Rising With The Sun: The Cat Empire Q&A

A fusion of ska, jazz, rock, funk with lots of latin influence, The Cat Empire calls Melbourne, Australia home.

The band is Felix Riebl – percussion/vocals, Harry J Angus – trumpet/vocals, Ollie McGill – keys, Ryan Monro – bass, Will Hull-Brown – drums, Jamshid ‘Jumps’ Khadiwala – decks/percussion, Kieran Conrau – empire horns, Ross Irwin – empire horns and they’ll be starting their Canadian Tour in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec on July 21st.

The Cat Empire - April 2016 - 1000Playing 14 shows in 24 days, they’ll be crisscrossing Canada to support their new album Rising With The Sun which is currently sitting pretty at number one in Australia. We had a chance to chat with drummer Will Hull-Brown about the album, the band, social media and more.

Thanks to Will for taking them time to answer our questions, we can’t wait to see these guys live on July 27th at The Danforth Music Hall. Tickets are still available!

For a few fun facts before we get started check out their awesome infographic.
the cat empire infographic 1000Q. Wiki tells us you started out in 1999, can you tell us the biggest difference between 1999’s The Cat Empire and the band today?


A.  Wow, 1999 feels like such a long time ago. Most of us knew each other in 1999, but the band didn’t do its’ first gig until May 2001. Even so, that’s still 15 years. We were kids really. We were in our late teens. I guess the main difference is that in 2001 everything about the music industry was new to us – Gigs, festivals, recording, travelling and record companies! I think it’s fair to say we had more energy back then. In 2002 we played 15 nights in a row from 3am – 5:30am at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I’m not sure we could do that now! Because we were so young, I think we took more musical risks. Some of them we pulled off, but of course some we didn’t. These days we have 15 years of experience and I think we are confident in what we do.

The Cat Empire - Rising With The Sun Album Cover 300Q. You’ve got the #1 Record in Australia. What can you tell us about the writing and recording process for Rising With The Sun”?

A.  We are very proud of having a #1 record in Oz. Especially seeing as we released it ourselves on an independent label. In the studio, the writing and recording process was really relaxed and creative. Harry and Felix had some strong ideas that they brought in for us, but a lot of the music, especially Harry’s songs, were inspired and created out of jams in the studio. In that way, it was actually a really collaborative process. Everyone was involved in the jams.

Q. Can we talk about the music industry in Australia? What’s it like for you and other bands trying to play shows and make a living?

A.  The music industry has changed so much already in The Cat Empire’s lifetime. When we started out, CDs were king, now they tend to collect dust in people’s cupboards. However, I must say I still love the look of a good CD collection. The live scene is very good here in Australia, particularly in Melbourne. I think there’s always a hunger for live music. You can pirate recorded music, but you can’t pirate being at a show. I guess we have seen parts of the industry that have collapsed or shape-shifted – mainly the record companies and the larger recording studios. You see now a lot of smaller labels and people are setting up their own recording stations in their homes. It’s nice to have more control over your music, but it’s a costly investment doing things yourself. It’s definitely harder for bands to make a living now given the move from CDs to downloads, to streaming. You need a lot of streams for it to be anywhere near financially rewarding! It will be interesting to see where it’s all at in another 10 years.

Q. Is there a difference between Canadian and Australian audiences ?



A.  I don’t think there’s a lot of difference at all. I find Canadians and Australians to be both relaxed and worldly on the most part. I love playing in Canada, partly because it’s such a beautiful country, but also because I feel a connection to the people, it feels a bit like home.

Q. We saw that you’ve got a contest with Exclaim! to give away a sound check experience, can you tell us what that experience is like for a fan? (Contest closes July 24th)

A. I have to remind myself that soundcheck for a fan is actually really unique and exciting for them. It’s easy for us to be nonchalant about it because we do it all the time and it’s a fairly routine and straight forward operation for us. If we have fans at the soundcheck, though, we do try and have a bit more fun with it and play some more songs, or even take a request. To be honest, I think most of what they’ll see is us fiddling around with our in-ear monitors, talking to the sound guys and running bits of songs. But it is a good insight into what we need to do to prepare for a show. The sound has to be good!

the cat empire promo shot 1000Q. How does social media factor into success/fan engagement?

A.  I think social media has become such a big factor that you can’t ignore it anymore. You’ve got to jump on that train, or you’ll get left behind. Not with the actual music, but fan engagement and exposure. We’ve had to navigate our way through the whole social media thing because it wasn’t there when we started out. I imagine for bands starting out now, it’s just second nature. For us in the early years of the band, it was always about the music and word of mouth. We are quite involved now with social media, because that’s how fans want to engage with us, and if you can do it well, there are really a lot of opportunities out there. I find it amazing that you can post a video or photo and the whole world can see it instantly. That is so powerful for a band, but I do believe that the content has to be good!

You can find The Cat Empire at these fine internet locations:

Twitter: thecatempire
Instagram: thecatempire
YouTube: thecatempire
Facebook: thecatempire

 

Trish Cassling

Writer/Photographer/Editor

If you have any questions or are interested in working together you can reach me at trish@thereviewsarein.com.
Follow me on my personal Twitter account or my Instagram account – @trishca.

