il gato
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il gato

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF

San Francisco, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Il Gato"

hometown: San Francisco, CA

categories: Folk, Indie Rock

for fans of: The Dodos, The Felice Brothers, Beirut

why you should check them out:
A swirling pastiche of acoustic folk and baroque pop, the lithe songs and uptempo rhythms of San Francisco’s Il Gato make for a spirited musical cavalcade rich in textures and tones.

background check:
Though Il Gato is a Bay Area staple, singer/songwriter Damian Holiday Scott, a former architect, was still living in his native Gainesville, FL, when Il Gato’s musical blueprints came into being. His 2007 solo home recordings, “conversationmusic,” are considered the primitive efforts that would eventually evolve into what Il Gato is today. After relocating across the country, Scott joined up with fellow musicians to bring the band’s newly embellished folk pop to life.

The group, currently consisting of Scott accompanied by pianist/trumpeter/vocalist Matthew Souther, upright bassist/vocalist Andrew Thomas, and drummer/vocalist Johnny Major, released their official debut album, All these Slippery Things, in 2010 to overwhelming critical praise. Recorded at San Francisco’s iconic Tiny Telephone Recording Studio, the album is highlighted by emotionally charged lyrics sung with impassioned harmonies and a diverse delivery that incorporates reggae, country, and classical elements with ease.

Following up where their debut LP left off, Il Gato are currently playing in support of their companion EP record, All those Slippery Things. Comprised of new material taken from the same Tiny Telephone session, the new release acts as almost an extended B-side to 2010's LP, offering a similar yet delightfully fresh take on the group's sound. - MySpoonful

"Bravo, il gato!"

FALL ARTS The clouds hang over San Francisco like a brumous, early evening warning sign. It's late summer on the back patio of popular Mission street bar El Rio. Small pockets of people huddle near outdoor heaters, and vintage pop songs come pumping through the speakers. Three men dressed neatly in sweaters and hoodies sit at a long picnic table clutching cheap beers.

This is the story of il gato, a San Francisco band that describes itself as indie-baroque-folk. Its music is baroque in the sense that it's melancholic yet upbeat, lyric-heavy yet leans towards the classical, and highly decorated with a wide array of instrumentation. The band's 2010 long-player, All These Slippery Things (self-released), and similarly-named followup EP All Those Slippery Things (released last month) feature banjo, mandolin, piano, a string quartet, and trumpets, along with aggressive acoustic folk guitar, looping pedal, upright and electric bass, and complex drumming.

After years of dutiful practice in tiny apartment kitchens, labored songwriting, and intimate live shows, the group finally recorded (thanks to a grant from the Bay Bridged blog) in 2009 at legendary studio Tiny Telephone, owned by revered local musician John Vanderslice. "I...remember how eclectic and fresh their instrumentation and arrangements were," says Vanderslice. "They were a blast to have in the studio." But this all came a decade after the first seedling of the il gato concept. Fittingly, the band's journey — a mildly operatic one, given the twists and bumps along the way — began in Italy.

THE PROLOGUE: Daimian Holiday Scott is studying architecture abroad in Vicenza, Italy. The year is 1999; he hasn't picked up an instrument since middle school. All of those niggling emotions involved with overseas travel had led to an outburst of emotions, which, naturally, led to buying a guitar. The initial concept was performance art: he'd speak with a fake Italian accent but sing cover songs in English. That never actually happened. "It's the story before the story," says il gato drummer, Johnny Major, "the prelude."

THE FIRST ACT: fast forward five years. Scott shuts the door to the bedroom and asks his girlfriend to listen to the songs he's been working on from a safe distance in the living room. "It took a long time for me to break free of being super shy and inhibited," Scott says.

Scott was in his native Gainsville, Fla. writing songs on acoustic guitar and harmonica, learning that to be a songwriter, one must evolve out of the bedroom. He moved to the Bay Area in 2001, first to Berkeley and later, the Mission District of San Francisco, playing as il gato with a rotating cast of talented musicians friends. Years later, when he longed for consistency, he put up an ad on Craigslist seeking musicians.

Major, a San Francisco native who had recently returned from a two-year stay in Chile, answered it. "I liked the name," says Major, "And of course, I really liked the music. I thought he sounded like a combination of Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse and Doug Martsch from Built to Spill, two of my favorite bands."

