Based in California, Katalysst is a progressive Folk-Rock duo cultivating a style of woke folk for the contemporary soul. Combining vocal finesse with thoughtful chord progressions, this female duo interweaves memorable melodies with compelling motifs, harkening back to the vitality and edge behind the protest songs of the 1960s.
In the thick of their most recent release, Katalysst provides poignant offerings in “Bildungsroman (American Dream).” With Katalysst’s sound providing their rapidly growing fan base a perspective into themes of both the internal and external struggles of contemporary politics, social movements, and modern life, this femme-powered dynamism emphasizes their talents as lyrical storytellers.
Delicate chord strums crystalize the fortified foundation that is the prevailing vocalization that they offer as they sweep you off your feet in an elusive conveyance. Melodies spin in every direction as Katalysst approaches this striking masterpiece with abstract images that paint the canvases in our minds.
The simplistic instrumentation adds prominence to this arrangement with the bare manipulation to the integrity of the resonance cascading. As the harmonious timbres chime in with a compelling charm, the thoughts effortlessly flow through this sonic expedition as we fixate ourselves upon Katalysst touching on references through the ages that make up their lens into the American dream.
Gaining clarity and insight into the creative minds that are behind “Bildungsroman (American Dream),” their unmatched aptitudes glisten in an illuminating glow that lights the way. Preparing ourselves for more of this raw authenticity, Katalysst always delivers in the musical creations they emit.
Congratulations on the release of your single, “Bildungsroman (American Dream).” Both of you have such wonderful dynamism. How did you two come to bring the essence of Katalysst to life?
Alyssa: Thank you! We met almost 2 years ago now, and it was pretty much love at first sight. I was playing a show and started flirting with Kat afterward, not that she even realized I was. She told me she was an opera singer and an English major, and I was absolutely spellbound. Now here I am, this self-taught bassist playing music with this extraordinarily talented and well-educated musician so I’ve definitely learned a lot from her about music. Before I came along, she had never written a song so I sort of added in this unrefined creative energy that spurs action and breaks walls.
Kat: It is really a treasure to be able to make music with the one you love. And we are so fortunate that our creative talents meld together so well. Our different strengths bolster the other’s weaknesses and make a type of music that is altogether sincere, honest, and infused with our mutual joy for life. And we’re just getting started!
In your own words, what does “Bildungsroman (American Dream),” mean to the two of you?
Alyssa: To answer that question, it’s easiest to start with the meaning of the word ‘bildungsroman.’ It’s a German word that I learned in my English classes that translates to a coming of age story or a novel of spiritual education. The song is just that, a sort of American coming of age story inspired by my experience of growing up in Georgia and moving to California. The speaker realizes that the American dream is a facade and perhaps always was.
Kat: When I was growing up, I was told that if you work hard, get good grades, and go to college, you will be successful in life. It’s just that simple. But that “American Dream” does not exist any longer if it ever did. We are a generation of people who went to college, work four jobs, and still can’t buy a house. Many of us struggle to feed our families and live paycheck to paycheck, especially during this pandemic. This song to me is a coming of age story, but one of disillusionment, where the world is not the way you always thought it was.
Could you please share a glimpse into the creative and recording process of “Bildungsroman (American Dream)?"
Alyssa: As far as the inception of the song, it started with me writing up some lyrics and then taking them to Kat for some workshopping. Then we both sat down with a guitar and Kat put some chords and a tune to it. I added the bassline after marinating on the song structure.
Kat: Alyssa is quite the wordsmith, and churns out excellent lyrics as easily as breathing. She will work really hard on the lyrics for a song and bring them to me. Those lyrics often have a certain musicality to them already, and it is merely my job to find out what that music sounds like. The text very much dictates the way the song sounds, and we will tease out the most interesting way to express it. For recording, we had an audio engineer friend come over to our house and turn it into a temporary recording studio. We recorded the pieces we could do ourselves-the piano, the guitars, bass, vocals and then we sent it to another friend who mixed and added the tasteful guitar solos.
What are you hoping that listeners take away from the messaging in this single?
Alyssa: We’re hoping listeners will perhaps question the dogmas they might have grown up around. We also want people to put a lens on the American dream and the American exceptionalism myth that I know I certainly was taught.
Kat: Same for me. I hope people’s eyes will open up to the way our country is changing, and how we should adjust accordingly. We are not the same country we used to be, and there is nothing wrong with that necessarily. What is wrong is when we deny these changes and continue to hold to antiquated ways of living that don’t work for most people anymore.
What's next for you?
Alyssa: We are currently working on our first EP and lining things up for our debut album. The songs are already written, we’ve just got to record it all. This spring we are going to visit some musician friends on the east coast and work in their home studio to get everything fleshed out and recorded.
Kat: So stay tuned for both EP and album, featuring the original songs, vocals, and bass that people have come to love, plus the collaboration of some of our most talented friends. We think you’ll really love it!