Music in good company

By Brianna Wellen

The ensemble that comprises Katz Company has been a steady rotation of musicians since the band’s conception in 2008 with one exception: Alex Katz. As the group’s founder and lead singer, Katz created his own style of all-inclusive music, pulling inspiration from the people he’s played with and his ever-expanding taste in music.

With a new single and music video about to be released, a headline spot on the main stage at Manifest and talks with Lupe Fiasco’s management company, a solid group formed to go forward as Katz Company. The Chronicle caught up with Katz to talk about variety pop, social media and the band’s next steps toward success.

The Chronicle: Who exactly is in the band? You are obviously kind of the

ring leader.

Alex Katz: It started as a project with myself, just recording songs that I’d done, and then we’ve gone through an ungodly amount of lineups. I think that’s what the whole thing has been about though. It’s like “Katz,” which is myself, and then just working with my friends, which is “Company.” It’s pretty cool that we can work with a bunch of different people. Right now we’ve got Jack Sundquist [on bass], Andrew Napier [on keyboard] and Julian Bell [on guitar] and Alec Lacasse on drums. So that’s the lineup. Honestly, I’d love to have a 12-piece at some point with three doo-wop girls.

The Chronicle: You call yourself variety pop. What does that entail and how much room for creativity does that leave you?

AK: My big issue has been [that the band] started out with this definite pop-rock vibe, and then as my taste expanded I found myself dabbling in a bunch of other stuff. Our latest single coming out is kind of a hip-hop, R&B song. I was trying to sum that up into an actual title that people could say this is what it is. I figured variety pop worked. It’s pretty much pop music filtered through the lenses of a bunch of different genres. I think it gives us room to do whatever we want and still keep it under that same banner.

The Chronicle: You use a lot of social media to get your band out there. How has that been working out for you?

AK: I think it’s kind of a necessary evil in a way. I dig a lot of music from the ’60s and ’70s where the musician was this untouchable figure. I wish it was still like that in a way. I think it’s cool to not know what the artist is doing, leave some mystery. Like, “Maybe they’re on a yacht right now, doing something crazy!” I think, based on the technology, it’s kind of give and take because otherwise we would not have a platform to put our stuff out, but it then humanizes us in a way that I don’t like. It kind of makes us just some dudes and I would like the music to speak for itself a little more, but as far as getting the word out there’s really no better means to do so than through that.

The Chronicle: What will playing Manifest do for you guys?

AK: I think this will probably be the biggest thing we’ve done yet. I think it’s a really awesome thing and I’m super proud to even be considered for it, let alone playing main stage or headlining. At the same time, I think we need to take it with a grain of salt and realize that it’s just one more thing, but it’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully it just keeps us going. Hopefully in a month this was a jump off point so we can do things 10 times bigger than that.

The Chronicle: What’s next for Katz Company?

AK: We’ve got a new single coming out, which is available for free to our entire mailing list, which you can sign up for on our Web site. We’ve got the music video, we’ve got some shows coming up, really just keeping on keeping on. We are fortunate we played a show called “Help Me Help Haiti” and through that show we linked up with a guy named J-Roc who is the A and R representative for FNF Records, which is Lupe Fiasco’s label. So with J-Roc we’re basically setting up meetings for management this summer. I think at this point we’ve taken it pretty much as far as we can by ourselves and it’ll be cool to watch the machine work as it will. We just want to take it to the next level. We’re hitting the major leagues, we’re going pro.

Katz Company can be seen at Manifest in Grant Park on May 14 at 8:40 p. m. More information on upcoming shows and music downloads can be found at