SFBG › This Week ›
Bravo, il gato - Page 2

FALL ARTS PREVIEW: The baroque San Francisco band is about to have its best season yet
08.23.11 - 6:47 pm | Emily Savage |

* PrintPrint

Slippery fellows: il gato lights up the fall

Major — who has played in a variety of other bands including Sang Matiz and his new solo project, Adios Amigo — listened to Scott's first album Conversation Music, which didn't have drums, and heard some interesting potential for percussion. During this time, in 2008, Scott, Major and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Souther (who left the band a few months ago) would play in Major's street-level Lower Haight apartment. The band next gained bassist Andrew Thomas, a Dallas, Tex.-born musician who had recently moved to SF with his girlfriend after a stint in college and other touring bands in Los Angeles. Scott and Thomas had been introduced by their girlfriends one night at the Latin American Club. "He came over the next week to my apartment in North Beach, we just played guitar and upright bass in my kitchen," says Thomas of Scott.

ACT TWO: the end of an era. Scott's aria, his solo work in effect, officially comes to an end. He's part of a band now, all equal parts. "It was no longer just my project," he says, taking a sip of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Over the course of four short days in February of 2010, the band essentially recorded two albums (the full-length and E.P.), 17 songs in total. The guitar, bass, vocals, and drums were all recorded live at Tiny Telephone. The overdubs of horns and string sections were recorded in Thomas' home, to save time and money. "I can't believe it turned out as well as it did," Major says.

And it did turn out well. The songs are striking and wholly unique. That said, there are hints at the groups' influences like Neutral Milk Hotel, Beirut, Modest Mouse, even Violent Femmes. But there are other elements, even hip-hop tucked in some parts as Major points out, especially in the mouthful of talk-sung lyrics in brassy folk single, "On Feathers and Arrows." Major and Scott then discuss Scott's predilection toward reggae beats, a holdover from his childhood with hippie parents. "That's the nature of trying to describe your music to someone, it's always difficult," Scott says.

He adds that he is also influenced by the non-musical: acerbic, witty writers such as Kurt Vonnegut, along with films like Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia. The band was recently featured on the soundtrack for the documentary Crime After Crime, something Scott is hoping to do more in the future.

ACT THREE: that future. The band has a handful of shows lined up this fall, including Cafe du Nord this week and Andrew Bird's "Rock for Kids" fundraiser Sept. 19 at the Make-Out Room, along with some brief tours planned. Then, in January 2012, il gato wants to go back to Tiny Telephone to record a followup. Sitting in the back patio, chatting about the projects to come, the group's goals are clear. Right now, all three are primarily focused on the band itself. In 2009, Scott was laid off from his job as an architect and Major was laid off six months ago. "I'm hopefully looking to break in to something else," Major says. "Ideally, I'll have a career as a performing musician, it's difficult but that's the dream for all of us. That's why we're here right now."

CURTAIN CALL: take a bow. Crush the cans.

Check out il gato's favorite local eats here. They've got some good ones!


With Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside

Thurs/25, 9 p.m., $12

Cafe du Nord

2170 Market, SF

- SF Bay Guardian

"Find of the Week, Vol. 3, No. 2"

A quality baroque group is hard to come by. There are many Zach Condon disciples out there but most tend to fall on their faces in trying to duplicate. Il Gato has taken a few pieces out of the Condon lesson book but has added their own touch of folk banjo, piano and strings to offer something just a little bit more.

Frontman Daimian Scott’s vocals will remind one instantly of Conor Oberst’s crackling and quivering voice which make their debut album, "All these Slippery Things", all that much more inviting to the new comer. The multi-instrumentalist group strikes a fine balance without one aspect taking the lead for long before it is overtaken by another. This keeps each tracks interesting and engaging for the listener waiting for the next turn.

