have any upcoming projects in 2017 to share?

KATO – I have tracks ready for a complete album plus change, so I’m really excited to begin releasing a lot of new music. I’m in a bit of a holding-position right now because as long as ”Show You Love” keeps evolving we’ll sit tight with releasing new music. Besides that, there’s a small handful of remixes on ‘Show You Love’ that on their way this summer.

Listen to ‘Show You Love’ here.

Header image courtesy – Morten Rygaard

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