Ever seen a crowd in an electro-pop musical trance? Kate Boy’s impressive show at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn last weekend was not only musically superb but the lights, the mood and the energy saw the audience give their absolute full attention during a show. We’ve never seen anything like it! We asked Kate Akhurst and Markus Dextegen what it’s like going on tour together and how they came about creating their new album ‘ONE’.
Firstly, we want to congratulate you on your outstanding performance last weekend. You are definitely on Spindle’s ‘Ones to Watch’ list for 2016.
We know that you like to consider yourselves as a band and vary from two to three members on occasion, but can you tell us who exactly is ‘Kate Boy’? A fictional member that ties you all together?
Thank you so much! We had a blast! Kate Boy is an androgynous, fictitious character we created that represents us as a unit and as something much bigger than ourselves as individuals. It’s how we feel as a band, when we make music or perform – we are really inspired by the thought of a collective consciousness and of being connected with each other but also with the people who listen to our music. That is what Kate Boy is to us.
You have been together for nearly five years now – did it take you long to mesh together as a group or did it happen organically and over time?
We come from very different musical backgrounds. I (Kate) have always had the song in focus – there is nothing as strong as a big chorus to me. Markus on the other hand comes from more of the alternative/instrumental techno scene. When we first met we realised immediately that we were both very inspired from each other’s polarities, which has from the start been one of our key ingredients in our collaboration. We never know what idea the other will come up with, which for us is a good foundation for making music together.
What was the process like to write and produce the songs on your album ‘One’ out in Stockholm and do you have plans on creating an album in Sydney in the near future?
It feels like we’ve been on tour most of the time these last two years. We both love traveling to new places and connecting with people, and we’ve been blessed with a lot of opportunities to do so. The creation process of the album has been in-between our touring, a couple of days out traveling, then back to Stockholm a couple of days to write and record. It’s been very time consuming in many ways doing it that way, rather than working full-time on an album for a year, then tour it the next year. But it’s been a really rewarding experience in terms of inspiration. For us to both tour and write the album parallel to each other, performing live can generate inspiration like nothing else can. Most of the album was written in Stockholm, but we have plans of visiting Australia in the near future, and hopefully we will stay there for a longer period of time this time. We will definitely write music there and it’s going to be very exciting process to hear the result!
Our favorite song of the night was “Open Fire”- we posted this on our Insta account and have been playing it over and over again! Your performance of this track was much slower than the recorded version on your album. Do you intentionally do this to create a more intimate narrative of the song when singing it live?
Thank you! Yes we really want to create dynamic with our live shows and to have new versions, or different interpretations of our songs on stage. To let things build and fall, and to explore the space in-between too. With the live stripped back version of Open Fire, it becomes more emotional for us to perform, and it feels more vulnerable and intimate. Especially with these club shows where it feels really intimate anyway, maybe at a festival it would feel better to have a higher energy all the way, but for this tour it’s something we thought of – we wanted some songs to be more raw and exposed, so we can connect better with everyone in the room and so it does feel intimate.
We noticed that your music videos have the same artistic/ monotone feel throughout… is this a conscious decision to keep your videos minimalistic to focus on your music or is there a deeper more artistic concept behind it?
We have always loved minimalistic and monochrome aesthetics, and we love playing with opposite worlds. Black and white is so visually punchy, but it also is a great canvas to start with, and we will build upon it as time goes by. Evolving is very inspiring to us. We have a bit of an obsession for trying to find balance between opposite things. When it comes to making music we always are drawn to mixing mechanic sounds with human touch, exploring for us new combinations of the two. And that extends to our visuals also, we like to blend the real with the surreal.
We absolutely love the painted quilted jacket you wore in your video “Midnight Sun” and noticed that you were both wearing a printed illustrated tee during your show at ‘Baby’s All Right’. Explain to us what this illustration represents and would you say fashion and style is something that is important to Kate Boy as a group?
The tees we wear during this show are a design that we made a few weeks back in Stockholm. The white line connects formations/silhouettes of people that matter for us and of people who inspire and empower us on stage. It’s also designed out of one continuous line drawing, that represents our concept of ‘ONE’ and of everything being connected. Visuals and music go hand in hand so the choice of clothes becomes important for us, but it’s also important to have some kind of meaning behind our clothes and always strive to have the same clothes as each other, to make it a unisex uniform, to be connected as a group rather than individuals, that’s how we make music and we like that to be reflected in our choice of fashion.