"All these Slippery Things" is out now and can be purchased on their Bandcamp page linked below. I highly recommend that you do so. The album is fraught with unexpected twists, the genre bending, 9:00 epic track “The Snapping Sound” is followed by a brief instrumental interlude, “The Slippery Waltz”, before breaking back into the full frontal folk song “On Feathers & Arrows (On Burnt Pine)”. “In The Lightning It Is Written” is a rollicking, uptempo song that is plainly just too short for its own good. "All these Slippery Things" plays out more like a play with the lengthier tracks being the main acts and with sub 3:00 tracks playing the role as the introductions for the next action sequence. - The Muse in Music

"Tonight: Watch Il Gato Play a Free Show from the Comfort of Your Glowing Computer Screen"

We're really not sure why we don't hear more about the ornate folk-pop of San Francisco outfit Il Gato, but maybe, after tonight, we will: the band is playing a live show at that you can stream on your computer from the couch, from the bathtub, from the cave in which high-speed Internet is your only luxury. Sunday's bill at Bottom of the Hill will provide you another opportunity to see Il Gato perform; the band plays with Grand Lake and Jake Mann and the Upper Hand. Details about tonight and a sonic sampling of the band's meaty, string-and-piano-filled balladry after the jump.

Tonight's Il Gato show goes down at 8 p.m. at Below, a sampling of what you'll hear. It's pretty, isn't it? - SF Weekly

"il gato"

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 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.

"il gato"

You can hear the development of il gato when you hear the progression of the songs above. “Burning Red (Fa Fa Fa Song)” displays a catchy chorus that will get lodged in your head after one listen. As opposed to their earlier work, this single is far more concentrated and manages to stay true to the emotional weight that conveyed within the lyrics. The multitude of instruments creates an early 20's vision. “Blue Skies” has a minor gypsy/psychedelic (not what you think) vibe. While far lengthier, il gato manage to keep you interested throughout. “The Taste Of Your Sweat” is a darker acoustic track with hopeful undertones. Once again, they manage to keep you interested for the entire 5:47.

Their album All These Slippery Things can be downloaded at bandcamp. il gato will be at Bottom of the Hill on January 23rd. - Heartstrings Engaged

"il gato"

When listening to San Francisco indie-baroque-folk band Il Gato, the first thing I noticed was the wide array of instrumentation that hit you like a wave…a big fantastic wave. From the violins and trumpets to the harmonica and piano (not to mention the melodica and guitar) the band is bursting with an exceptionally whimsical culmination of music, producing a sound that is reminiscent of Beirut, with a dash of Modest Mouse thrown in.

The band’s debut album, All these Slippery Things has no shortage of upbeat and catchy tracks. “Burning Red (The Fa Fa Fa Song)” and “In The Lightening It Is Written” both have lively and varying tempos, with the intensity building at all the right moments. The carefree sound of “On Feathers & Arrows (On Burnt Pine)” is the heart of the album, with the horns and guitar working together magically to create an overall merry sound that keeps me anxiously waiting to hear what they bring out next. - Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good

"il gato is worthy."

I came across il gato while updating Wiretap's show calendar. I liked them so much, I did the whole pop-up player thing on Myspace so I could flip back and continue listening to them while I was researching other bands for the tedious task of creating the calendar for this lovely site.

I decided to contact the band when I realized I was humming their songs days later while making coffee in the morning. They got back to me right away and invited me to shoot a couple of their shows, which were a ton of fun. Below is a clip from the show they played at Cafe Du Nord, it's of one of my favorite songs, "In the Lightning it is Written." il gato are one of those bands that everyone can get into, so check it out! - WireTap Music

"SF DELI Artist of the Month - DECEMBER"

We won a contest as the SF DELI Artist of the Month for December. - The Deli (San Francisco)

"Show Review"

Opening was the folk-baroque act, Il Gato. While Il Gato has been making waves across the blogosphere, they have yet to gain the audience they deserve. However, it didn’t take long for the sparely attended crowd to divert their attention to this very special band. The most noticeable aspect of Il Gato was how well oiled and tight they were, like they have been playing together for several years. Particularly with songs like Burning Red and On Feathers & Arrows, there seemed to be level of experience that surpassed bands that take years to achieve that point of confidence. I have a good feeling about these guys. - Kata Rokkar

"Kuestionnaire: il gato"

The journey of il gato – Daimian Holiday Scott (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, loop pedal), Matthew Souther (trumpet, flugelhorn, piano, melodica, vocals), Johnny Major (drums, vocals), and Andrew Thomas (upright bass, electric bass, mandolin, vocals) – embraces the sounds of myriad places and people. Influenced by the midlands of England and France to the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary via the pair’s hometown of San Francisco, this evolving musical story is already beginning to captivate listeners. Their latest record, "All these Slippery Things" forges deeper into the culture of the old East and comes back with a suite of euphoric melodies for times of revelry.

