Imagine a classical conductor who leaves his score, baton and concert hall for a sweaty, underground funk dungeon. This is, essentially, how Mike Kearney founded The Katet. They are Edinburgh’s 7-piece soulfunk monster playing dance music for the thinking man. Its Brahms with brass! Rachmaninov if you’re ‘man enough’! Funky and soulful but with a heavy basting of intricate and sublime composition.
The new album, Guillotine, is all the proof anyone could need. In addition to the core of The Katet, it hosts an array of special guests; from a string sextet to five-piece horns, 2 drummers, 2 bassists, 2 guitarists, 2 percussionists and vocals – 19 musicians in all.
The Katet wasn’t always “something of a funk colossus”. The band’s inception was in 2007 when singer-songwriter Mike Kearney put together a trio to play a mixture of Tom Waits, Steely Dan and Stevie Wonder influenced originals. After acquiring a much sought after late-night residency at Edinburgh’s multiple award-winning music venue, The Jazz Bar, a change began to take place.
8 years, 400 gigs, 800 hours of music and roughly 6,000 songs later, the band has completely transformed. It still boasts the classic funk line-up of drums, bass, electric guitar, keyboards and vocals but with added three-piece “monstrous” horn section at the fore. The songs, once simple groove-based funk ditties, have evolved into larger than life composed epics whilst remaining grounded in a pop-song format. Kearney’s philosophical lyrics on social culture, religion and politics remain at the centre of each piece.
The time has come, and The Katet have outgrown the house. Bursting at the seams, its time to bring what they have learnt to the masses. And their new album is the perfect vehicle to take them there. Nothing more can they learn from their much-loved, intimate shows in the basement of the capital’s funkiest speak-easy. Now, fully-grown, The Katet are leaving the nest, wings spread and talons raised.
“Dynamic, danceable, and dastardly catchy” – Sunday Mail ****
“Something of a funk colossus” – Edinburgh Evening News
“There’s Jazz, there’s funk, and then there’s The Mike Kearney Katet!” – James Corden
“Edinburgh funk behemoths… a masterclass in the madness of jazz-funk” – Channel 7A
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