THE CAT EMPIRE – BIOGRAPHY NOTES, 2016
For over a decade, The Cat Empire have been known far and wide as one of the world’s greatest party bands. Their colourful, genre-bending music, shipped across the world in traveler’s backpacks seems at home almost anywhere, and yet the band has always been a kind of illusive stranger.
Difficult to describe and impossible to categorise, The Cat Empire’s reputation is built upon a chaotic and fiercely uplifting live show that, last year over half a million people bought tickets to see. Much like their other annual expeditions the band’s 2015 tour covered 15 different countries including Hurricane & Southside Festival in Germany, Secret Garden Party in the UK, Rock Wertcher in Belgium, and a career highlight headline show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London which sold out months in advance.
And yet every time the band is asked, ‘how would you describe your music?’ - there is no clear answer, other than it is for dancing to. That seems to be the official response.
In 2013 the Cat Empire’s fifth studio album, ‘Steal the Light’, was released to widespread acclaim. Described as “a brilliantly diverse yet cohesive album which succeeds exceedingly well when it comes to creating a great dance vibe” – AU Review and “it could be played anywhere in the world and people will connect on any cultural level” – Rip It Up, ‘Steal The Light’ solidified the energy and chaos of The Cat Empire experience into a technicolour record that entered the national ARIA Chart at #3 – delivering the band their 4th consecutive Top #5 debut. The lead single from the album, ‘Brighter Than Gold’, also went on to become the most played song on high rating Dutch radio station 3FM in 2013.
The new record continues in a similar vein. Recorded in their home town of Melbourne with ‘Steal The Light’ producer and long-time friend Jan Skubiszewski, ‘Rising With The Sun’ explores and deepens the themes established in the previous album. “That sound is the world we want to live in,” explains frontman Felix Riebl. “It’s an explosive world, filled with fireworks, exotic flavours and deep rhythm”. “We wanted it to feel like you are watching a parade marching past” adds trumpeter Harry James Angus. And that is exactly how it feels - like a big, colourful, cacophonous parade is passing by your window, or like the running of the bulls.
The first thing you notice looking at the track listing for ‘Rising With The Sun’, is that there are a lot of animals. Bulls, Wolves, and Eagles, to name a few. But there are also familiar themes that The Cat Empire have become known for; summer, freedom, journeying, shirking responsibility, running from the dark side, and less obvious, somewhat quirky kind of love songs.
The song writing process is as spontaneous and unexpected as the live delivery for The Cat Empire, and with over 80 recorded songs under their belts, just about any experience or thought can become fodder for new material. “The song ‘Bulls’ came directly from a dream”, mentioned Felix. “I woke up at the very edge of sleep. Almost, just before I woke up, there was a guy in there showing me a rhythm. It was very distinct. That song came straight from there. I think we run the risk of sounding pretentious to say that songs come in dreams, but sometimes they really quite literally just appear that way. That's a real gift.”
The approach in the studio for ‘Rising With The Sun’ was different for almost every song. The single ’Wolves’ was recorded live in one take, with no separation, no vocal overdubbing, no room to go back and change things; which is just the way the band likes it. “’Wolves’ is one of the most unique songs we've ever released”, said Felix “It’s got a Caribbean disco edge, with an African-sounding melodic hook played on a (broken) toy synthesiser, and a dance anthem chorus. It's quite chaotic, about running away from any kind of boring situation.”
Boring is the last thing anyone could accuse The Cat Empire of. This is the band who in their own words “tricked pop radio into playing jazz” and went on to sell over 2 million records. They have paved their own creative path – ‘Rising With The Sun’ is their second release as a global independent band - and in the spirit of having a good time, have spent well over a decade routing tours to include their next list of desirable cities to visit.
They have accumulated fans as voraciously as stamps in their passports; a global army of people of all ages who tell stories of driving hundreds of kilometers, giving up day jobs, flying across the world, falling in love in a crowd, and overcoming the insurmountable in order to wave their hands in the air in revelry at a show.
