Katanak is the stage name used by Brisbane musician and multi instrumentalist Dylan Cattanach.
On a normal day you’d find Dylan leading Brisbane rock/pop band KB Theory or gigging solo in one of the local acoustic haunts. Now he is embarking on a journey of his own, doing it solo and taking a moment to explore his interest in the pop genre.
From a self-written and self-produced EP which is still under wraps for the moment, Katanak gives us a teaser of what’s to come with the release on 16th September 2019 of the debut single from that EP – ‘Life’. ( Click here to Presave on Spotify )
On listening, the intro starts us on the journey with an amiable instrumental before the vocals kick in. Katanak’s voice is deep, raw and rustic and wonderfully captured in the studio with the help of engineer Ben McCarthy from Melbourne.
Exploring synthesised sound, ‘Life’ becomes an uplifting concoction of fluctuating electronics and steadfast vocals creating a multi-dimensional experience with it’s infectious rhythmic patterns adding to the intrigue and enjoyment.
Katanak has stayed true to the genre styling of pop and ‘Life’ is easy listening at it’s finest. A fresh and modern single rife with strong, distinct, memorable melodies and empowering dynamics fit for a global audience.
BUT – What’s ‘Life’ about??? Well just continue reading as we catch up with Katanak and get all the answers….
Thanks for chatting with us Dylan! Tell us, how did you learn to sing, write and play?
I probably started the way that everyone else starts out and took guitar lessons in primary school. It didn’t last long as they were those group lessons and I wasn’t really enjoying it and kind of gave it up. Piano came next for a while, but once again I wasn’t interested in the piano exams, so that came to an end. At this point I’m a failed muso and I haven’t even graduated primary school, hehe.
I tried guitar lessons again in high school, but I just wasn’t meant to play in eisteddfods. I always dabbled though. Eventually I started teaching myself to play Guitar again through researching songs and techniques online. I could hear a song and pick out the tune by ear very quickly. This lead on to teaching myself to play the bass guitar & drums.
I actually took about 3 or 4 singing lessons during high school and I wasn’t very good at it. haha. It’s only been in the last two years that I’ve decided to knuckle down and actually learn to sing properly so that I can make better music and be more creative vocally.
Singing & performing wasn’t on my radar at all throughout high school. My interest was actually sound production and I went that direction after school, never even thinking about anything else. It certainly helped with the production side of things with what I’m writing now. I’m entirely self-taught in regard to writing and producing. I just messed around with settings in Logic on my Mac and learnt what does and doesn’t work for chords and melodies. Today I’m comfortable with my song writing process and the ideas I’m working towards.
Two members of your family are also well-known musicians both sitting in the Folk/Rock genres. In contrast, ‘Life’ sits firmly in the Pop genre…What influenced your decision to write and release a Pop song?
I absolutely love rock and folk music but I’ve been incredibly intrigued with synths and pop rhythms over the last couple years and I really wanted to get into making that kind of music. When I first heard The 1975 my ears were opened to all these sounds and they really inspired me to just go for it. I think their music is incredible and it’s had a huge impact on my song writing.
I read this great quote – “I’ve never believed that pop music is escapist trash. There’s always a darkness in it, even amidst great pop music”. (Tom Yorke, Radiohead). Pop is seen as a bit of a light weight in the music industry but I love the freedom this kind of music can bring because there’s no real boundaries on what sounds I can and can’t use in my songs.
How would you describe the sound of your new single to any potential new fan?
Fresh, groovy and youthful!
Do you think current music industry trends played an influencing factor in putting this track together?
My music choices and tastes kind of already fit in well with what is popular at the moment. I enjoy the sounds that make up this genre and I wasn’t thinking about trends at all when writing. The music I make really has nothing to do with trends and more with what I love to listen to and make. If I don’t want to listen to my own music I haven’t really achieved what I want from myself.
As the producer did you use any experimental recording techniques you can tell us about?
I produced, composed and played all the instruments on my whole EP, and believe it or not, I didn’t really employ any weird recording techniques. I literally recorded every instrument except vocals in my bedroom, just DI’d straight into the computer. It is a testament to how far technology has come that I can get a great quality sound from just my computer.
I booked a couple of days to record with an engineer friend of mine, Ben McCarthy, thinking I’d have to play and record some of the instruments again. Ben was amazed at what I’d done and said that he couldn’t make it any better, and it turned out I only had to record vocals. He did an amazing job getting the energy and the rawness of the vocals conveyed in the song. The most experimental things I did in this song was to decide which weird synths made it into the song.
Releasing new music needs an entire campaign around it and not just like in the old days where a poster on the wall did the trick – How much of a learning curve has this been for you personally with ‘Life’ being your debut release?
Absolutely HUGE! As a beginner, figuring out how to market yourself and have this really great campaign behind you is quite hard. So much time spent on the computer looking up blogs, so many emails sent to hopefully receive some replies. You just roll with the punches and keep on going. Not everyone is going to like your music and I think it’s harder when you are starting out as people dismiss you pretty easily because they don’t know who you are. I’m lucky to have met some people along the way who believe in me and who have been integral in helping to promote my music.
At the end of the day, all I really want is for people to have the opportunity to hear my music and be open to listening to it, so that means putting myself out of my comfort zone quite a lot.
The burning question – What’s the message in ‘Life’?
Don’t give up. If something is worth fighting for, then do it!
My fiancée inspired this story. I met her when she was over here on a work visa but that expired and she had to go back to France. It’s not your usual boy meets girl, boys get girls and lives happily ever after. It wasn’t until meeting her that I realised how hard it was if you happen to meet someone who doesn’t live in the same country as you. Visa’s are expensive, involve so many rules and the hardest part is it isn’t even up to us if we can be together. Our lives are in the hands of a government official who can decide our fate. I just had to get this song down as it was how I was feeling at the time. She was back in France and I was sitting here by myself.
What’s coming next for Katanak?
Three more songs are in the bag and I’m writing more all the time. I now have a band behind me and I would like to start touring in 2020. I want to be playing with the best that Brisbane has to offer and have people outside Brisbane find out about me.
So, bookmark the date folks, ‘Life’ by Katanak will be released on 16th September 2019! And you don’t have to spend your time waiting for this beauty it’s available for Presave on Spotify so you can have it automatically added to your library and playlist for your listening pleasure.
This is no ordinary Pop song – this is “KATANAK POP” and it’s a must have!!
(Image credit to Emily Holmes Photography )