Direct from their recording studio in Stockholm Sweden-Kate Boy-made up of group members Kate Akhurst (vocals), Hampus Nordgren, Oskar Engström and Markus Dextegen sat down to chat with me to discuss their new single “The Way We Are”, how they came to be and their upcoming show at Schubas Chicago-to take place June 10th.
Can you tell me a bit about the group…how did you guys get started?
I was living in London and loved Swedish music. I had never been to Stockholm before and just decided to come for a week and see who I could meet. A friend that I have met-thought that I might get along with the guys and introduced us-I met them on the second to last day I was there. We ended up going and meeting for a drink and decided to go down to the studio that night and wrote our first single “Northern Lights” that night. After that we knew we had hit something special.
How did you come up with the name Kate Boy?
The boys use to call themselves the Rocker Boys when they DJ’d in Stockholm. Then I came along and at first we were kind of laughing about the name Kate Boy because it was so simple-but at the same time it encapsulated exactly what we wanted to be and how we called ourselves. It was kind of this androgynous and ambiguous name for the band Kate Boy.
Did you have any kind of musical background when you went to Stockholm?
I have been doing for my whole life. So I actually had been living in LA for about 5 years prior to us meeting before that doing music. And I had moved to London doing music as well. I have a bit of music traveling bone in my body and was really intrigued by the sound Swedes make. It kind of has this dark edginess to it and that’s what I really, really wanted.
Then when we all met we felt like such a team and such a band-it just made sense that we’d do it all together. It was such a team-we all evenly did everything and that was really really nice.
So the boys…how did you all come together?
We’ve known each other since we were kids. We’re all musicians, had been DJing and had a studio where we had been making all kinds of music for years in Sweden. We just stumbled upon Kate. One of our friends had met her and said she had a vision for her music and she thought we would be a good match.
But before Kate came along-we’d just put together music for other artists. And once we as a group came together-felt this we’d keep for ourselves and make something out of it.
What type of music were you doing that kept you on track until Kate came along?
When we were writing before we always wanted to make something that had a really nice mix of acoustic and organic. We worked with different singer songwriters and thought it would be fun to base everything from the guitar and that was our production style. What we were searching for was organic-but found it really difficult to find the right person to do this sound with.
We’ve always loved electronic music in the real way.
What was the inspiration behind the new track “The Way We Are”?
This track was super inspired by a King Crimson song called “Sleepless”. It doesn’t sound at all like it-but it was definitely inspired by it. In the end we wanted to show this other side of our group-but club friendly.
Is the music you do typical of what’s you’d find in the clubs there in Stockholm?
The club scene here is fun in that way-that the DJ’s subconsciously don’t want to play stuff that is not cool. Or then they are very alternative and only play stuff that is not cool-but super sarcastic. So I think what we do would be right in the middle of that scene.
I think we really try to make the music that we would want to be dancing to. I think it turns out the opposite of what you’d find being played here in Stockholm. So don’t try and get here by that reason alone-what we’re doing is unique.
Do you have direct involvement in your video treatment?
That’s one thing that we have been very focused about-doing the treatment ourselves. We both direct and produce our videos all within the band. We do practically everything even down to the fashions we wear. We don’t know to the future-it’s not that we’re closed to collaborating with anyone-that’s just where we are right know.
It’s just that’s the way we started and realized we could do it and just kept it going like that for the three songs we’ve got out. We have a vision and music is only half the part of communication the other half is exactly just as important. When we make music we make visuals to accompany to it. It’s such an important thing to us. I think it how we think as well-which maybe made us all want to work together-because we were all so interested in every facet of doing this other than just the music-to do everything-which makes it kind of unique.
We haven’t met many artists who wanted to do everything like we do.
You have a show coming up at Schubas here in Chicago…what can we expect from your live show?
We’re so excited to come to America and Chicago especially. None of us have ever been there before. We’ve been working out everything-working, changing and combining different instruments-deciding on what’s going into the show. We’ve got this drum kit-where we’re all playing electronic drums-while still having organic elements to the show with real bass-it’s not all synths as most people would expect in an electronic band. We’re not just electronic.
We’re more of an electronic band-not just driven by computers and you will see that in our show.