"Over time this band has become more and more about the people who support it, rather than being about the musicians in it", says Felix. "What I mean by that is it's the supporters, the fans for want of a better word, who propel this band forward. They're incredibly passionate, generous and responsive to what we deliver up." As an ultimate compliment to their loyal fans, for the release of ‘Rising With The Sun’ The Cat Empire wanted to literally see their faces. They invited fans to send a photo of themselves to be included in the album cover art. As a result the band managed to include over 3500 photos of their fans from around the world. Felix continues “It's really the fans who keep this show on the road, and give us reason to keep creating. We are lucky to have that.”
All the while these 6 musicians have honed their craft to become unstoppable on the global stage. Their European agent says “They are an impossible act to follow. The reason they close most festival stages is because other bands are afraid to go on after them!”. However, amidst the chaos and fun, the truth of this band is that they are greatly accomplished musicians who know how to deliver a world class show. What’s most impressive is that these guys who met through the love of music before they had all turned 18, seem to have retained their very Australian sense of humour and energy despite, or perhaps because of, a work ethic that sets them apart in the modern day music industry.
“There's a lot of celebration on ‘Rising With The Sun’,” concludes Felix, “in terms of ‘celebrating’ what The Cat Empire is, and what it means to people to come to the shows and be a part of that celebration and self-abandon for a night. I don't want to make grand statements about whether it's our best album or not,… It doesn't really matter. It's true to what the band is and what has kept people coming back to our shows for quite a long time (and) that’s something that's really great.”
For direct answers post questions at http://www.facebook.com/felixriebl
For thoughts, info, and projects go to www.felixriebl.com
Thoughts on the 2013 Album Steal the Light?
I feel as if Steal the Light is an album that returns to something essential in The Cat Empire. There’s a vibrancy that was there when we released the debut, but added to it a sound that’s fresh and deep. In terms of production, Jan’s did a great job at capturing and freeing up that spirit in the songs and performances. Visually, Graeme Base conjured the most amazing cover artwork. I think it’s going to do what an album from this band should do – make people dance, sing, and travel.
Of the songs you’ve written for The Cat Empire, which are your favourites?
How to Explain, The Lost Song, The Chariot, Two Shoes, Miserere, Reasonably Fine, Call me Home, Steal the Light, Brighter than Gold, Still Young, Like a Drum. The list might change depending on the night.
What do you do before a show?
Usually I go for a walk around the neighbourhood. Get a bit of air and stretch the legs. It’s easy to get cabin fever in the bus of the back stage, and getting out also gives the venue and the city some context. Often I go out on my own, sometimes with a few of the band or crew, usually it’s to hunt for a decent meal and to feel for the city. Then a few hours before stage time I head back and start thinking of the show – what to wear, set list, any changes. I still get a kick out of seeing the band’s name in lights above the theatre doors, and the excitement of the people going in, the moment when the vacuous venue of the day becomes the magic space of that night. Backstage before the show, at least when the mood’s up, it’s drinks, headphones, support bands, singing in showers, tour managers shouting time’s, last minute set changes, promoters, friends visiting from those cities, last minute names for the door, push ups, shouts, the walk side stage, then out into the lights and the swell.
What happens when you enjoy a show the most?
The crowd sings back! My arms, legs, hands, and shoulders feel relaxed. The voice is remotely in tune. Rhythm’s easy. The set flows well and has an overall shape, but is still dynamic and full of contrasts. We take chances and listen to each other. The sound on stage is natural. The spirit’s just right. These comments are partly speculative though. My truly favourite shows I can hardly remember. They’re dream like, I only remember them when I’m back there another night.
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:
- New York
- Western Australia in general
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.
Have a question for the guys? Submit it through to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Band Question”. Questions will then be given to the guys with the best ones graduating to become part of the website!
Why do you like being a DJ?
I have always loved all kinds of music. Being a Dj lets me explore this music and lets me play it/mix it/skratch it how i feel. Also making people dance and enjoy themselves is a good feeling to have when you’re on stage or at a club or at a dance battle.
Explain exactly what it is you are doing on stage, on the decks?
I'm manipulating different sounds on a record, playing certain patterns and licks like a percussionist would.
What song will always get you on the dance floor?
Get on the Good Foot, James Brown.
Woodford Folk Festival.
Favourite City apart from Melbourne?
