“Care for the ones around you”: a chat with George Katsos

D: Hello, George: first of all, introduce yourself to our readers.
R: Hello, Giuseppe, and greetings to everyone from the eastern coast of the US! Thanks for taking the time in promoting independent artists to your audience. I’ve been making music for many years and appreciate being here today.

D: Before asking about your debut EP, I would like yo know your story, as musician.
R: Like many musicians, I am inspired by 1960s British invasion and Motown artists. I enjoy creating original music. As a youngster in the 1980s, I participated in what was known as the last night jam at the famous Cambridge Music Complex outside of Boston the night before it was demolished. Local bands and members such as from the band Boston, Aerosmith, The Cars, and The J. Geils Band, previously practiced there and the intrigue that surrounded them peaked my interest to become a working musician. A few years later I was in a band selected for regional exposure by MTV. In this a famous U2 producer harshly critiqued our performance in a pre-American Idol-like setting stating that emulating Beatles’ harmonies would go nowhere. A few years and bands later one song I wrote was recorded as a 7-inch vinyl 45 entitled “Johnny Save the World” and highlighted by Billboard Magazine as the Critic’s “Choice of the Week” with Led Zeppelin and Stone Temple Pilots. Performance wise I experienced moderate exposure through the Boston music scene and colleges across New England and the northeastern United States. In the late 1990s, the fun for music creatively and performance became outweighed by management and marketing so I put anything related to music in storage and powered on. Approaching a 20-year hiatus, and out of reverence for the Beatles “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”, I paid homage to Liverpool, England during Beatlemania. Upon returning home, I improved my musical skills and eventually recorded and prepared five songs that became this 2021 independent release.

D: Your debut EP is called “George Katsos EP1”: would you tell us something more about it?
R: For the grouping of tracks that eventually became the EP, I was very conscious of putting out five songs that sounded different so constantly switched up their arrangements to keep the sound fresh and unique. One may label the genre as adult contemporary or indie pop or even folk pop. Besides 1960s British and Motown influences, you could throw in 1970s/1980s classic rock like AC/DC, 1980s/1990s MTV generation to include R.E.M. and U2.  For the EP, I wanted to perform all the instruments that I could, but also mix the material.  This took some spin up time on skill and knowledge on how to use the new technology. For the musical performances, what was a melodic opening song of guitars, “How Would You Handle This?”, a song about personal loss, it became an opening vocal arrangement with a danceable ending. The second song, “By The Fire”, originally written as a piano song in 1985 about conjuring up invitations to gather with friends by a fire, cleared the hurdle to maintain its piano riff but with harmonies. The third, “Better Half”, refers to acknowledging your partner as the better half of a relationship with a Motown driven ending. The fourth, “Toe The Line”, is about sticking to the truth as one knows it which ended being the longest song with guitar solos and the final, “The Cleansing”, is a swan song for the session written in 1993 about helping someone power through a tough time that involved tricky offbeats in the versus and a reverse echoing chorus. The first two songs are now released and both have videos on YouTube. For mixing, I tried to capture more of a live feel instead of being over produced. This includes letting some imperfections show which fit some level of live authenticity but also make my novice approach to mixing understandable and even usable. The recording was all done in GarageBand and videos in iMovie. Again simple that shows beginning stages of learning the technology but also showing more humor, authenticity, and hopefully honesty in passionately recorded tracks.

D: You’re very influenced by great names of the past: what do you think about contemporary music? Is there any artists do you like?
R: For me I focus on an individual song to see if I like artist as a whole. Taylor Swift is a very appealing performer but I paid even more attention to her when she joined Tal Bachem up on stage live to sing “She’s So High”. Katy Perry is also a successful artist but I was really impressed with her intensity when she sang “Yesterday” live in front of Paul McCartney on TV. Sia’s and Maroon 5’s Adam Levine have great performances. Lil Nas X has a very rich voice and Lady Gaga stands out on as an artist and performer heavy on creativity and talent with presentation memorable to Dale Bozzio in “Missing Persons”.

D: What should we expect from your future?
R: It is my interest to keep writing music but it’s up to you and everyone else to determine if it’s worth while to be heard. What I can tell you is that I will independently push out EP1, EP2, and EP3 which will be a total of about 15 songs, one EP each year, each capturing my performance and mixing ability in that point in time, and accompanying videos with the intent of increasing interest per the data each time. All in a fun sense but that’s the goal then reevaluation will kick in.  For live performance, it will be up to the demand. If it’s wanted, then it may happen.

D: Anything else to say?
R: Can’t pass up the fact that we all experienced some sort of change in habits recently and may even been directly touched by the pandemic so I wanted to say be vigilant in acknowledging and adapting to your surroundings, honor your memories, and care for the ones around you.

D: A last greeting to our readers.
R: Ciao, bellas and bellos!

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