The album was recorded at Tiny Telephone, engineered by Ian Pelicci (Deerhoof, Rogue Wave, Hauschka, etc.) and mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering (Broken Social Scene, Death Cab for Cutie, Bon Iver, The Dodos, Cat Power, The Decemberists, Modest Mouse, etc). "All these Slippery Things" proves that months of submersion in both local and European culture and making music the focus of daily life has seeped right through Daimian Holiday Scott’s songwriting and playing. This is by far the most vivid, intense, and confident work to come out of the Bay Area in quite some time. il gato have begun their jounrey outside of the Bay Area and are ready to impress and enthrall. We wish them luck.

You can catch il gato with fellow Bay Area acts Poor Bailey and Foxtail Brigade at Cafe Du Nord tomorrow (Wednesday, October 27th, 2010) at 8pm.

This week we have lead singer / guitarist Daimian Holiday Scott answer the world famous Kuestionnaire as he provides an uplifting answer to question #15.


1. Could you state your name and what you do in the band?

Daimian Holiday Scott: Vocalist, Lyricist, Guitarist, Harmonica-ist, Loop Pedal-ist, Songwriter-ist

2. How would you describe your sound?

Indie-baroque-folk with a modernist sensibility

3. What is your favorite local band?

Port O’brien. Wolf & Crow. The Folk Opera.

4. Any concerts that blew your mind recently?

Bon Iver at the Fox Theater. 4 people on stage that fills the space of thousands.

5. Any non-musical influences you would like to mention?

Paul Thomas Anderson, Kurt Vonnegutt

6. If your music was to be the theme of a film/TV show, what would it be?

A film by Paul Thomas Anderson constructed to the stories within our album. Each song a vignette. If pre-existing, then an instrumental song for a scene in the final season of the other best drama (after “Mad Men”) on television, “Friday Night Lights”.

7. What musician/artist would you like to collaborate with for a day?

David Byrne, Ry Cooder & Damon Albarn

8. What is the album you listen to on a cold rainy day?

“Kurr” by Amiina. The string section from Sigur Ros who made one of my favorite albums.

9. List four songs you would listen to on a roadtrip?

“Dirty Harry” – Gorillaz
“The Rat” – The Walkmen
“Holland, 1945” – Neutral Milk Hotel

10. Where do you see yourselves in 7 years?

Releasing albums and touring sporadically. Recording soundtracks for films, art performances and more. 2 young children and a beautiful, kind, amazing partner.

11. What is the last book you read?

“Blink” by Malcom Gladwell. One of the most perceptive people around today.

12. Is image a factor in music or is it a waste of time?

Image is definitely a factor. If music is magic, the why not weave your sorcerer’s wand and wacky wardrobe?

13. Any embarrassing moments on stage you would like to share?

Countless times of forgetting lyrics? Banging your face into a microphone? Rambling on about nothing? Expressing your soul to strangers?

14. Any favorite tour locations?

Cottage Grove, Oregon. Mason jars with amazing micro-brews, phenomenal food and kind people just looking to have fun. Also, ditto for Davis, California.

15. Lastly, what is your present state of mind?

Excited just for the possibilities life has to offer. - Kata Rokkar

""All these Slippery Things" Album Review"

The San Francisco-based Il Gato calls themselves
“indie-baroque-folk,” and their dark lyrics and orchestral
style string solos makes that an appropriate label.
Think Modest Mouse, but with more violins and
horns. Their first studio release, "All these Slippery
Things", is their second full-length album, filled with
epic waltz numbers (there are four tracks with “waltz”
in the title, each hauntingly beautiful in a different
way), screeching vocals and new details to love with
each listen.

