What began as guitarist/vocalist Damien Scott’s solo project, San Francisco’s Il Gato has now expanded into an indie-folk orchestra. Although he initially conceived it to be a one-man affair, at times the group expands to as many as 11 members playing banjo, drums, keyboards, or contributing to the string or horn section.

Scott started writing songs and playing music while in studying architecture in Italy. As a massive fan of artists like Elliott Smith and Jeff Buckley as well as hip-hop, his original intent was to start a new genre called ‘sensitive white guy hip-hop.’ Fortunately, that idea never came to fruition and Il Gato did.

The band, now consisting of five core members, made its first studio recordings for its recent album All These Slippery Things. Due to a tight budget, Il Gato had to cram all of the recordings into a short period of time. This inspired the band to play everything live, which Scott says created a level of “energy that outweighs the inherent imperfections in rhythm or tone.” The record was finished with some overdubbing at home, which apparently brought out some more beautiful imperfections. According to Scott, at the end of “The Slippery Waltz” an opera-singing neighbor can be heard from her upstairs apartment. Scott describes this as a fortunate accident that was recorded “in the perfect place on the perfect song.”

Il Gato has a two week tour coming up that will drop the group off in Austin for SXSW. Once it is done there, the band is looking to head back into the studio—minus the sensitive white boy hip-hop approach.

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