By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Packed with songs like “One Day,” “Droptop” and Summer breakup anthem “The Way I Feel,” alt-rock/hip-hop hybrid Katastro showcase a more mature direction on their recently dropped sixth full-length album ‘Sucker’ via Silverback Music’s Controlled Substance Sound Labs.
They used the extra time off from the COVID-19 pandemic to put together the 12-track ‘Sucker,’ produced by Matt Keller (Lydia, Anarbor, Redlands) and revolved their new songs around the theme of the journey to positivity when things feels more down than usual.
The Phoenix-based outfit – composed of vocalist Andy Chaves, drummer Andrew Stravers, guitarist Tanner Riccio and bassist Ryan Weddle – have gotten to where they are now on the back of a fearless sound that combines rock, hip-hop, funk, blues and reggae.
Over their time together, they’ve played alongside acts like Dirty Heads, Sublime With Rome, Iration, 311, Pepper.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to speak with Riccio about ‘Sucker’ and more.
Music Bugle – How did you decide the group name?
Tanner Riccio – It was actually just a made-up word used previously by our drummer Andrew Stravers’ old band.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for your new album ‘Sucker’?
Tanner Riccio – We set out with the intention of just making a collection of feel-good Summer songs. We tried to step out of our sad/dark song comfort zone and it was really quite difficult at first. Turns out, making a happy song is much harder than we thought.
Music Bugle – What is the biggest challenge in being an up-and-coming act these days?
Tanner Riccio – The greatest challenge is creating something new. It seems as almost everything has already been done, so it can be tricky to find your uniqueness in it all.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Tanner Riccio – Our style, fortunately, allows us to play shows with a multitude of bands and that’s pretty exciting.
Music Bugle – How would you compare ‘Sucker’ to your earlier works?
Tanner Riccio – ‘Sucker’ is fun, upbeat and easygoing, as opposed to our earlier more emotional, heavy stuff.
Music Bugle – What made you go with “The Way I Feel” as the lead single of ‘Sucker’?
Tanner Riccio – Honestly, we never really know which song is going to hit the hardest and have the most impact on people. Regardless what anyone says, you just can’t be sure of anything. When it comes to choosing the single, we typically seek outside perspective and ask friends/family which song has the greatest overall effect, but also which song is most representative to the album itself.
Music Bugle – Which of your songs were the hardest to write?
Tanner Riccio – I don’t recall having one song be more difficult than any other. They all came together pretty effortlessly.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Phoenix to someone who has never been there before?
Tanner Riccio – It’s beautiful half the year and hot as hell the other half.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Tanner Riccio – We would each have very different answers to this question, but right now, I’m listening to a mixture of Action Bronson, Gram Parsons and Queens of the Stone Age. How’s that for a mix?
Music Bugle – What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Tanner Riccio – ‘Sucker’ is our proudest accomplishment to date, also the fact that we haven’t killed each other after 13 years of being a band.
*Photo Credit – Chris Colclasure*