“On Feathers & Arrows (on Burnt Pine),” the fifth
track on the album, jumps out at you with spoken
word rhythm and a horn-carried chorus. The result
is mesmerizing. The strategic placing of the “waltz”
numbers, which break up the lyrically dense tracks
with complex instrumentals, make the pacing of
this album outstanding. They also allow tracks
like “Chocolate Lemonade,” “In the Lightning it is
Written,” and “Burning Red (The Fa Fa Fa Song),” to
be digested fully, not missed due to a spinning head.

The album, which features 12 instruments
played by only four people, is nothing if not impressive.
If "All these Slippery Things" is any indicator
of their potential, expect Il Gato to get even better
from here. - Performer Magazine

"il gato - "On Feathers & Arrows (on Burnt Pine)""

'On Feathers & Arrows (on Burnt Pine)' is taken from il gato's forthcoming second full-length “All these Slippery Things” due out on July 13th. il gato originally was conceived as a performance art piece by Gainesville, Florida native Daimian Holiday Scott while studying architecture in Vicenza, Italy, now San Francisco based il gato (means The Cat) consists of Daimian Holiday Scott (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, loop pedal, melodica, etc.) , Matthew Souther (trumpet, flugelhorn, melodica, piano, vocals, etc.), Johnny Major (drums, vocals, etc.), Andrew Thomas (stand-up bass, electric bass, mandolin, vocals, etc.). - Ashbee's Fragments

"Media Friday: JV becomes Eclectic, Girls get Fadered, and new Thao and il gato"

Finally, local folk-rock band il gato have been working on a new album. Here’s a preview that makes us want to hear more. - The Bay Bridged

"il gato: "All these Slippery Things""

Not sure how to describe these quirky alt-folk dabblers in passionate and trippy tunes with the occasional Sufjanesque trumpet/flugelhorn flourish. Hey! I just did. Try them and you might be caught smiling as you impatiently wait for “All these Slippery Things” July 13th, 2010. - Heroes of Indie Music

"il gato in San Francisco Chronicle"

"The current quartet plays with an abundance of stringed instruments - guitars, mandolin, banjo, upright bass - and adds to the mixing pot piano, drums, harmonica, horns and melodica. The band's compositions fuse with mildly estranged vocals that have a storytelling style plucked from country-folk. When asked to describe its music, Holiday Scott coins the genre "indie-Baroque folk-rock," which he explains as "folk-rock with classical instruments and a liberal use of repetition."

Il Gato's music has become slightly more pop as it has developed, but the dash of alt-country is never lost, and it has also started to feature more group singing. Its performances remain intimate and enveloping, washing the listener away in its oddball and dreamy stories. Il Gato is about to record its first full-length, set for a late Spring release." - San Francisco Chronicle

"10 Things for under $10"

Il Gato lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Daimian Holiday Scott told SF Weekly back in May that if he had to compare his band to a SF neighborhood, he'd pick the Mission. "It is steeped in history, but with all the styles, diversity, and change that is afoot it seems a little ambiguous. You turn the corner and where you least expect it, there is all of a sudden some type of magic." Indefinite magic is key here. You can't quite put your finger on what makes this bluesy indie band so good, but you can't stop listening listening anyway. Perhaps it's the haunting vocals, the easygoing acoustic guitar, or the addition of instruments like melodica, mandolin, and standup bass. Whatever the reason, it's a mesmerizing listen. Il Gato plays the Hemlock this Sunday with Bill Baird, Jesse Woods. - SF Weekly

"Local Frequency: Band Q&A with il gato"

Below is an edited version of a recent interview in the SF Weekly's on-line Music Blog.

From May 17, 2010:

Il Gato began as a solo project by Daimian Holiday Scott (vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, loop pedal, etc.) during his days living in Italy. Upon returning to the States, he turned the project into a full band. Utilizing an array of instruments, Il Gato creates a mellow, lush indie folk sound that at times gets kinda loud.

"All these Slippery Things", which comes out in July, is the first Il Gato album with the full-band lineup. It features Matthew Souther (trumpet, flugelhorn, melodica, piano, vocals), Johnny Major (drums, vocals), and Andrew Thomas (upright bass, electric bass, vocals). The guys met up with Local Frequency at Bigfoot Lounge to chat about classical music, being buried with your iPhone and their beef with John Vanderslice.

