… we would want to influence people to live with less worry, more freedom to be whoever they want and act as outrageously as possible! There is so much creativity and great ideas that are shut down because it’s no longer appropriate or doesn’t fit social norms and if we could inspire people to follow their passions more it would be something we’d be proud of.
As part of my series featuring the rising stars in the music industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing KAATO. KAATO is a modern hard rock band with a distinct 1970’s swagger and style. True believers in the power and glory of this music, the group creates ferocious new songs inspired by the best of rock’s Golden Age and performs them with the energy and abandon of emerging young musicians working hard to get their share. KAATO’s new album Slam! is a blast of fresh, stadium-filling rock and roll influenced by masters like Aerosmith, Boston, and Cheap Trick and continues the evolution of the sound those icons brought to the world. Originally formed in Sydney, Australia, KAATO is now based in Nashville, Tennessee. Guitarist/vocalist Kurt Lowney and bassist Mika Nuutinen met at the Australian Institute of Music and quickly bonded over a shared love of Classic Rock and the rock and roll lifestyle. After making the move to Nashville they teamed up with lead guitarist Hunter Lovan and drummer Christopher Williams (ACCEPT, Andrew Wk) who have since become an integral part of the band. KAATO was born of a desire to make new, human music written from real hearts and minds and as a rejection of the plastic, shallow pop sound in which the world is currently drowning. New album tracks like “Glamour Queen,” “Addicted,” and “Communication” are an impassioned kick in the teeth to a global music scene that’s fallen into easy imitation and complacency. KAATO is clearly here to play it loud and shake things up. The band has drawn comparisons to The Darkness, The Faces, and David Bowie but exists in its own space and never crosses the line into anyone else’s. 2019 is expected to be a big year for KAATO. The new album Slam! builds on the success of their self titled debut release and tours of Japan and elsewhere are in the works. The band is looking forward to getting out on the road and taking the new record to the people. Industry insiders feel Slam! could break KAATO to a much larger audience and everyone involved is eager to see that happen. KAATO is proof that true rock music is very much alive and thriving. Fans starving for the real thing need to discover KAATO right now, today.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It’s an absolute pleasure! Thanks so much for chatting with us!
I was inspired by a concert I saw with my sister when I was younger. She snuck me into a Bernard Fanning (From the Australian band Powderfinger) concert, and it just changed my whole outlook on what I wanted to do. When I heard the music, especially these songs that were so soft on the album, being played with a full rock band live on stage. It was a religious experience for me. The move to the U.S. started when I was visiting my brother in L.A. Just getting a vibe to what the music industry was like. I met a fellow Australian who was a producer working in Nashville. We ended up setting up a time for me to visit him and I did. Everything after that just fell into place. I fell in love with Nashville and I knew it was where I wanted to work. 6 years later and we’re still here!
Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?
Well I don’t think any of them are particularly PG enough to share hahah
From Mika falling into a fountain and injuring himself on tour in the UK, to us getting into a situation with the Yakuza in Shinjuku when we were in Tokyo for the first Japanese tour, there have been lots of highlights. A little while back we went to a secret show in downtown Nashville that Steven Tyler was at. We were just having drinks and watching the bands set when we saw our friend Bebe Buell sitting right next to him! She saw us from across the crowd and ushered us over to say hi. He stood up and said, “Well you guys must be the Australians!” Honestly, we couldn’t believe it! He was a seriously nice influence to get to meet.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
We just wrapped up filming a music video for our single “Communication.” It’s off the new album that we released earlier this year. It was a blast getting to have some fun in front of the camera. Apart from that, there’s always new music on the horizon that were incredibly excited to show everyone, but we’re always considering the best way and time to release it, so we’re not set on any release dates or anything yet.
Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?
Any musician or businessman that brought something unique and new to the world, and had a career with fantastic longevity. There are countless examples I could use but I’ll stick with someone like David Bowie or Mick Jagger. Completely and utterly unique, brought something new to the table, had fun and changed the world while doing it. Then continues to do it for 50 years! Now that’s an inspiration! When people LISTEN to you and don’t get tired of doing so. That’s when you know you’ve made it to where you need to be. I mean, Bowie literally recorded an album to be released when he died. Who does that!? That kind of artistry and passion is dying on a daily basis. The man who fell to earth left it with the same elegance in which he arrived. Only a true master would think of doing something like that.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Well, our lives and our tours revolve around music and food. On tour in Japan, we invite everyone to hang out with us rather than just see us at a show. We run into fans regularly in restaurants and bars before and after the shows, and if they come up and say hi, or recognize us, then we join them for some delicious snacks, a few cigarettes, and some ice cold drinks. People don’t have enough fun these days and limitations are always being put on fans in regards to whether they can engage with us socially, how many things they’re allowed to have signed at the signing tables etc. We don’t give a shit about any of that. Our fans are our life and they’re the only reason we get the opportunity to travel and tour around the world. So we try and make everywhere we go one big free party you know? It’s so nice to hear the compliments from people about our music and style and how we’re bringing something new to the table even though we’re very influenced by the classics. They’re glad to have something new to look forward to in a sea of shallow pop and rap, and giving it to them is what we were born to do.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Similar to the last answer, we would want to influence people to live with less worry, more freedom to be whoever they want and act as outrageously as possible! There is so much creativity and great ideas that are shut down because it’s no longer appropriate or doesn’t fit social norms and if we could inspire people to follow their passions more it would be something we’d be proud of.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
The first one I live by is: Never compare yourself to other bands. Some people waste far too much time worrying about their competition and what they’re doing, that they forget to actually actively work toward their own success. Big mistake. Worry about yourself and you’ll get to where you want to be. There are far too many variables in life to worry about what someone else is doing. Apart from that:
Cocaine is for chumps.
Don’t get fucked up before every show. There’s a time and place to party, be aware and read your situation. And lastly, be aware that people in this industry always have an ulterior motive, make sure you look out for yourself and find people you can trust to bring into your circle. Minimize the harm people can do to you by being aware and honest about what you want.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
I really respect this question, but at the same time, I don’t think anything anyone could have told me when I was younger would have helped me as an adult in this industry. Life in general is a beautifully unpredictable shitfight, and to be honest I don’t think I would really change anything I’ve done or any of the moves I’ve made. I wouldn’t recommend getting all huffy and puffy wishing someone warned you about something. Roll with the punches and take the problems on as you face them. Don’t sweat the little stuff!
We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she just might see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Apart from just being good at what we do, we want to be successful businessmen and run a successful brand! So that being said, I think we’d love to meet Mark Cuban or Gordon Ramsay for a lunch. I’d love to pick their brains about how they run their businesses so well, how they keep themselves in the public spotlight and still have time for their family and friends. That balance really interests me. They’re just really inspiring humans to us!
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Thank you for these great insights. This was very inspiring!
No worries at all. It’s been fantastic talking with you!!