For fans of Nirvana, Iggy And The Stooges, The Kinks and The White Stripes, London based Katalina Kicks bring you their second studio album “Dirt” released September 7th via Snappi. This four piece indie rock band source creative influence from the above and use it to their advantage. Arising from the underground rock scene, the quartet are making quite a name for themselves as of late. With live performances described as outstanding and possessing a keen hard hitting attitude it is no wonder Katalina Kicks are obtaining a growing fan base daily. Co founder Ian George is on lead vocals while Harry Stam, Nadia Silverstone and Jase Wilkinson remain on backing vocals. Both Ian George and Harry Stam play guitar whereas Nadia Silverstone is on bass and Jase Wilkinson is on drums.
Katalina Kicks are the epitome of loud grunge, garage rock. The band was formed in 2009 in Shepherds Bush, West London by Ian George. The original line up included Ian George as frontman, Kam Kappa on drums and J Creswell on bass. 2013 saw a dramatic change in the current line up to which a whole new set of band members were introduced. Nadia Silverstone is the latest member to have been recruited from August of this year. The band began by releasing their European single “I Know Best” (feat. Remember) in March 2010. “I Know Best” was playlisted on MTV Europe. If this wasn’t success enough they later went on to release two UK singles “145“, in July 2010, and “Me” in December of 2010. Both singles were playlisted across the UK. “145” featured as Track of the Day in Clash Magazine while “Me” was played on Absolute Radio. Tracklisting “145” and “Me” “The Return of Montague Rotter“, Katalina Kicks debut album, firstly hit the U.S in the summer of 2011 and then The U.K in the spring of 2012 to critical acclaim.
(Latest promo shot and artwork from Dirt)
September 7th 2014 marked the release of Katalina Kicks sophomore album “Dirt“. “Dirt” opens with “Sex N Drugs”. An instantaneous rock, punk feel and attitude hits you. The song is extremely fast paced with a well thought out chorus and lyrics. The chorus reels you in. By the end of the song you are left wanting more. A catchy, hook driven guitar effort begins “Sex N Drugs” while drums are already building up. Distant roaring can be overheard. Lyrics last for a short period until a full blown chorus is introduced for the first time. “I’m looking for the sex, the drugs but I ain’t got the money/ Don’t mean that much to me” is repeated over and over. Vocals are then paused and the guitar effort at the beginning is played. There is almost a start/ stop guitar effect with emphasis on vocals switching to guitar only on repeat. After a second chorus is sung there is a break in vocals. A guitar piece is extended. For the third and final time the chorus builds up gradually becoming much louder towards the end. One last drum beat finalises “Sex N Drugs” as guitar fades in the background.
“Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” includes another instantaneous speedy introduction. The chorus is repeated twice and is followed by a fast build up of noise until the chorus is repeated yet again. “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” is sung as a group effort in the background. Overall “I Want The World” is ultimately a slower ballad than the previous two songs. In the introduction there is a gradual build up from a guitar and a slow beat of drums before vocals. Lyrics are slightly deeper than “Sex N Drugs” and “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah”. “Kings of America” is an interesting title. In my opinion this song showcases how Katalina Kicks have obtained a growing fan base in America. Katalina Kicks cover an almost identical version of “Search and Destroy” from one of their idols, Iggy & The Stooges. The entire layout of Katalina Kicks cover is the same as the original. Even the way Ian George sings is similar to Iggy Pop. This song is tweaked slightly but is only noticeable by listening intently. A roaring in the background is included in Katalina Kicks version which has become their signature. The only real differences are the way in which words are pronounced in different accents while singing.
“Fixed Up” begins with a quiet strummed guitar piece. However, pace picks up quickly. Electric guitar is very noticeable here. It is the best feature from “Fixed Up”. “National Hero” jumps into vocals straight away. The song contains many hooks and a catchy chorus. There are some masterfully crafted instrumentalists present. “Size of Some” is a slow and thoughtful collaboration. The first segment captures nearly a minute of instrumentals. This is very much an indie track. Some parts sound a little to me like Scouting For Girls “Heartbeat”. “Send Her My Way” is another playful and energetic indie track. “Coming Down” could be compared to “Size of Some” with its long introduction. In contrast there are overtones of hard rock in “Coming Down” that are not included in “Size of Some”
Katalina Kicks alternate between indie and rock. Their music has a rock feel with a punk attitude. A cheeky chappy sort of personality shines through. The music is extremely energetic and full of life. Heavy rock bands such as Nirvana portray a plentiful amount of anger and sorrow in their music. You don’t feel this with Katalina Kicks. There’s a more positive vibe in the way songs are sung. The music is more playful. Hard hitting instrumentals are combined with more uplifting lyrics. “Dirt” closes with “Forever Young”. An instantaneous rock punk feel hits you combined with sheer volume from an electric guitar. The guitar and drum combo from the beginning of the song last for 30 seconds until vocals are introduced. A steady build up of vocals lead to a chorus. The words “Forever Young” are amplified. Vocals revert back to a steady volume until the music is sped up in a fast build up to the next chorus. At some point after the chorus there are no vocals. Guitar and drums are only featured. The words “Get Away” are repeated becoming louder each time they are sung. Music intensifies and a hearty roar can be heard in the background. Guitar and drums amplify one last time followed by a final drum beat finalising the song.
