We interviewed Ian George, Jase Wilkinson and Nadia Silverstone of Rock Alternative group Katalina Kicks to discuss their new album Vices and more.
Interview by Jane Howkins
You have a new album due out in May, titled Vices. What can you tell us about that, and why did you choose that for the title?
Jase: The album is the best thing we have done to date. The energy between the three of us is electric and positively charged, so when we hit the studio the outcome was a well balanced and energetic affair. The name came after a brain storming session in a pub near the rehearsal studio. Nadia said Vice after about an hour of going round the houses – and nothing else came close.
Ian: Yeah, the album is a real mix of songs that we have been working on for a while – from our signature ‘full on in your face rock’ to a slightly more chilled vibe. There’s a really good balance of songs I think. Vices was a lyric from the track Guns that we liked the sound of as a good reflection of the album. Everyone has vices, some more out there than others, which I think reflects the band’s album meaning well.
Nadia: We spent a year trying to get this together and we had a lot of help along the way, thanks to all the people involved this is coming to life, and yes, about the title, I remember we were going through the lyrics of Guns an Vices popped right out for me, there were other names that I can’t even remember anymore, so surely it was the one!!
We hear that it’s quite a political record. What inspired that, and what are your thoughts on the political events of the last year or so?
Ian: I don’t see us so much as a political band, but rather we talk about the things going on around us that affect people’s lives, and the things that people ‘should’ be talking about. Guns was written after the Sandy Hook shooting, when Obama basically said he was powerless to do anything about the gun lobby – and then later Trump condoned arming people in nightclubs and concert venues to stop terrorist attacks, so we are pointing out two sides to the argument there, with our lyrical spin on it. For me, it’s scary that there’s a supposedly civilised society in the world where kids aren’t safe from being shot in schools, so for me the song is saying that there needs to be a balance and tighter controls. Cold and Cut it Up are about the desperation that the UK government caused when cutting people’s living allowances and support for people with disabilities, and generally not helping the more vulnerable people in society. And Riot was written about the London riots a few years ago. I think there’s a lot of fear, hate and blame in the world at the moment that needs to be solved – somehow……
Jase: There are a few tracks on there that are politically charged. Guns and Cold spring to mind. In this modern age we can’t just be spoon fed what the media gives us and take it. You have to stand up and make sure you have a voice. Hopefully, we are using this platform as a positive thing for people to share and get their voices heard too. Sad when the most powerful man in the world can’t sort out his own back yard!
Nadia: Though this record may come across political, as Ian said we don’t see us much as a political band, we love music, we are all about making the world a better place. Ian is the man behind most, if not all of the lyrics, but I’m not a political person myself. It’s very inspiring to hang and write with these guys that have such a sense of reality.
You released a single recently called Cut It Up. Why did you decide to release that song as a single, and what can you tell us about it?
Jase: After coming out with a track like Guns you need a little light and shade. Cut It Up shows a diverse sound mixing, a driving two chord track with a little sophistication and flair. We shot the video in Seoul and London, and gave it a more lighter feel. Katalina Kicks is as diverse as its members and we want people too see that.
Ian: This was actually the first track that we recorded for the album, and in a sense it dictated the feel of the album and growth of the band, so for me personally its the song that started it all.
Do you have any plans for further singles in the near future? What makes a song stand out as a single for you?
Ian: A bit of trivia – I actually wrote the next single Killer about 10 years ago in my first band and it was never released. I put it by mistake on a series of demos that I sent our manager and he loved it, so I played it to the guys and we jammed on it – it sounded massive, so it was a no brainer to record and release it!
Jase: We have a single ready to release called Killer that’s a banger of a tune. Again it’s slightly different from the other two, but still keeps our signature Kicks sound. For us, a single has to have a good hook line and great lyrics – it’s your business card. It has to stand head and shoulders above the other tracks and showcase the very best of what you have to offer.
Nadia: Yes, Our next single is Killer, we performed that acoustic at Sofar Sounds last year, you can see the performance on YouTube.
You’ve announced a UK tour for May, are you excited about that? Is there anywhere you particularly enjoy playing?
Jase: Excited is an understatement!! We are a live band – we love being out there and thrashing ourselves to within an inch of our lives. If there isn’t blood and sweat on that stage then we haven’t done our job properly! For us it’s all about the live message. We just love to play, if it has a stage we will rock it.
Ian: Totally. We just love to play, so be it in front of 10 people or 10,000 people, we will always put on a show!
Nadia: I am soooooo excited to get to the cities to play, I haven’t been to most of them before, and also this is going to be my first ever tour, ever!
Whilst you do have some more traditional tour dates, you’re also playing a free in-store show at the Paul Smith shop in Leeds on May 14th. Why did you decide to do that, and is this something you would like to do more of in the future? We hear you’re doing a few other in-store shows, as well as the Leeds one?
Ian: Yes we love doing this! It came about because of a Sofar session that we did late last year – we found it refreshing to take these full on songs and strip them right back to basics – and they went down really well. You can hide behind a wall of distortion in a sense, but you can’t with acoustic, so it’s also a bit of a challenge. We wore Paul Smith clothes and dressed up for the Sofar session and it worked really well, so it was a no brainer not to show this lighter side to the songs – we can’t wait for the in-store shows, as it should be a great experience. We’re going to be playing Paul Smith stores in Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, London and Amsterdam as part of this Vices tour!
Jase: We wanted to show a different side to us and hook up with a cool clothing label that is as excited about us as we are about them. If you come to the Paul Smith shows throughout the day you will hear the songs and see how they transgress into a different journey. A good song can be played at full throttle or lighter with an acoustic – it’s the testament of great song writing.
Nadia: We just really enjoy playing and performing in any way we can, and sound wise it is a completely different experience going from live to acoustic. The Paul Smith acoustic gigs should be fun!!!
Can fans expect anything special from the Paul Smith shows? The Leeds date is an afternoon show as you have a headline gig in Sheffield later that evening, so how will the two shows differ?
Jase: Chalk and cheese springs to mind. By day it will be a sophisticated sit down affair and in the evening a hot, sweaty monster ready to smash your ear drums and make your nose bleed – and that’s just Nadia!!
Ian: Yeah that’s about it. She’s an animal! ;-)
Nadia: Hahahahaha!!!!! Only for that day I will be, only coz we are playing in 2 different places…
You’re also playing a Sofar gig in Amsterdam in May. How did you get involved in that, and what has your experience with them been like before?
Jase: We have done a few gigs with Sofar in London and as Ian said, this inspired us to play the Paul Smith gigs like that. We really enjoyed playing live to an audience that wouldn’t have necessarily come to see us play full on. It’s been a great experience and we have picked up new fans from playing the events.
Nadia: Yes, we will, it will be the first Sofar performance abroad!!! We got involved last year after surprisingly getting accepted to play a few sessions in London.
Why do you think people should come and see you perform live, and what can people expect from a Katalina Kicks gig?
Jase: You wouldn’t get the KK experience on FB live or Periscope. Sat on your arse in your living room isn’t gonna cut it. This is rock ‘n’ roll, not the X factor!! If you want to see three people who put their heart and soul into a gig playing their instruments and giving everything in the space of 45 minutes, then you have to come down to witness and experience the energy.
Ian: It will be loud, full on – and fun! We like to leave people feeling as energised as we feel after we play, as that’s what going to gigs should be all about!
Nadia: They should come down also because there will be other great bands performing along!
Any last words for the fans?
Jase: Don’t do pugs – get a mongrel from a pets home. Simply thank you for all the love and support you have shown us so far on this journey – and go tell your friends about Katalina Kicks!
Ian: Come down to a show, meet us, rock out and enjoy!
Nadia: You can listen to a peek of the tracks on the album on iTunes!! We hope you love it! We hope you come see us, it will be great to meet you and hang out!