Up Close & Personal with Bassist Ryan Weddle of KATASTRO

Song River: For some musicians and bands, constant social media communication is almost secondary, for others, it is as difficult as remembering to brush their teeth twice a day. How comfortable is the each member with this social connection?

Ryan Weddle: We are all pretty comfortable with social media and really try our hardest to respond to every message we get and stay active on all the platforms. We usually kind of split up rolls where a couple guys will generally handle the Instagram/ Facebook and another will do Twitter but it's not like a set thing. we all will occasionally make posts on all our accounts.

Song River: Reality bites. Sometimes it does and sometimes we get to bite back.  What have been some of Katastro's times where collectively they have taken reality and transformed into something truly beautiful and genuine?

Ryan Weddle: I think the best example of this would be from way back in 2009 (I think). We ran out of gas on the highway in Ohio and were stuck waiting on AAA for hours. In that time we grabbed an acoustic guitar and started messing around while filming. That song would eventually turn into "Show Me The Road" which was released in 2016 on our first full-length album Strange Nights. A lot of our music comes from real stories and experiences we have had on the road. Good and bad.

Song River: In 2008 The Wonderful Daze EP debuted. Katastro gave birth to a hip-hop/rap stream. That same year the next EP The Facts slides in. You can begin to hear a developing stride. 2009 in comes some California feeling Reggae with Poking Holes in a Pattern. Then we see a space of time occur. The next 7 track Reggae flavored hip doesn't come around until 2011 with Gentle Predator. What was shaking from 09-11?

Ryan Weddle: That's about the time we started getting our first tours. We definitely took way too much time between recording but I think it was good for us at that time and we are all happy with how Gentle Predator came out. 

Song River: A maturity unfolded itself with the album, No Mud No Lotus. Genre title claiming 'Alternative' yet it pulled from your previous roots strongly in this mix. Where were you wanting No Mud No Lotus to take your fans?

Ryan Weddle: This album was recorded and produced by Curtis Douglas in Arizona. I remember us showing up at his house and just sitting down and writing every song on that album in 1 week. We felt the pressure but I think all the songs turned out great.  We've learned a lot about writing songs together and sometimes putting ridiculous deadlines on ourselves is how we get some of our best tracks. 

On the last day of tracking, we decided to add 1 more song and I came up with two bass-lines. The one we chose for that album was "Voices" which is one of my favorites, the other turned into "Vicious Thing" which was released on Strange Nights

Song River: Strange Nights really set Katastro's sound. It is everything you were, are and will be. A solid mix of styles blended so easily to where each track can stand on its own, yet they all need each other to spell out K-A-T-A-S-T-R-O. What transpired in the band's songwriting during the past couple of years and bound you even tighter-undeniably brilliant-? As you go through each album you can hear, and sense the developing story and definable artifacts that clearly vibe who you are... 'Alternative' is the best definition.

Ryan Weddle: All of us are all really proud of every song on that album. I think we definitely have found our voice and everything came out exactly how we wanted it. We were lucky enough to work with Kaleo Wassman from Pepper as well as their main man/engineer Mike Sutherland at their studio in Redondo Beach. The two co-produced this album with us and we released it under Pepper's label LAW Records. It was definitely one of the most comfortable recording experiences we have had. We recorded everything in 2 weeks and kinda just hung out and only focused on making these songs sound exactly how we wanted them to. Once we got home to AZ. after tracking we brought it to our good friend Matt Keller who Mixed/Mastered and even added keys to some of the songs. Check out his band Lydia who is also from AZ.

Song River: The band along the way has gifted a couple of singles to their fans. "Andromeda" and "Sides of a Story" on Bandcamp.  Do you think most music listeners have any idea the amount of money that went into the recording, mixing, mastering end of the 'gifts' musicians give?

Ryan Weddle: We are just grateful anyone listens to our music. We put those out only on Bandcamp and some people have been nice enough to send donations through that site.

Song River: How does the band feel about streaming services overall and where do you feel your music style best fits in connecting it with the people?

