Matt Katsis InterviewMatt Katsis is a 19 year old emerging and promising artists, he plays a range of varying acoustic styles. Matt draws his unique and dynamic sound from the mixed elements of Reggae, Blues and Funk. Matt is a gifted writer who plays 6 and 12 String Acoustic Guitars, the Stompbox and Djembe while also singing. Matt placed in the Battle of the Bands competition and his composition Dakota was short listed in the top 10 of Rock It, which is a National Youth Week talent competition, also being listed in the top 40 MusicOz awards.
Matt has appeared in several festival bills including the Glob to Globe World Music Festival, Basin Music Festive and The Queenscliff Music Festival as well being a support and having his own shows at venues right across Melbourne.
Whilst launching his career, Matt is also studying a Bachelor of Applied Music to go along side his other course in Music Industry Skills and Technical Production. He draws in an audience with stunning voice, musical talent and skills which run alongside his passion and drive.
Matt describes himself as a thinker, perfectionist and a dread-head.How does it feel to record your own EP?
Matt Katsis: After several months of preparation and the whole process that comes with recording to have this EP complete as a 'product' and something to show for all those long hours put in is no doubt a great feeling of accomplishment. Fellow band members and myself are really satisfied with the overall sound and groove of the tunes and are keener than ever to get the music heard and out to as many people and places we can in the months ahead! I have self funded this release on my independent label 'Groundsel Records' which is a new and exciting area in music for me, i'm eagerly awaiting how things will go from here on. We just recently had the launch night at the Mentone Hotel, with a couple months of promotion and a joint launch with a mates band we managed to attract a full house and all in all was an awesome night.
Do you write your own songs? Whats your inspiration?
Matt Katsis: Yes. My take on writing songs I guess is in parallel to what I might be thinking or feeling. I've found that inspiration to write can come from a whole lot of different places. Songwriting for me is a way to express, 'vent' and explore, so it usually is just me alone in a quiet space, chilling with my acoustic and a pen to paper. From here I take the ideas to the band and we begin to add the bass and drum parts to fit around and see what we come out with in the end. Other influences in writing comes from my friends, family and just all the things going on around me.
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Matt Katsis: Hmm where to start! No doubt when Im not playing music Im either listening to it, at university studying it or just plain thinking about wanting to listen or play music. I guess I have a very broad range of music that Im into; the general assumption to many is that since I play a kind of mellow acoustic rootsy style I must only listen to that type of music. Of course I'm a huge fan of Reggae and the laid back stuff with artists like Bob Marley, Jack Johnson, John Butler, Xavier Rudd etc (which these influences is no doubt heard in my songs) I also listen to The Blues, good old rock n roll to todays indie rock bands on the scene as well as Funk and Metal. There is so much awesome music out there but in stepping back a bit more close to home I also love the guitar driven music heard by artists Tommy Emmanuel, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn just to name some.
Whats next for you? Tour/Album/Single?
Matt Katsis: For where myself and the band are now Id say next from here is in getting the music out to a greater audience and the local radio, so a lot of shows is on the cards. I absolutely love music festivals so I can't wait to see what response we get and hopefully we'll be jumping onto some festival bills over the next year or two around oz.
Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Matt Katsis: I've definitely had a great deal more experience in performing live over the years . I love playing live gigs for the sheer fun and rush that comes from been on stage, sharing the music and connecting with an audience. There is a great energy about this. I have found myself enjoying the recording side to music the more and more I am involved in it, there are a number of ways to go about it. I think it's just about what suits for the particular project and time frame.
Where do you perform?
Matt Katsis: I have been playing solo and with the band at a number of venues around Melbourne. Some include The Espy, Ruby's Lounge, Rainbow Hotel, Barbukka, Mentone Hotel and The East Brunswick Club to name a handful. I currently have my Sunday arvo residency at The Bay in Mordialloc at 4pm each week where I play alongside some of the great blues muso's like Lloyd Speigel, Dutch Tilders and Chris Wilson. Its always a good night down at the bay to kick back and have a few Sunday arvo beers. I also play the odd covers and corporate gigs when they seem to pop up around the place.
What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Matt Katsis: I think it's just been a natural progression from been involved in music so much, seeing other artists making something of it has encouraged me to push myself and do the best I can. I can see where I want to be it's just a matter of hard work, dedication and time.
Do you have another job other than being a musician?
Matt Katsis: I'm currently studying for a bachelor of applied music which keeps me occupied during the weekdays, I have a retail job for a few hours a week I do refuse to work more than a few hours, its just not my thing Id have to say!
What has been your favorite part of becoming a music artist?
Matt Katsis: It would probably be the endless road of things to learn and practice, whether it be certain techniques or trying to get a grasp on new styles there's always something new and fun to check out.
If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Matt Katsis: Oh that an easy one, probably my main man John Butler, have always been a huge fan from day one I first heard his music, he is on a musical journey to great things both here in Australia and Internationally. I think it would be an awesome experience and something I could learn a lot from.
What are your hopes for the future?
Matt Katsis: I hope I can make it through life playing and sharing music, my aspiration is to be able to sustain a career as a touring and recording artist. I would love to play the festival circuit and travel abroad.
Do you have a website fans can visit?
Matt Katsis: Indeed I do, I can be found on the MySpace page. Songs can be streamed from the EP as well as latest gigs and shows happening around the place! From MySpace there are links to other sites like Facebook.
What are 5 things you believe are required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?
Matt Katsis: Family, Mates, Music, Sunshine & good times!