Funk-punk band Katastro put in over a decade of work, crafting their sound, building their team, and finding a loyal base of listeners. Their latest single “Good Time” is out now, and offers a collaboration with Dirty Heads, a band they have looked up to for years.
More than a decade following their inception in 2007, the band found their golden ticket to the mainstream–a feature on the Netflix hit “Outer Banks” soundtrack. The windows-down sun-tinged indie rock of “Under My Tongue” was the perfect fit for the gang of friends running around North Carolina in the fictional mysteries they find themselves in on the show.
Following their television soundtrack debut, the group found themselves playing the hallowed Red Rocks Amphitheater just outside of Denver, Colorado. Riding the high of a new level of success, the group made their way to Orange County, California to get into the studio with Dirty Heads to record the new track. The group looked forward to working with producer Ryan “OG” Ogren, who has worked with Doja Cat, Lil Wayne, Kim Petras, Maroon 5, Saweetie, and more. Just two days later, the group lost their lead singer, Andy J. Chaves, to a tragic car accident on the Pacific Coast Highway.
How Katastro Came To Be
The majority of the band members first met at Corona del Sol High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Bassist Ryan Weddle spoke on the many years he shared with the late Chaves, prior to the band’s formation. Weddle recalls initial hesitance to join the group, but is ultimately grateful he took the plunge.
“They [the band] all met in school, but I had met our singer Andy as a young kid. Our parents went to the same church. His dad filmed my parents’ wedding. We had lost the connection over the years, and a mutual family friend had contacted me to join the band or go audition,” said Weddle.
“I wasn’t super excited about it, but I went to make him happy. We all hit it off, and I joined in mid-2008.”
Weddle recalls that each band member had unique backgrounds within their respective musicianship. Weddle’s background predominantly lied in jazz, while the group’s guitarist focused on classic rock, the drummer on punk, and Chaves started out solely as a rapper. By the mid 2000s, these genres rapidly began to fuse in a number of groups, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Living Legends, Incubus, and Hieroglyphics, all of whom Weddle has cited as sonic inspiration for the group.
The Collaboration With Dirty Heads
The bassist went on to describe Katastro’s long friendship with Dirty Heads. Weddle described how honored he felt to work with the band he looked up to as a teenager.
“One of our first shows we played was opening up for Dirty Heads way back in 2008. They were a really small band at the time, but they were just on the cusp of really making it big. Over the years, they grew and they started giving us more opportunities. They took us out on our first big national tour where we were playing amphitheaters,” recounted Weddle.
“We just had that relationship with them since the early days, and we were able to watch them lay out the roadmap on how to go from a small touring band in a van to a giant national act that’s selling out massive amphitheaters. They were always people that we looked up to, and we had all this awesome stuff going on in this last year.”
Starting as a local band, Katastro was constantly striving to continue to the next step. Now, Weddle expresses that his friend and bandmate’s sudden passing partially served as a wake up call for how much they had truly accomplished as a group.
“We started getting bigger show offers, and all of our shows around the country started doubling. It just felt like something really amazing was about to happen,” said Weddle. While the feeling of accomplishment remains, the complexities of grief linger.
“One of the worst days of our lives happened right after this success. Andy passed away on that last night in California. It was definitely a roller coaster because everything was feeling really good and we’re like, ‘we’re finally doing it’, and then it suddenly feels like you have nothing left,” said Weddle of the tragedy.
How Chaves Is Remembered On “Good Time”
Weddle revealed there was a slight lyric change on “Good Time” intended to honor Chaves’ memory and time with the band.
“The song started out very simple. It’s literally about having a good time. These are the times you’re living in. Looking back now, at the time it was more just this party, fun track. Now when I listen to it, it’s more about understanding the good times while they’re happening and appreciating what you have,” reflected Weddle.
“When you’re looking back at it after a tragedy like that, sometimes those happy, fun times that we all experienced together, are the hardest things to look back on. Dirty Heads hadn’t done any of their verses yet when we first started writing it. They rewrote theirs to be coming from the perspective of our band grieving Andy’s loss. This song is not about the tragedy itself, but it plays a role in the different perspectives of. ‘It was a good life’ as one of the lyrics that they have on there,” said Weddle.
On their upcoming album, Weddle reiterated that the perspective of losing Chaves certainly adds a different layer to the songs they had written.
“It’s going to be heavy. There’s some songs that are more emotional and more eerie now. After the fact, you can look at lyrics a different way and find new meaning in them. But ultimately, the goal is just make this the next best Katastro album regardless,” said Weddle.
“We want it to stand on its own and not be something that sounds like it was pieced together from a bunch of different things and reworked a bunch of times. In my opinion, it doesn’t sound like that at all. It’s a very solid piece of work that we’re all really excited about.”
“Good Time” is available on streaming services now.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.