You can gain a lot of perspective from going back to the start. The Ready Set’s Jordan W realized that immediately upon envisioning what would become Nekokat.
“I wanted to be at the beginning of something again that feel fresh and new,” he asserts. “That’s where the idea for the band came from. I tried to make an effort not to pursue sounds of the moment, but to create something that’s distinctly ours in a natural way.”
Following a year of touring in The Ready Set, Jordan returned home to Los Angeles and began penning songs with collaborator Cameron Walker in their spare time. There was no agenda or plan, just the chance to write. Nodding to influences as diverse as Saves The Day, Passion Pit, and The Cure, the music began to really speak to them, and that’s when they enlisted the drum talents of The Summer Set’s Jess Bowen. They also took their name from the giant blow-up cats recently accompanying Jordan on tour—“I had to do it,” he grins. “I’ve always been a fan of Japanese pop art.”
Hitting the studio with producer Eric Palmquist (Bad Suns, Night Riots) for only five days in March 2015, they emerged with their four-song debut Communication EP [Washington Square/Razor & Tie].
“It was awesome because we didn’t have to think about in the way we had to think about projects in the past,” he continues. “It’s really fun and loose, and there are literally no rules. Everything floats out of this collective stream-of-consciousness that the three of us share.”
“It was really refreshing,” Jess agrees. “Sonically, there’s a blend of massive-sounding drums and guitars mixed in with programming. That cross-section brings each song to life in its own way.”
The first single “Gimme a Break” swings between a simmering xylophone sample, bouncy electronics, room-filling drums, and an unshakable harmony on the chorus. “It started has a track idea Jordan made,” says Cameron. “It had the ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’ vocal thing and a sample of kids in a Japan classroom learning English. To me, ‘Gimme a Break’ is sending the message to be true to who you are. Be yourself. Be awesome. Be different.”
“It’s about being around someone who actually has a hard time realizing who they are and are trying to chase this personality that isn’t theirs,” adds Jordan. “Being out on tour or living in a big city with a lot of different personalities, you meet many individuals like that. We want to encourage everyone to be themselves though!”
EP opener “The Reckless” rushes forward with a swell of heavenly melodies and a free-spirited refrain with a rock ‘n’ roll energy, and the title track rises from an ambient intro into another heartfelt hook. “The idea of Communication is to maintain a concept throughout the EP,” states Cameron. “It’s interesting to analyze the way that humans communicate with each other. A lot of our lyrics are very ‘conversational’ sometimes between the storyteller or between the teller and himself.”
Jordan W continues to redefine himself and push the envelope, although that spirit has been his signature since day one. The Ready Set’s debut, I’m Alive, I’m Dreaming, landed at #3 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart and gave the world the platinum certified smash “Love Like Woe.” The outfit’s first offering for Razor & Tie, 2014’s The Bad & The Better, floored its diehard fan base and kicked off a new chapter. Since 2009, they’ve shared stages with everybody from Maroon 5 and Carly Rae Jepsen to Cher Lloyd, Boys Like Girls, and more.
Now, Nekokat signals yet another creative rebirth though, and there’s still nothing like the first time for Jordan.
“I just want fans to feel connected to Communication,” Jordan leaves off. “They can read through all of the lyrics and find something that resonates with them—or it can even simply be fun to listen to. I want them to hear it and make it their own.”