If you could describe your sound as a San Francisco neighborhood, which one would it be?

Daimian Holiday Scott: I would probably say the Mission, as it is steeped in history, but with all the styles, diversity, and change that is afoot it seems a little ambiguous. You turn the corner and where you least expect it, there is all of a sudden some type of magic.

Where do you like to go during happy hour?

Andrew Thomas: Anywhere with good beer on tap.
DHS: I mentioned 22nd St., which is my favorite area around: [places like] the Latin American and the Revolution, where you can sit on the street. And Zeitgeist and El Rio. Anywhere where you can be outside. Actually my house is the place. I make this infused vodka and Limoncello and my roommate is starting to do homebrews again.
Matthew Souther: I'm kind of on a bar boycott. I just don't like them that much. I usually just go there on business: business being Il Gato.
Johnny Major: I live in the Lower Haight, so I tend to stay around there. [I like] Aub Zam Zam. I will admit that I didn't go until I saw it on Anthony Bourdain.

You mentioned you want to bring back the idea of an album, in what way?

DHS: The idea was to construct an album where you hear the song and want to hear the next song. I got the idea from [Neutral Milk Hotel's] Aeroplane Over The Sea and the Beatle's Abbey Road. There's literally bleed from one song into the next, which makes your individual song more experimental. The idea is to not allow you to hear the song in a separated context without thinking of the songs surrounding it.

What are you reading now?

MS: No Impact Man by Colin Beavan. It's by a guy in New York who spent a year trying not to have a negative impact on the environment. I'm thinking about ways I can have less of an environmental impact. I like the idea of not making waste, stopping making trash altogether. Even if you shop at all the hippie stores, there's still a lot of packaging. It's a big challenge, but I feel like it's a worthy goal.
AT: I'm reading a book called Joker One by Donovan Campbell. It's about a Marine platoon in Iraq. I grew up with his little brother. I'm also reading The Singing Neanderthals: The Origins of Music, Language, Mind, and Body by Steven Mithen. He's an anthropologist and the book is his reasoning why music came before language.
DHS: Right now I'm reading Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. He reminds me of Michael Pollan in a sense. He has this higher-minded ideas but is a terrific storyteller.
JM: I'm reading A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn. I've been meaning to read it for years, since high school. I'm just a very slow reader. I read ten pages here and there. I really don't do fiction too well, unless it's amazingly good. I really like history and politics.

You guys recorded at Tiny Telephone, how was that?

JM: It was great, John [Vanderslice] makes the best tea. It's my favorite.
DHS: They always call him the nicest man in indie rock. I think it would be fun to create a beef with him that I'm the nicest guy in indie rock. We'll have public arguments over who makes the best fair-trade organic coffee, and who's a better host, things like that.

What other some local music are you guys into now?

DHS: Wolf and Crow. I might produce their next album. Annie Bacon and her Folk Opera. The Shants are good. And Geographer.
AT: Worker Bee. They do a lot of droney psychedelic rock. Silian Rail--I really like what they do. I play with another band, we call [our music] ambient post punk. We have an album release on Saturday. Our name is Ventid.
MS: As the resident classical geek, I go to the symphony and the San Francisco Conservatory quite a bit. It's really worth it to follow their calendar, and you can go for free to their recitals. It's not advertised anywhere, you have to go to their website.
JM: Snowblink.And Jen Grady is a great musician and a friend.

If you could DJ your own funeral, what would you play?

DHS: A friend of mine who played with us died recently, and I wrote a song for our album that's dedicated to him. It's called "We Are All in the Clouds."
JM: There's a song that I wanted to play at my wedding, but I didn't get a chance to: "On Feathers and Arrows (on Burnt Pine)". It's also on the album. It's a very.... Glorious? Uplifting?
DHS: Triumphant, passively triumphant. Melancholic triumphant!
MS: It really touched me deeply when I first encountered it, there's a Schubert piano piece that's central to my being in some way. It's the first piano piece that I learned that wasn't super basic.
DHS: "This Must Be The Place" by The Talking Heads, that's the center of my happy Mix.
JM: There will be a no Il Gato funeral.

Soon we'll have our own funeral playlists.

