Having a Coffee with Katalyst

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Sydney based hip-hop producer Katalyst is a man who brings back the ‘old school’ and refreshes our overstimulated brains with snippets of nostalgia. Heavily influenced by pure funk and rhythm and blues, he fuses techniques past with fresh beats to showcase some of the catchiest Australian hip-hop tunes. I sat down, coffee in hand, to have a chat about funk, festivals and the ongoing rivalry between our fair city and his.

Being from Sydney, does something rub against the grain when you come to visit Melbourne?
I really don’t buy into the whole Sydney versus Melbourne debate. As far as I’m concerned both cities have something to offer, Melbourne more so when it comes to the cultural aspect. Melbourne would be the perfect city if it was located in Brisbane. It’s too damn cold.

You’re coming down to play at The Toff. What can we expect from the gig?
I’ve been lucky enough to get most of the musicians that I collaborated with on the new album — ‘Deep Impressions’ — on board for the tour. I work mostly with people I know and it’s been easy to get my friends to come with me for the show.

Speaking of your live act, as a hip-hop producer it’s refreshing to see that you tour with a live band.
Everything on the album is recorded with real instruments so touring with a band lets the audience feel the energy that we intended to be heard in a live setting. The songs we record and the songs that are heard live are two different things — with a live band we have room to manipulate and ad lib which I prefer to being limited to a laptop.

The new record must have taken up a lot of time this year. Was it hard to work in gigs and other projects?
Most of the writing process, and even some of the recording, actually happens on tour. If I’m playing a set with an artist I want to collaborate with I try and write and record straight away. I’m about to release an album where we’ve collaborated with thirty-two rappers, and as much as it sounds like it would be hard to sort out everything pretty much fell into place. That’ll be coming out early next year.

Will you have much time to enjoy Melbourne while you’re here?
Yeah, I always make time to go to some of the record stores around town. Steve (Spacek) and I usually spend most of our free time in Northside Records or Wax Museum, a lot of the record stores that are selling new music are closing down but it’s nice to see that the ones that sell second hand are able to stay in business.

You can catch Katalyst at The Toff in Town on Thursday October 20th.
His new album ‘Deep Impressions’ is out now.

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