This week sees the release of Cato’s hotly anticipated debut album, The Unknown. Dropping on Sin City Recordings, the 18-track beast explores the deepest, darkest depths of everything from dubstep and grime to hip hop and trap. The end result is an incredibly polished product that shows a refreshing diversity in Cato’s work. Tunes like Ghetto Funk come with an undeniably raw energy that will get heads nodding, while our personal favs, Missing and Sometimes, pull things back into more ambient quarters, with creative samples and lush melodies complementing deep, heavy bass.
With support from some of the biggest names in the scene — Hatcha, N-Type, Spyro, Walsh and more — it looks like 2014 is set to be a huge year for Cato. But who is the man of the moment and what makes him tick? With only a smattering of info out there about him, we decided to find out more. Check out the Q&A interview below. But first, have a listen to the album sampler. And don’t forget to bag this free tune.
In your own words, who are you and what is your music all about?
Hi I’m Cato, I guess a large part of my music is probably about fitting a gap between hip hop and grime, but at the same time trying to make a sound which doesn’t fit in any group. I suppose they were my first strongest influences, which years later still inspire me to make something that fits both. I love the bass weight that you get in dubstep and grime, but also love the melodies and interesting sampling you get from early hip hop.
Your debut album’s just dropping and it is sounding fresh. How are you feeling right about now?
Thanks, Im feeling happy with it, N-type asked me to do it over the phone a while back now and for years of listening to Rinse and N-type it’s a a big compliment, so I just got straight into it. As a result it’s been a kind of a journey, it’s helped me realise more of what my sound is. I’ve never really known what it is to be honest, but doing an album kind of forces it out of you somehow.
Listening through the album, it is incredibly diverse. What was the process like in putting it all together? Which of the tracks are you most proud of?
I make music generally during weekends and what ever has inspired me during the week will have an influence on that day when I make it, either intentionally or subconsciously. I listen to quite varied stuff to be honest. I love Radiohead, James Blake and Jamie xx, I like the idea of making emotive electronic music, so I knew I wanted to reach out to people who appreciate similar vibes. But then I will also listen to Meek Mill, Just Blaze and Dipsets older stuff, which always makes me want to do something which is quite opposite that inspires tunes like Wrong Neighbourhood, Dark Energy and Ghetto Funk. I think actually selecting the tunes for the album I could have gone down one or the other route but It felt right to showcase both as an intro for people into what I make.
As far as choosing the tunes I’m most proud of, it’s way too hard to say. They each serve their own purpose.
You’ve had a lot of support from some of the scene’s biggest names. What’s it been like becoming part of that family?
It’s been really fun and a big privilege. Hatcha and N-type are hard working and so passionate about what they do, it’s really good to be around that energy. I’ve listened to them both along with Plastician on radio for years, before dubstep was even big.
I remember seeing Hatcha play at my uni as well thinking he always has sick tunes and loved the vibe he pushed. Then fast forward and I’m doing an album for their label, feels strange. They’re also a hysterical double act. Some trips to venues Ive played at with them are just pure banter. Nothing but respect for those guys.
There’s not much info out there about you. We couldn’t even really find a photo of you. Are you deliberately flying under the radar? Any plans to beef up your social media presence?
It’s probably because Im not a massive fan of having my picture taken! If it’s taken without me knowing, that’s always better. I think at the end of the day the product is the most important part, thats what excites me the most, I would rather sit down to make a tune than do all the online stuff. However I do realise it’s time to get more of an online presence established so I best crack on.
Do you DJ much? Do many live shows? Anywhere we’ll be able to see you perform in the coming weeks?
Yes, I’m in the process of organising the next set of bookings at the moment, just waiting on dates which I’ll put on my Facebook, Soundcloud, etc But you can catch me playing at Fire Club in Vauxhall for N-types next Wheel and Deal show, also Rude Bass down at Brixton and in Belgium around March.
Where do you like to hang out?
London in general has a lot of good places, I don’t actually live there I’m from Kent, but most of my friends are dotted around London now so thats mainly where I socialise. The Griffin in Shoreditch is good as well as Camden’s Lock Tavern is always a good spot.
Putting out this album is a massive step on your own journey. Any up-and-coming artists out there you think deserve a break next? Anyone else we should be keeping an eye on?
Sure, I think Yikes is gaining momentum quickly recently and has always been pushing quality deep 140 bpm vibes, always enjoyed his stuff and it’s getting better every time. There’s Kinzy as well, very varied in tempos but you can tell it’s his sound, he’s got a cool percussive sound that he does across trap, techno house and dubstep. And lastly Jafu is a sick producer pushing a kind of jazzy deep shuffle vibe, really fresh.
What else is important to you in life besides your music?
Friends, family, good food, travelling, sneakers, sports and my dog.
That Lauryn Hill remix was pretty big. Any other remixes in the pipeline?
Thanks, I love working with vocals and there’s definitely more to come.
Any shootouts you wanna give?