MS: It's a morbid but great idea.
DHS: Our generation will totally have playlists for our funerals.
JM: Please stick the earbuds in my cold, stiff ears and just press play. Especially with the iPhone and iPad, there are some crazy phone lovers who want to be buried with their phones.

Where can we see you next?

June 22nd at Bottom of the Hill for our record release party.
- SF Weekly

"Listen: il gato"

Daimian Holiday Scott and Andrew Thomas of San Francisco’s Il Gato are all about the experience. Whether it’s something you experience live, something you experience personally, or something you experience through art, these guys are all for it. When I hung out with them in an obscure bar with even more obscure types of beer, we discussed their music, their band, and their mission among many things, but what came up a lot was experiencing things. Some moments in life we seemed to share similar experiences which were both big influences on our choices as those who seek creative endeavors. We all seemed to really dig Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, as it is a phenomenal and inspirational record. And we all were totally down with Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia, a movie about a bunch of people who tend dealing with their personal issues who live in the San Fernando Valley. We all talked about experiences through culture, and the music of Il Gato is indeed a cultural experience.

The name Il Gato came to be from some sort of twisted social experiment that Gainesville-born singer/songwriter/guitarist Daimian Holiday Scott thought would be a good joke. He figured if the band punctuated the name correctly and spelled it in such a way, people would say their name in a distinguished voice (he demonstrated for me in such a way that reminded me of a Spanish conquistador, even though I have never personally met one). Then he figured he would talk to the audience in either Italian or Spanish the entire time, while still singing in English, only to eventually reveal he was an American all along. His trickery and twisted sense of humor, though, has gotten him and three others to unite forces and create some new, interesting music.

It’s not so weird that we talked about In the Aeroplane Over the Sea so much, because the band takes notes right from Jeff Mangum’s book. “We like the idea that it’s just sort of this epic work trying to capture a source of humanity, trying to strive beyond music, and help people understand themselves,” Scott tells me. “But I like Kurt Vonnegut too,” he adds. “Making a joke is far more important than understanding things.” At the same time, though, the band keeps it totally operatic, much like Magnolia’s flowing style of storytelling. All this plays off on their new album, All These Slippery Things, a stellar record that my roommate thought had “very trippy artwork.” The instrumentation is fantastic, featuring a number of horns, strings, upright bass, mandolins, and a plethora of other instruments. “We used to be a collective,” they explain to me. “But everybody couldn’t commit; they were teachers and lawyers.”

Thomas explains to me the songwriting process of how four dudes cram in so many instruments. “Daimian does a rough draft of the lyrics, progression, and feel. But then there’s Matt who arranges the horns, and I just add the funk to it and whatnot.” Apparently though, Scott had a number of songs written prior to the making of this album, for he recorded the first EP by himself, in his apartment, and quit his job to do so in true rock fashion. But his melodies, combined with Thomas and Johnny Major’s rhythmic work, have turned into something that truly works.

"All these Slippery Things" starts off with “The First Waltz”, a dark and old style piece that leads into “All These Birds in My Hair”, a horn-filled, mystical tune that sounds like an elegant San Francisco afternoon, filled with wine, cheese, and all the other things that the Bay has to offer. “The Snapping Sound” sounds like folk music with a bump of cocaine up its nose, working off of a fierce acoustic guitar, some violent harmonicas, and a string section that sounds like it might attack you. By far my most favorite track would be “On Feathers & Arrows (On Burnt Pine)”, which sounds like Jeff Mangum hanging out with Fleet Foxes. If the song “In the Lightning it is Written” had no rhythm section, it would be a James Mercer B-side, but the percussion arrangements combined with instrumentation of the song makes it fantastic, it makes it unique, it makes it… (Spanish voice) Il Gato.

For an album recorded at a studio with the word “tiny” in the name and then overdubbed in an Oakland apartment building, I must say the finished product is quite amazing (it even contains a cry from a practicing opera singer in the background, who is the neighbor of Thomas). But like the Arcade Fire with their live rendition of “Sprawl II”, Il Gato is still trying to master their live show so they can go on the road and promote their work in other demographics.

“We have an album with 12 instruments played by 4 people,” Scott explains to me. “I want our live show to be an experience.”

Thomas agrees with him: “Yeah, I mean, I like it when bands make good studio stuff, but it’s even better when they go all out live.”