Ryan Weddle: I personally love streaming services. The industry is changing so much and we are glad to have our music so easily accessible to anyone that wants to listen. It may not pay much money compared to buying our album through iTunes or at a show but I think we would rather people download it for free than not listen to us at all. A lot of the time people that find us on those services end up coming out to our shows on tour and supporting us much more than a single album sale ever would and we appreciate that so much. 

Song River: When you take the accumulative efforts what experimentation do we as part of the Katastro Army have to look forward to?

Ryan Weddle: Well, I've been in the band now since 2008 so I have been able to be a part of every album after Wonderful Daze EP. We definitely push ourselves with everything we create to make sure we are always doing something new. We are proud of our progress as a band so far and are excited for what is to come. 

Song River: How does each band member,- Andy, Ryan, Tanner, Andrew bring their own piece of soul, blues, reggae, hip-hop, rap, funk into the mold and let it just take itself on its own ride?

Ryan Weddle: Everyone of us has a very different musical background from each other. Our sound is just a collection of everything we all like. I think we have done a good job recently at finding a balance between all the different styles we want present in our music. 

Song River: You have worked with Bob Hoag and Curtis Douglas as producers/engineers correct? At the time you worked with them- how did it mesh and fit, plus how did the process of choosing come about?

Ryan Weddle: Everyone we have worked with so far has had a really different approach to producing. We have learned so much from being able to spend time with such a broad range of producers. That record with Bob Hoag was recorded live and to tape (minus the vocals),  it was definitely a fun experience. 

Song River: In 2007 when the band came into being, what did the local music scene look like then? Describe it as we now sit here 10 years later.

Ryan Weddle: A lot of bands and venues that we loved have come and gone. It has been really crazy to witness everything change so much. It's been fun watching our shows progress after all these years of playing in Arizona. Our time playing together at home has put us everywhere from small acoustic sets in dive bars to the main stage at sold out music festivals in front of 10,000+ people.

Song River: You all just finished up the BFF Tour. How did this tour come about and what are some things you have taken to heart on this 2017  show dates?

Ryan Weddle: Pacific Dub has been really good friends of ours since we started the band. We even lived in the same complex as their bassist Naggy out in Huntington Beach for a couple years. It was a lot of fun being on the road with guys that we have known for so long. We also learned that playing 13 shows in a row with no days off is more exhausting as it looks especially when it's followed by a 30-hour drive home from Florida. 

Song River: Who has been some of your favorite bands you have either co-headlined with, headlined with or shared the stage with?

Ryan Weddle: We have been incredibly lucky with being able to open up for some amazing artist at some amazing venues.  Pepper, Dirty Heads, Sublime w/ Rome,  Iration, Cage the Elephant, and Young the Giant are some of our favorite bands we have opened for but there are so many more.

Song River: Does Katastro feel more at ease on stage at a large festival or in a quiet intimate venue?

Ryan Weddle: Both are equally comfortable/terrifying. There is such a different dynamic at every show and we have so much fun playing live regardless of the size of crowd in front of us. 

Song River: You're coming home and doing a local show in your hometown come June 24th. When was the last time you played in your town and how often do you come around to visit your hometown fans?

Ryan Weddle: I believe our last hometown show was for the Strange Nights release party in September (?) of 2016. We only play in Phoenix a few times a year at most. We want to make sure every time we put on a show here we are bringing something different and putting on a bigger better set. Our headlining shows at home are some of our favorite shows to play. I think they are the only ones that still make me nervous before we go on. 

Song River: You have a date in September up in Colorado you are hosting. Can you tell us more about that?

Ryan Weddle: Yes! We are putting on a free show in Denver September 17th at Levitt Pavilion. I'm really excited for this one. Our Denver, CO. shows have been growing a lot this last year so I'm happy we are able to go put on a show that doesn't cost anything for the people that want to check us out.

Song River: What is next Katastro? Music seems to be as much for you as air, eating and sleeping is.

Ryan Weddle: We just got back from tour 2 days ago and we are already booking rehearsal time for writing and our booking agent is currently routing another tour for August. We also have started filming a new music video and have an acoustic release coming up that I can't say much about yet. 

Song River: Thank you Ryan for taking a few moments to chat with us. I know the long haul back from Florida was a lot!  We are all eager to hear what is coming up, especially this next video! We will be in touch again soon!

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