Via Jacob Schneider
The Cat Empire on Flickr.
Welcome to Fuck Yeah! The Cat Empire. A tumblr dedicated to that indescribably wonderful band. And that's what this is, a fanmade website. I have no associations with the band beyond my love for it and its members. Posts are quite random in their forms but reasonable in timing. Feel free to SUBMIT things you related to the band, have a look around and click links.
You can find me (on my personal blog) at alittlebraver. Or just message me, goes to the same askbox. :DFair warning, if you want to harass me, do it on one blog... and be reasonable in your argument.
Via Jacob Schneider
The Cat Empire on Flickr.
Over time, we receive heaps of questions via the website from fans. Here are some answers to a few of those questions…
WHAT AGE DID YOU START PLAYING TRUMPET?
13. Start of high school. I wanted to learn the saxaphone but there weren’t enough to go around. You know, state schools funding. But my grandfather used to be a bugler in the navy so I didn’t mind.
AS AN ASPIRING VOCALIST TRYING TO FIND HIS OWN SOUND, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO, OR WHAT WERE SOME THINGS YOU DID THAT WERE IMPORTANT TO SING?
I think that in the beginning I was over thinking how I wanted to sound. I think it’s important to not over think singing, and just let it come out naturally. But taste is important. Less is more, I think, in terms of both controlling energy and controlling your emotion. And listen to recordings of yourself. You’ll realise how bad you sound. But don’t be put off when you realise how bad you sound. Keep trying. I’m still trying.
IS ‘THE CAR SONG’ BASED UPON YOUR PAST?
I’VE BEEN WONDERING WHAT TRUMPET YOU ACTUALLY PLAY?
A Bach Stradivarius 37 bore. And a 3C mouthpiece. The thing about trumpets is they wear out eventually, so don’t spend 10,000 dollars on one.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG?
At the moment - one that keeps popping up is Paint it Black by the Rolling Stones. It’s very deep and mysterious, but still a great song that you can sing along to.
IF YOU HAD AN ANIMAL THAT HAD SOME STRANGE EVOLUTIONARY TWIST, WHAT WOULD IT BE? (EXAMPLE - MINE WOULD BE A TASMANIAN DEVIL WITH MULTI-TOOL CLAWS)
I would like to be an animal with a strange evolutionary twist. I’d like to be a cross between a human and an eagle.
HERE ARE SOME WORDS FROM THE OTHER FRONT MAN AND TRUMPET PLAYER EXTRAORDINAIRE, HARRY ANGUS.
YOU TRAVEL A LOT, WHERE’S YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE?
It’s impossible to choose a favourite place, but here are some good ones:
Anywhere that’s different to everywhere else, really. Most places are just the same – at least, most places where people have money to spend on concert tickets.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GREW UP?
Initially, a scientist. Not just any scientist, but a robotic scientist. That’s what I imagined you were called if you designed and built robots, and for all I know, that is what they’re called. Later on I wanted to be a writer.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SOUND?
The bush, from the top of a hill on a hot day.
The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantakis
DO YOU HAVE A HERO? IF SO, WHO IS IT?
Not really… the singer in me loves Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and the trumpet player in me loves Miles Davis… also Paul Watson, the captain of the Sea Shepherd society, he’s admirable.
ABOUT THE OTHER BAND MEMBERS…
They’re all equally equal in every way.
The musical landscape, while certainly a vast and complex one, strewn with pebbles, boulders, monoliths and mountains, is generally a well-ordered place. Bands stay within their borders, and the music matches the hair, and everybody knows what tribe you belong to. But every now and then, a band has to ask themselves, ‘Who am I?’.
The Cat Empire have been asking themselves this question for over a decade. But when your whole musical concept is about transcending genre, and when a large portion of your performance is constructed out of pure improvised energy, it can be hard to know what to call the music you are creating.
In the early years, and after their first major release (The Cat Empire, 2003), the band found themselves, more often than not, being reduced to a series of slashes. The jazz/reggae/funk/latin/gypsy/hip hop tag grew longer and longer, but it was an apt description. The band would jump from one genre to the next, many times within a single song, it didn’t matter what it was, as long as people were dancing.
For over a decade now, and through various recordings, The Cat Empire have carved themselves out a unique place in the musical firmament, as a band with no guitars, with no easily definable style and no corresponding haircut, but a band that can step onto any stage in the world and make the crowd move. More than move, in fact. Make the crowd lose themselves in a frenzy.
But the question of what to call their music is as difficult to answer today as it was ten years ago. The long line of slashes just doesn’t cut it anymore, and the music has grown out of its ‘multi-genre’ concept into something wilder, a spontaneous explosion of melody and rhythm that contains many flavours, but is undeniably a new country.
Always changing, always exploring the boundaries of their mutable and uncertain identity, the band seem to have reached some kind of event horizon on their new album. But clearly, as always, this music is for dancing. The rhythm is front and centre, a beat that belongs to no single nation.
Sometimes in music there occurs a raucousness of sound that turns off our thinking brain and leads us into the depths of our dancing body, where forgotten creatures stir in the dark places of the imagination. It is this feeling that The Cat Empire have harnessed so well on their new record, a feeling of beautiful chaos, of ancient ritual and glorious colour, all caught up in the magic of the beat.
There will never be a single word to identify this music, but the essence has been there all along. If you go back to the very beginnings of the band, on an early demo, it is there in the lyrics to The Night That Never End:
Oh how the gods look down and frown
At those who never stood and said
‘My name is no-one’
And went a little mad….