Q&A: Katalysst

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How did you come up with the name of the band?
We put our names together! Kat + Alyssa – a = Katalysst

How would you describe your sound?
We’ve got an indie folk rock sound with a classical edge due to Kat’s classical singing voice.

When did you first become interested in playing music?
Kat has been interested in singing her whole life and started playing guitar in high school. Alyssa got started later in life after a minor injury which gave her some time to learn the bass and start playing in bands.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a show?
Alyssa: Once Kat’s whistle absolutely didn’t work and she sounded like Tweety bird with a mouth full of crackers. I started laughing on stage and then Kat started laughing which officially ended the song. Kat: Once after a show, a man helped us load our equipment to our car and then asked us to pray with him, invited us to his cabin, and loudly smelled my hair. We turned him down. Very creepy.

What are you listening to these days?
Kat: I’m listening to Faun, Le Vent du Nord, Frances Obel, Diana Damrau, and Old Blind Dogs. Alyssa: I’m listening to Phoebe Bridgers, the 1975, RHCP, The Band CAMINO, Nightly, Vacation Manor, and many others.

Kat + Alyssa

What does music mean to you?
Alyssa: Music is magic to me. Pressing buttons and making sounds to make people feel and understand things. What could be more magical or meaningful. Kat: Music is everything to me. It is in everything you see, everything you can taste and touch. Music is everything beautiful and good in this world. It is pure, unadulterated emotion used to express that which is beyond words.

How’d you guys first get together to play music?
We met at a music festival in Davis, CA back in 2019. We fell for each other pretty quickly and started learning covers that year before starting to write our own music in 2020.

San Francisco is full of music history. Who are some San Francisco musicians who inspired you?
Alyssa: I love the Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia. I’ve always loved psychedelic jam bands. We’re big fans of Journey and Third Eye Blind as well. Kat: I’m a classical music nerd so I’ve got to say the SF Symphony. Lindsay Buckingham is from SF too so I guess I’m allowed to say Fleetwood Mac.

What’s the biggest challenge in becoming a musician today?
Alyssa: It’s very hard breaking into the big leagues I’d say so that makes it hard to be a full time musician. One usually has to have other money sources which means splitting your time and attention. If we had the ability to only focus on music, we’d write some unstoppable songs.

What are some of your favorite Bay Area music venues?
Rickshaw Stop is a great venue for seeing some cool indie bands on the rise. We also love Davies Symphony Hall and the Opera House for top-notch classical concerts.

Where do you like to get creative in San Francisco?
Hayes Valley

What’s one thing that people would be surprised to find out about you?}
Kat: We’re a couple. People ask if we’re friends and we just laugh. Alyssa: Sometimes people think we’re sisters which is funny because Kat is Indian.

Is there anything you’d like to plug?
We just released our newest single “Skyfall” followed our other recent release “Promised Land” and we’d love it you gave them a listen.

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.