GARRETT KATO BIO
Garrett Kato’s internal conversation manifests in his music. His diligent tinkering as a producer, unfiltered candor as a songwriter, and artful arrangements as a creator commune in one open dialogue soundtracked by a delicate synthesis of folk, indie, and alternative. As such, the songs preserve personal memories worth holding onto, ease moments of anxiety and confusion, and provide reprieve. After generating over 180 million streams and captivating audiences worldwide, the Canada-born and Australia-based platinum-certified artist and producer continues to explore this emotional exchange on his 2023 EP for Nettwerk Music Group and much more to come.
“If I had a camera watching me in the studio, you’d think I was borderline insane,” he smiles. “I sit at my desk with my dog, and I talk to myself for hours on end and he stares at me! My brain switches between the technical engineering aspects of tone, EQ, and compression and the philosophical side of songwriting. The guitar tones and drum samples are just as important to the story as the lyrics are. In a film, you need the cinematography as much as you need what the actors are saying. It all creates a feeling.”
Wanderlust brought Garrett from Canada to Byron Bay where he eventually married, started a family, and made a home. Simultaneously, his artistry evolved through careful commitment to the craft. Following 2018’s That Low and Lonesome Sound, his music resonated worldwide via Hemispheres in 2020. “Take It Slowly” surpassed 20 million Spotify streams, while “Breathe It In” [with Julia Stone] generated over 16.4 million Spotify streams. Highlighted by “With You,” his 2022 offering, Small Town Rituals, granted Kato over 1 million Shazam’s maintaining his momentum. Simultaneously, Garrett’s production and songwriting catalog expanded. He collaborated with Ziggy Alberts on the Four Feet in the Forest EP (Platinum in Australia) and Laps Around the Sun (Gold in Australia) and helmed projects for and helmed projects for Budjerah, Kyle Lionhart, Jack Botts, Jem Cassar-Daley, Pete Murray, Steph Strings and Pierce Brothers, to name a few.
After tuning into his acoustic inclinations on Small Town Rituals, he consciously pushed himself sonically and vocally on this latest body of work.
“I was definitely exploring,” he admits. “It opened more possibilities, and the production is aesthetically bigger. I wanted to try something more adventurous and embrace different vibes. I stepped out of the folk singer-songwriter genre and into pop, lo-fi, and old school sounds. Rather
than approaching this as a ‘collection’, I’d finish one song and move onto the next from scratch. Each track grabs a snippet of a moment in time.”
Speaking of, the first single “Losing Touch” layers an ethereal string sample above an understated beat and lightly strummed guitar. Its hummable and hypnotic refrain captivates as he sings, “It’s feeling a hit and run, smoking gun, we were just kids out having fun.”
“It was about losing touch with myself,” he says. “When you hit different ages in life, you reevaluate things. You think, ‘What’s this all about now? Am I not who I used to be?’ It’s a bit dark, but losing touch with yourself could also mean you’re learning more about who you are since you’re discovering new things.”
Then, there’s “Slow Motion.” He examines heartbreak against a backdrop of lithe guitar and warm production.
“It’s essentially a grieving feeling,” he notes. “You can’t get past heartbreak overnight, and time sort of stands still like a car accident in slo-mo. You’re living in the past, which is what grief really is.”
His vocals barely crack a whisper on “Never Alone” as he promises, “Know that you will be never alone in the dark.”
“It’s the idea of having someone in your life forever,” he says. “I was really lonely. Since I’ve lived in Australia for a long time, I hadn’t seen my family in Canada for a long time—especially with the Pandemic. After the songs were done, I visited my brothers and everybody in Canada. I just needed to be around people who had known me for my whole life. When you’re busy, you don’t realize how important that actually is.”
“Changing” ponders the transitory nature of life and his place in the world over a steady beat accented by dreamy instrumentation. “You never know what you’re supposed to be doing in life— no matter how old you are,” he observes. “You’re winging it to a certain degree, even if you pretend you’re not. Certain people simply take chances, and it looks like they’re geniuses.”
The pensive “Nowhere” reminds, “Even though we think we need a grandiose world with millions of followers, all we really need is our intimate simple relationships.”
On the other end of the spectrum, “Dumb” hinges on an intoxicating and irresistible hook above an upbeat rhythm.
“The song is a goodbye kiss to that life where you’re getting a little too sauced up and doing stupid things,” he laughs. “When you’re wasted, you say and do things you don’t mean, and it’s just dumb. It’s meant to be more tongue-and-cheek and less serious.”
Ultimately, Garrett invites you to partake in this musical conversation.
“I just want you to hear yourself in it,” he leaves off. “I hope the songs are universal and you can relate to them, understand, and empathize. Maybe it becomes a chapter of your life too.”