Il Gato seems to generally be going all out – in the studio and in the realm of life, too. From a band that draws inspiration from the far reaching sounds of Neutral Milk Hotel, Tortoise (our next discussion involves a digression how “TNT” is the most genius seven minutes of music ever), Ethiopian jazz, Boyz II Men, and Pearl Jam, they clearly have been able to latch on to different types of music as they have been developing. Music is changing constantly, and you have to jump on waves of sound while they still seem fresh, combine them in a blender and kick out the jams. Il Gato is already doing a fantastic job of this. Towards the end of our conversation, Scott tells me, “The only constant thing in life is change,” and if this band can keep changing it up, then sooner or later everyone will know the name of… (Spanish voice) Il Gato. - Consequence of Sound

"il gato :: conversationmusic"

"Gentle acoustic guitar and a medley of instruments (real and found) make up 'conversationmusic', il gato's pensive folk album... the spooky nature of a cappella "Chocolate Lemonade" has a simple, echoing melody that really digs deep.

Scott also plays harmonica, drawing out his rustic sound and developing a hazy tone, as in "Sometimes I Laugh to Cry." This lo-fi tone is achieved with sparseness and well-placed accent instruments, such as the brief wail of the trumpet in "Bright, Bright, Bright Yellow."

Scott's vocals reveal a fascinating vulnerability in his frail folk songs." - The Owl Magazine


"Tongues & Teeth", 2012, Self-release full length album, featuring synth, strings, horns and more.

"All those Slippery Things", 2011, Self-released EP. Group effort with string/horn section, accordion, banjo and more.

"All these Slippery Things", 2010, Self-released full length album. Group effort with string/horn section, accordion, banjo and more.

"conversationmusic", 2008, Self-Released. Solo album.



“A swirling pastiche of acoustic folk and baroque pop, the lithe songs and uptempo rhythms of san francisco’s Il Gato make for a spirited musical cavalcade rich in textures and tones.”

“The songs are Striking and wholly Unique.”

-San Francisco Bay Guardian

IL GATO is an indie/baroque/folk-rock band based out of San Francisco, California. The core ensemble of musicians consists of guitarist/vocalist/founder Daimian Holiday Scott, bassist/vocalist Andrew Thomas and drummer/vocalist Johnny Major. With pop sensibility, their sound incorporates folk with a reggae down beat, harmonious rap, lavish modern-classical instrumentation and emotionally charged vocals with a floating delivery. Common associations include Modest Mouse and Neutral Milk Hotel.

The band's newest album, "Tongues & Teeth" (October, 2012), is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed first studio album, All these Slippery Things (July, 2010), and was recorded and mixed at renowned San Francisco studio, Tiny Telephone, engineered by Ian Pelicci (Deerhoof, Rogue Wave, Hauschka, etc.) and mastered by Roger Seibel at SAE Mastering (Broken Social Scene, Bon Iver, Cat Power, etc.). Overdubs were recorded in apartments in both San Francisco and Oakland.

Tongues & Teeth, while following in the footsteps of the horn and string accentuated All these Slippery Things, now expands the sonic palate to incorporate both electronic and experimental sounds plus fierce edges within simple song formats. The overarching theme of the album is one addressing the inherent “Human vs. Animal” duality of life, expressed both in the lyrics (as reference to body parts and the difficulty of knowing one day we will die) and the contrasting dynamics of the songs (creating both the harshest and lightest songs of IL GATO’s ouvre).

IL GATO has been on the bill with American Music Club, Sam Amidon, Castanets, Tom Brosseau, Tilly & the Wall and other quality acts. Venues played include The Great American Music Hall (SF), Rickshaw Stop (SF), and Bootleg Theater (LA).

IL GATO songs have been played on radio (NPR, WEVL, KALX, Pandora, etc.), featured in notable online and print publications (San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Bay Guardian, CMJ, mySpoonful, Consequence of Sound) and enjoyed by many. In addition, a number of IL GATO songs appear in the critically acclaimed documentary film, "Crime after Crime", which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Tongues & Teeth, All these Slippery Things, All those Slippery Things and conversationmusic are available for purchase at , iTunes, and

Band Members