You may have already heard Matt Katsis performing live, without even knowing it, when walking down Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD.
For last two years, Bourke Street Mall has been his busking spot, a point where he meets his future fans, gets in touch with people, says a warm “g’day” to passers by and promotes his music.
As this Melbourne born and raised singer, songwriter and guitarist remembers, he has been surrounded with music from an early age. Exposure to family friends playing acoustic guitar turned out to become the seeds of his interest in the instrument, as Matt tells Neos Kosmos. It was at the age of nine that he picked up his first guitar which his parents bought him.
With his first ‘live performance’ given with the band while still in primary school, today Matt Katsis is both a soloist, and the vocalist and guitarist in his three-piece band Matt Katsis & The India Black.
The music he performs covers the range from folk to blues and reggae, fused together to create a unique sound.
As a soloist, he and his 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars grace the stages of many Victorian venues and Australian festival line-ups, revealing his raw talent.
“If you look at it separately – when I play solo I am on the acoustic guitar, so it’s a far cruisier singer-songwriter vibe, with a bit of folk influence and blues/roots foundation to it. And with the band – it’s that reggae/ rock side of style,” Matt tells Neos Kosmos.
A 25-year-old determined to pursue his career as a musician and a strong believer in his dreams, Matt Katsis continues to pave the way of his music career. Behind him is a great summer packed with solo and band gigs and a whole lot of busking days in Bourke Street Mall, that connect him to audiences.
“I enjoy both solo performing as well as the band. In the solo, it’s about the freedom, going with the flow, busking… With the band it’s a bit more structured, but we are still able to express ourselves. We’ve been together for five, six years now and we know each other pretty well.
“The combination of both solo and band career would be ideal. But, if one thing takes off, they are both as enjoyable as the other one, so I wouldn’t be disappointed either way,” Matt says.
When not performing, Matt is writing and producing his music at his own independent record label, Groundsel Records, which released his debut EP ‘Rise’, in 2008.
In May last year, his first full length album ‘Bare Bones’ was released. To accompany the album, Matt held a Victorian launch tour, attracting the attention of new fans around the state.
Currently, he is touring Victoria for his summer tour Simmer Down Sundown, performing both in metropolitan and rural areas. After more than 80 shows played in 2012, and 100 in 2013, Matt Katsis’ passion and commitment for music are not to be doubted.
But it’s not only numerous gigs that Matt uses to connect with people. Even more successfully, he does so as part of Melbourne’s busking scene.
For young Katsis, busking is the perfect mix between promoting his music, meeting people and potential fans. When I call him for a scheduled interview, the background noise reveals his location – Bourke Street’s busking scene.
“It has been really good for the last 2 years. It’s a good way to meet potential fans, as they can get the idea of what I do. There is so much going on in the music scene today and until you visually see something, it’s hard to get people’s attention. They buy a CD or hopefully turn up to a gig later down the track – it’s a good way to support the music and get involved.”
And that’s what it’s all about for an upcoming musician, who describes the current situation of the music scene as a ‘tricky thing’.
“It’s about doing what you love and being able to share it with other people. So I guess if your intentions are good, if you are a strong believer that you’ll get to where you want to be, to play the music, hopefully good things will happen. I think it’s just persistence and dedication in that. There have always been ups and downs, I guess you just have to push on to it,” Matt says.
With the band’s single to follow next month, The India Black mini interstate tour is likely to hit the east coast and New South Wales.