As a highly-skilled guitarist and performer, Jay Katana injects his signature brand of individuality into any song. With his tonal range and flawless technique, the Atlanta, GA-based musician works his signature style into virtually any musical genre. Katana’s sound is very recognizable; his leads are intense and versatile. His composing skills, performance and onstage action always give the audience a memorable experience and elevate the listener’s emotions.
The close of 2017 sees Katana releasing his debut solo album, “Brighter Than Your Future,” which blends the ultimate guitar experience with futuristic production of instrumental music.
In 2016 Katana produced the critically-lauded Bleeding Boyfriend Vol. 1, a comic book series with electronic dance metal soundtracks. “A rock ‘n’ roll visionary has been born, and we are certain there will be an enthusiastic audience along for the ride,” wrote Brian Lush, Editor of ROCKWIRED MAGAZINE. “The ups and downs of love on the nightclub scene gone right and completely wrong, and illustrated in stark black and white, punctuated with a sound that marries electronic dance music with heavy metal guitars. A stylish offering from a talent that will have everyone asking for Katana’s business card,” Lush concludes.
Originally from Moldova in Eastern Europe, Katana was recently a member of East Coast rock-metal band, Pool of Thorns, of whom Live Music Daily in Philadelphia raved, “Pool of Thorns brings beauty and passion to the raunchy high-powered metal scene.”
As he continues to establish himself in the music industry, Jay is sure that his best works are yet to come.
Indie Pulse Music recently interviewed Jay about his new album and more, here’s how it went.
On your new album “Brighter Than Your Future”, what led to your decision to make the record completely instrumental, with no vocals?
First of all, the whole idea of this record came to me suddenly one day, when I almost lost my left hand in an accident last spring. I was laying there in the hospital, waiting for surgery, and I wasn’t sure at all if I will ever play again. It felt so unfair to me at that moment: I spent all my life mastering my guitar playing, performing for people, bringing them inspiration and now it could be all over, with me not even having achieved anything of real significance. I promised myself that as soon as I got out of the hospital I would create the best guitar instrumental record ever. A record that will let the guitar shine in new colors and embrace today’s music beats and production.
Well, luckily, now I’m playing better than I’ve ever played and the tracks came out so quick. Literally everything (on Brighter Than Your Future) was composed and produced in four nights. As for the vocals, or lack thereof – that was my whole point, to let the guitar speak for itself with as many voices and layers as needed.
Who do you consider to be your own biggest guitar player influences?
Unfortunately, I haven’t listened to much guitar instrumental music lately so I’m not familiar with today’s guitar heroes. But when I was a kid and was developing my signature style my main influences were Paul Gilbert, Steve Vai, Val Gaina, Glen Tipton, Scotti Hill and Sergey Mavrin.
Talk about the structure and arrangements of some of the tracks on the new album.
The album has an intro and a koda, but in the middle is the main concept of four tracks, that take the listener for a ride all the way from heavy drum and bass track with feisty guitar chorus of “No Time 2b Sorry” to a suffering-filled ballad “I Need You Now (I Should’ve Chosen Your Friend The Night We Met)”, where I tried to imitate the voice singing with the guitar (articulating phrases and using vocal dynamics). Next goes a heavy dubstep “Sand’s Ex” with Oriental layers and “plucked” keypads. This track was written and co-produced by the incredibly talented Chris Edge from the band A Very Loud Death. And as a cherry on top (to comply all the emotional spectrum) there’s a fully acoustic piece, “When She Dies”, where the trick is that the silence and background sounds speak to listeners more than the guitar itself.
In the recent past, you had moved East to play with a band, Pool Of Thorns. How did that experience work out for you?
It was incredible. I had loved this band since 2013, and it is the most hard-working band I’ve ever met. After countless rides back and forth and telephone calls – I decided to move to New Jersey full time last October. It was a crazy ride of live shows and recording sessions. I had no idea how supportive the fans are and the whole music community up there. Everybody treats me like a family and I felt so much support when I had my arm accident from people I had barely met. It meant a lot to me. We stay busy constantly playing shows and I never felt so much feedback and connection from the audience before in my life. We’re working on new songs and are excited to take the band to the next level in 2018.
What is the difference in the dynamic of being a solo artist, as opposed to playing as part of a group?
The biggest difference is that my solo work is dedicated to guitarists and guitar music lovers. Although it would be great if it can attract some fans from the outside of rock community to guitar world in general. But with Pool Of Thorns it’s more like a full package of emotions delivered through the songs and sharing life experiences. The beauty of my band is that every member (Domino, Carlo, Zack) is a unique personality with an extraordinary story of life. And when you get us all together on one stage performing for you – it’s bigger than life.
What is some of your favorite guitar gear?
Since I moved to the U.S. I play mostly Jackson Guitars (Dinky Series). Recently my best friend gave me an extraordinary gift – an Ibanez RG (“Gypsy”) guitar, that he toured the country with. Honestly, it’s the most beautiful guitar in the world, filled with stories and emotions. I’m proud to use it as one of my main guitars. Pedal-wise – I use the Line 6 POD HD series.
Coming from Moldova in Eastern Europe as you do, what are the differences, and similarities, in the original music scene over there, compared to here in the U.S.?
I don’t see that many differences in music skills or the amount of talented musicians between the U.S. and my country. But there are some fundamental differences in the song writing process and the industry itself. I’m really thankful to my country for what it gave me, because here I am competitive by having that out-of-the-box thinking that came from doing the same things in a completely different culture. But, at the end of the day, our (musicians) job is the same, no matter where you are. It is to inspire people and to write the soundtracks of their best memories.
If you could tour with any one band or solo artist, who would they be?
I would love to tour with Motley Crue and the ‘80’s version of Skid Row, the ‘90’s Nirvana and Marilyn Manson, Bullet For My Valentine and AFI in the 2000’s, and with Pool of Thorns today.
Will you be doing any live performances or tours to promote “Brighter Than Your Future”?
Yes, it will be me performing the album with minus tracks and holding the guitar master class on the same event. It’s a common thing for instrumental guitarists nowadays. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll try to make it in a different format, helping and inspiring the future guitar heroes.
What is the best way for people to keep up on the latest goings-on with Jay Katana?
And of course, the website is where you get the latest news and updates, plus you can buy music and merch at www.jaykatana.us,
As for the album “Brighter Than Your Future” itself. It will be available literally everywhere on Friday, December 29, 2017. on all the music streaming and downloading services.