Cat Empire back after 'cat nap'
THE Cat Empire almost came crashing down.
Since forming in 2000, The Cat Empire has become one of Australia's biggest-selling acts, having built up a massive following with their brilliantly buoyant blend of funk, Latin and jazz.
However, Melbourne's world music collective were heading for the wall last year after years of back-to-back touring.
“I was so over it, I really kind of flipped,” Cat Empire singer Harry Angus told Pulse.
“I never wanted to tour or even play music ever again. I think we had actually burnt out.
“So the whole band took nine months off. After nine months off, I was fine again – I was looking forward to touring. Touring gets to be a drag when being home is the exception to the rule.”
Having a ‘cat nap' has paid dividends – just take a listen to The Cat Empire's latest studio album, Cinema, released last month to critical acclaim.
The band members came back together to record their fifth studio album earlier this year after the break and for the first time, all six members contributed to the song-writing process.
“It made a massive difference; on our past records, there had always been some disagreement,” Angus says.
“Me and Felix wrote all the songs (in the past). Sometimes I didn't like the songs he'd written and he didn't like the songs I had written and the bass player would hate everything.
“So it was really good to create the music together and to know it was a product of all of our imaginations.”
The result is an album that steps away from The Cat Empire's earlier ‘international' offerings.
“Our previous releases have been almost like a world travel guide to music. It was almost like how many genres can these guys do? But we got really sick of that,” Angus says.
“We have kept the music diverse and interesting, I hope, but we wanted to step away from that whole idea of mixing different genres together. Somehow, writing with everyone helped us to create a sound that sounds like us when we are playing live and we are improvising.”
Those open to a little Cat Empire improvisation take note: the band will drop into Byron Bay in August as part of their East Coast tour. The last time The Cat Empire played ‘The Beachie' the queue for last-minute tickets curled around the block and on to the street.
So what can punters expect this time around?
“We always try to give people a live experience that is unique and by unique I mean we try and do something different every night,” he says.
“People can have the knowledge that whatever they hear, it's never going to be played again and it's never been played before because we made it up just then,” he laughs.
The Cat Empire plays the Beach Hotel, Byron Bay, on August 26. Tickets $46 + bf $3 are on sale at www.oztix.com or from the venue.
Pulse is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a double pass to catch The Cat Empire at the Beach Hotel. Write in 25 words or less why you should win. Then write your name, address and phone number on the back of an envelope and include the Pulse masthead and send it to Pulse giveaways, The Northern Star, PO Box 423, Lismore, NSW, 2480. Entries close August 17 and will be judged by Northern Star staff. The winner's name will be published in the Pulse briefs column.