Where did the name “Katalina Kicks” come from?
Ian: “It was a combination of the massive sounding Gretch Catalina drum and an old Aussie band called Bitter Sweet Kicks – we took ages coming up with the name as we wanted something that reflected us and the big and energetic sound we were after.”
Your successes to date are quite extraordinary. What would you say are your most proudest moments?
Ian: “I would say getting out and touring Canada and the US. They were wild and special times. Also playing Koko was pretty special too!”
Jase: “I’d say every day I’m proud to be part of the kicks I love my family for what we do and create. The making of Dirt the latest album is something I can say has been an awesome labour of blood sweat and tears.”
How come your debut album “The Return of Montague Rotter” was released in The U.S first rather than in your hometown?
Ian: “We had been getting quite a bit of recognition over in the States through previous singles and met a US plugger and booking agent who really liked us and said that the album would be well received there, so decided to go for it – and it was really well received and got a lot of college radio coverage, so was a good thing to do! We used this success to build on the UK release and get more exposure.”
In your opinion how do you think your music has changed in contrast to earlier work?
Ian: “I think that the songs have become more focused and raw / stripped back. The first album was a bit over produced for my liking, so we took more control over Dirt and made sure that it reflected us more as a live band, which is what we are all about. Most bands go the other way round and have more live sounding first album and then ‘produced’ 2nd/3rd albums – we like to be different!”
Jase: “There has been an organic progression to how we sound and write our music. We’ve always wanted to capture the raw and energetic sound of our live shows and we’ve all had equal input into how the tunes evolve. On Dirt we went back to grass roots, played hard stripped it back to deliver an exciting, raw and scuzzy sound.”
What do the newest band members bring to the team?
Ian: “Jase brings heavy hitting beats with a great ability too hold back to give light and shade between the tracks. Also with his Moon/animal stage presence he gives every ounce of his soul on live performances!”
Jase: “Harry brings an abundance of 60’s inspired rock n roll riffs and a image too cool for school, the ladies dig our quick witted Aussy kid.”
Ian: “And Nadia, our Japanese, Italian Brazilian beauty on bass is like the ying and yang element in the band. She adds a fantastic balance to our sound and has an amazing ability to light up the stage when playing live.”
What are you up to currently in promoting your latest album “Dirt”?
Jase: “It’s all systems go!! We’re spreading the word live on the streets all over our social media. We’ve had radio and TV airplay so keep an eye out for Katalina Kicks – we’re coming to a city near you.”
What is the line up for your upcoming UK tour for “Dirt”?
Jase: “We keep it simple and play as many places as possible so expect to be excited and blown away!”
Who are your musical influences and how does your music differ from these bands?
Ian: “The Hives, The Clash, Nirvana, The White Stripes – all bands who did something different and exciting – and stood for something, which is what we aim to do too. My main idea is to take all the influences that we have and make something unique sounding, which I think that we have achieved in terms of sound.”
Jase: “Great question. I love the message of old school hip hop. Artists like Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan and Beastie Boys. I love bands like Clutch, The Hives and Stevie Wonder – if it rocks a good beat and riff it inspires me to create.”
Did all four of you have equal influence over the production of “Dirt”?
Jase: “Yeah I would say so. We wanted it too sound raw, gritty and as live as possible. Imagine if you lived on the moon and couldn’t travel to see us live (Gasps) Just put in Dirt, press play, close your eyes and the noise in your ears is what you’d get live. We wanted an honest representation of who we are.”
The U.S or The U.K? Where do you prefer playing live shows?
Jase: “it makes no difference too me which country we play – if our music is wanted we play it loud. If it’s not wanted we play it louder.”
Ian: “Totally agree!”
“London four piece Katalina Kicks make a scuzzy rock n’ roll rumble that owes a debt to their heroes The Hives, The White Stripes, QOTSA and The Stooges. Dirt is their second album, and it’s a bit of a beast. Featuring a suitably grimy cover of The Stooges Search and Destroy, Dirt is a full-tilt masterclass in garage rock.” – Team Rock