Right from their first demo Nadir in 2020, Kato showed signs of a unique presence in the underground scene. The signs become reality with the project's debut EP Conflagration this year, a majestic, multifaceted work of complex black / death metal that includes turns in a lot of different directions, well balanced heaviness and striking songwriting. A short Arson Cafe question and answer session with the mastermind behind it, simply named George, sheds some more light into this growing project.
- Welcome to Arson Cafe, go ahead and share a short introduction of Kato.
Thank you for the interest. Kato is my music project that started in 2020. From that start, a demo and now an EP have been released with hopefully more to come. I’m not interested in adhering to standard genre classifications, so the way I like to describe the music is layed and caustic metal.
- "Kato Kosmos" means the underworld in Greek. What led you to pick such a name?
Contrary to what most people would think this has nothing to do with the biblical underworld. As a whole, the intention of this project was to explore the true human reality. From my experiences in the US, a facade has been built to distract and offer some semblance of meaning to our existence. That truth that lies beneath is where I draw inspiration for this project.
The use of the Greek language stems from the influence Greek culture had in the formation of the civilization which has permeated at least through much of the Western world.
- Already from the first demo, Kato's production is quite professional. Do you self-produce your material?
Thank you for the compliment. For the most part, yes, I do handle the producing and production work myself. One big exception for this most recent release was handing over the mastering work to Greg Chandler at Priory Recording Studio. Truthfully, Greg also offered some feedback as I was finishing up the mixing so his influence is also notable to how this release sounds.
- "Conflagration" can be considered the first main release of the band. First of all, what does the artwork represent?
The artwork depicts the eradication of the walls that have been built in our deceptive consciousness. I think it’s also important to note that the title and artwork were the very first seeds of this release. From their creation it influenced and was used as a guiding light throughout the whole creation of the EP.
- The EP has several interesting twists and turns, what is the concept behind it?
The full flow of the EP is indeed that process of clearing the mind; removing the walls of the conscious. You burn within to reveal your essence : the absence of everything.
- I could listen to slight elements of more dissonant black metal, but also tremolo picking similar to the modern Norwegian scene. What are some of Kato's musical influences?
Yes, what you were hearing were all very much influences in my writing. Beyond that, my goal wasn’t to have this project limited to one singular sound or genre. I’ll pull influences from all sorts of art and artists. In the musical realm it can go from Abigor to Aluk Todolo; from King Crimson to King Diamond. As long as it fits the theme and doesn’t feel forced, it’s fair game in my book.
- Great melodic passages, especially in "Within". What is the creative process for your project, and how do you decide what fits to be put together?
Having that overarching theme and concept while building the music really helps me in figuring out how the music should flow. For this project, I wasn’t interested in adhering to a standard verse-chorus structure to the songs and I tried to make them more through-composed in nature.
In the end, it’s hard to really put into words why certain decisions are made while creating a song. It ultimately has to feel right and support the larger goal at hand.
- The lyrics bring a bit of Ulcerate in mind, showcasing fair amounts of desperation and hopelessness. Where do you draw inspiration for writing them?
I think that’s a fair assessment on the overarching emotion in the lyrical themes. Philosophy work around Existential Nihilism for sure was a big influence around this concept. Peter Zapffe’s The Last Messiah is an important work along with even René Descartes and his exploration of human consciousness.
- To whom is the last line of the third track, going "Your Essence", referring to?
That’s to everyone. The stark nightmare nirvana is our essence. It’s fleeting and hard to fully grasp, but it’s a reality we’ll eventually discover.
- Is Conflagration a result of constant work since the 2020 demo? Are you also working on the next material of the project?
More or less, yes, it was a constant process from the demo. The forming of the concept and artwork took some time after the demo to coalesce, but from there the writing process was pretty steady.
The idea for the next release is just about there. I'm planning out the artwork and the beginnings of a song are emerging, but it’s too early to say what it will look like in the end.
- What would be the take-home message the listener should take after a few listening sessions of the EP?
Hmm, that’s an interesting question. I mean on one hand, I would hope that the overall concept of the EP I discussed would translate to the listener, and that’s where I think the lyrics are an integral part of the experience. However, as with any art it’s really open to interpretation, and far be it from me to stand in the way of someone finding a different meaning in the work. At the end of the day, if someone willingly sits down to listen to the project and explores what’s within, then that’s all I can really ask for.
- Thanks for your time and efforts, I'm leaving the closing remarks to you.
Thank you very much for the interest and the great questions.
Listen to Conflagration: