Interview: Young Kato

Tommy Wright, lead vocalist of Cheltenham’s biggest indie-pop sestet and Made in Chelsea soundtrack regulars Young Kato, took some time out from the studio to chat Morrissey, whipped cream and Glastonbury with Charlie Mock. 



It’s been two years since you got together as a band- safe to say things have gone very much in your favour. Your gig at the Camden Barfly was featured in an episode of Made In Chelsea earlier this year and you’ve also had songs included in the soundtracks. How much of an impact has this had on how the year has unfolded for you?

It’s weird. Like you say, we’ve been together for two years so we started just working our way around Cheltenham, Bristol, Gloucester, locally building it organically and then something like that came along and shot us into a national limelight. In terms of short-term effects it was great, we trended worldwide on Twitter during the show and long-term it’s got us a nice little fan base to kind of build on.

It definitely had some good repercussions- you’re headlining the first in a series of shows coined ‘Played in Chelsea’ on Tuesday with other artists who have been featured on the show. Are you looking forward to it? Being streamed live on 4OD so the audience could be potentially massive.

Yeah, it should be fun! I’m really looking forward to it. They pride themselves on new music and we always say it, but it’s just great to be a part of it really.

Do any of you actually watch the show? Did you tune in to catch your episode?

Yeah, we’d just finished filming a music video and I walked into the house just as it was starting. We didn’t realise it would kick off like that, we were all on our phones kind of monitoring what was going off on Twitter. It was mental.

Made in Chelsea has a particularly committed fan base- they aren’t the only ones… I heard that there were a couple of girls who came out to every date on your last tour?

Yeah there were actually! I remember during the January tour we had two girls who came to every single show pretty much. We threw them a few free t-shirts.

You recently played your first show out of the country in Russia- was there a strong demand for you to gig there?

No actually! It was early February and we got a phone call from our manager saying that we were going to be playing in St. Petersburg in two weeks and to get our visas sorted. It was more because a promoter over there likes to bring over Western bands and we were that band for one night! It was a one off, whistle-stop tour of Russia. We saw some touristy things but we weren’t really there long enough!

Anywhere else that you’d particularly like to play a show?

There’s always Glastonbury, which would be incredible- that’s the one that we want next year. Apart from that, anywhere! Things like Majorca and Ibiza Rocks look great, might as well have a holiday at the same time!

You guys are from Cheltenham- you’re friends with the guys in Jim Lockey and the Solemn Sun who have received a lot of attention lately- anyone else we should be looking out for?

Well definitely Jim Lockey. It’s great because they were like our tour managers, so we’re really close to them and absolutely love everything they do. We’re really excited for them especially. In terms of locally, there’s a heavier band called Crooks who have started to blow up now. They’re doing amazingly so if anyone’s into the heavier side of things then they should definitely check them out.

Back to your own music. You’ve been described as the love child of The Maccabees and Morrissey? Wild you say this is accurate?

Um, kind of! I wouldn’t say that it’s entirely accurate but it’s a compliment, I’m definitely happy with that.

Are they particular influences on you/who are your main influences?

We always say that because there are six of us and we all have such a strong input to the songs that there are lots of different influences flying in. Our keyboard player, Harry, was brought up on classical and jazz so there’s always little flicks and stuff if you listen carefully. Joe Green and I are quite 80’s influenced. It’s just a really weird range of things so I can’t really pin point any bands that we’re by, just maybe genres.

One of your tracks is titled ‘Revolution’ – if you were leading a revolution what would you be fighting for?

I suppose a revolution is actually happening now! I think one thing that was quite scary for us was that bands don’t always get the recognition they deserve, but lately it feels like things are looking on the bright side. Like The 1975 getting a number one album and Bastille- it’s really nice to see that this kind of music is actually crossing over into the mainstream.

The video for Drink, Dance, Play came out recently and looks like it was a lot of fun to film- have you hosted or been to any parties that involve as much whipped cream and life sized penguins?

Not at all! I think the parties that we go to are a bit more roofless as well. We just read the script and went with it, it was a really fun day. We especially enjoyed it. You can probably tell in the video that we aren’t very sober. The guys did amazing considering the budget that we gave them. They turned what was just an empty studio into this cardboard house, it was amazing.

Finally, you signed with BMG earlier this year and have an album in the pipeline- what can we expect from it?

We’re in the studio right now. We’ve pretty much finished the last note on it as well, we went out last night to celebrate. Dan took us to Mecca Bingo to start with and it just went from there! What you can expect from the album is just kind of what we are. It’s going to be big, pop choruses and hopefully well-written and structured songs that everyone can love. There’s going to be a few spanners thrown in in there as well. In the end, it should be big, poppy, indie, colourful. Exactly what it says on the tin.

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