Rising With The Sun: The Cat Empire Q&A

A fusion of ska, jazz, rock, funk with lots of latin influence, The Cat Empire calls Melbourne, Australia home.

The band is Felix Riebl – percussion/vocals, Harry J Angus – trumpet/vocals, Ollie McGill – keys, Ryan Monro – bass, Will Hull-Brown – drums, Jamshid ‘Jumps’ Khadiwala – decks/percussion, Kieran Conrau – empire horns, Ross Irwin – empire horns and they’ll be starting their Canadian Tour in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec on July 21st.

The Cat Empire - April 2016 - 1000Playing 14 shows in 24 days, they’ll be crisscrossing Canada to support their new album Rising With The Sun which is currently sitting pretty at number one in Australia. We had a chance to chat with drummer Will Hull-Brown about the album, the band, social media and more.

Thanks to Will for taking them time to answer our questions, we can’t wait to see these guys live on July 27th at The Danforth Music Hall. Tickets are still available!

For a few fun facts before we get started check out their awesome infographic.
the cat empire infographic 1000Q. Wiki tells us you started out in 1999, can you tell us the biggest difference between 1999’s The Cat Empire and the band today?


A.  Wow, 1999 feels like such a long time ago. Most of us knew each other in 1999, but the band didn’t do its’ first gig until May 2001. Even so, that’s still 15 years. We were kids really. We were in our late teens. I guess the main difference is that in 2001 everything about the music industry was new to us – Gigs, festivals, recording, travelling and record companies! I think it’s fair to say we had more energy back then. In 2002 we played 15 nights in a row from 3am – 5:30am at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I’m not sure we could do that now! Because we were so young, I think we took more musical risks. Some of them we pulled off, but of course some we didn’t. These days we have 15 years of experience and I think we are confident in what we do.

The Cat Empire - Rising With The Sun Album Cover 300Q. You’ve got the #1 Record in Australia. What can you tell us about the writing and recording process for Rising With The Sun”?

A.  We are very proud of having a #1 record in Oz. Especially seeing as we released it ourselves on an independent label. In the studio, the writing and recording process was really relaxed and creative. Harry and Felix had some strong ideas that they brought in for us, but a lot of the music, especially Harry’s songs, were inspired and created out of jams in the studio. In that way, it was actually a really collaborative process. Everyone was involved in the jams.

Q. Can we talk about the music industry in Australia? What’s it like for you and other bands trying to play shows and make a living?

A.  The music industry has changed so much already in The Cat Empire’s lifetime. When we started out, CDs were king, now they tend to collect dust in people’s cupboards. However, I must say I still love the look of a good CD collection. The live scene is very good here in Australia, particularly in Melbourne. I think there’s always a hunger for live music. You can pirate recorded music, but you can’t pirate being at a show. I guess we have seen parts of the industry that have collapsed or shape-shifted – mainly the record companies and the larger recording studios. You see now a lot of smaller labels and people are setting up their own recording stations in their homes. It’s nice to have more control over your music, but it’s a costly investment doing things yourself. It’s definitely harder for bands to make a living now given the move from CDs to downloads, to streaming. You need a lot of streams for it to be anywhere near financially rewarding! It will be interesting to see where it’s all at in another 10 years.

Q. Is there a difference between Canadian and Australian audiences ?



A.  I don’t think there’s a lot of difference at all. I find Canadians and Australians to be both relaxed and worldly on the most part. I love playing in Canada, partly because it’s such a beautiful country, but also because I feel a connection to the people, it feels a bit like home.

Q. We saw that you’ve got a contest with Exclaim! to give away a sound check experience, can you tell us what that experience is like for a fan? (Contest closes July 24th)

A. I have to remind myself that soundcheck for a fan is actually really unique and exciting for them. It’s easy for us to be nonchalant about it because we do it all the time and it’s a fairly routine and straight forward operation for us. If we have fans at the soundcheck, though, we do try and have a bit more fun with it and play some more songs, or even take a request. To be honest, I think most of what they’ll see is us fiddling around with our in-ear monitors, talking to the sound guys and running bits of songs. But it is a good insight into what we need to do to prepare for a show. The sound has to be good!

the cat empire promo shot 1000Q. How does social media factor into success/fan engagement?

A.  I think social media has become such a big factor that you can’t ignore it anymore. You’ve got to jump on that train, or you’ll get left behind. Not with the actual music, but fan engagement and exposure. We’ve had to navigate our way through the whole social media thing because it wasn’t there when we started out. I imagine for bands starting out now, it’s just second nature. For us in the early years of the band, it was always about the music and word of mouth. We are quite involved now with social media, because that’s how fans want to engage with us, and if you can do it well, there are really a lot of opportunities out there. I find it amazing that you can post a video or photo and the whole world can see it instantly. That is so powerful for a band, but I do believe that the content has to be good!

You can find The Cat Empire at these fine internet locations:

Twitter: thecatempire
Instagram: thecatempire
YouTube: thecatempire
Facebook: thecatempire

 

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