One of your favourite songs?
Been Had, by Sapo.
For all the latest project news for Ollie head to www.ommm.com.au/intro.html
I have been asked to write a bio. It is easy to list my history "I started playing piano at the tender age of 2 and my mother was amazed at my ability to tell that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Black Sheep are the same song… etc." and sure, my journey has been quite fascinating in my own eyes, focusing really hard on developing my piano chops, studying with the likes of Steve Sedergreen and performing in various bands including the Jazz Cat (a band which brought many members of The Cat Empire together), I just can't bring myself to write another typical bio. I feel more like talking about what music means to me now.
Music is exciting. It takes you in directions that you might never have expected, years, or even months before. I am now as much focused on writing music for major corporations such as Melbourne Metro, as I am on recording strange atmospheric jazz recordings with a poet and a slightly broken synthesiser. Sometimes I enter a room with a fellow songwriter and come out with a song that could be a heart felt ballad or a pumping electro track. Sometimes I thrive on performing an hour long piano improvisation or spend hours, if not days, labouring on a simple piece of folk music written on a guitar. In recent times, I have been really excited about exploring some of the instruments that I grew up playing - saxophone, harmonica, bass, drums - and even more than that, trying new instruments that I have never played before, like mandolin or even violin. Some of the best music arises from the powers of limitation.
All in all, every musical experience that I have ever had has lead to where I am now. I may have felt like the guitar lessons that I took weren't worthwhile when in the following year, I was led to what I thought of as my 'calling' - jazz piano - or, that those jingles that I wrote for my Dad's advertising company were irrelevant to the life I had for the next 10 years on the road with The Cat Empire. Now I am a father and a husband and I can truly see that I am blessed with the life that I lead and every experience I ever have presents itself in my music, which is forever growing.
- Ollie McGill
Have a question for the guys? Submit it through to email@example.com with the subject line “Band Question”. Questions will then be given to the guys with the best ones graduating to become part of the website!
What's bass playing all about?
In the music I play, it's all about gluing the rhythm to the harmony. Or "making the vocals work with what the drums are doing". Fulfil that mission with as many notes as you see tasteful. Don't play any notes for as long as you see tasteful. Do things in unison with other band members as you see tasteful. Follow musical ideas from other band members, or push unblinkingly ahead with your own idea, as you see tasteful. Emulate heroes as you see tasteful. Steal other people's ideas as you see tasteful (that was what everyone did before lawyers came along). Exploit musical cliches (aka quotes, genres) as you see tasteful. Do something unpredictable, as you see tasteful. Do something distasteful, as you see tasteful. Decide for yourself, as you see tasteful, where the line between monotonously repetitive and trance-inducingly repetitive actually lies. Do something you would love if you transcribed it later on, but try not to think about it like that while you're doing it.
Why double bass?
Probably because of The Sharp. They were big in Australia in the early 90s. The double bass was pretty much the fourth member of that band. It went everywhere with them. I remember they presented an award at the ARIAs once. The band walked out on stage, Allan Caitlin had the double bass with him too, and he leant it on and angle and walked halfway up the side and they all posed in this awesome symmetrical rockabilly formation. The crowd went wild and they hadn't played a note. This blew my eleven year old mind. Luckily, years later at high school, our trumpet teacher brought in a double bass that he owned for some reason. That's how I got started.
Why electric bass?
My primary school owned one for some reason. I used to sneak into the music room and play Under Pressure, which I learned by watching John Deacon on my VHS of the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert. Later, in high school, the big band didn't have a bass player. I put my guitar down, picked up the bass, and realised I couldn't read bass clef. I went home and rewrote the whole chart in TAB. Pretty soon bass playing usurped my guitar playing.
Do you endorse any particular musical gear?
No. I've come close a few times but the benefits never seem to outweigh the fact that you're letting someone use your name to sell stuff. People should be careful with that. I'm happy to recommend something I like using because I like using it. That would be less genuine if I had an incentive to do so. I really hate it when it feels like somebody is trying to trick my brain into buying something I don't need. This practise is known as advertising, it's a regrettable thing, and it's probably too late for us to stop it. I'd be a hypocrite if I participated in it in any way.
So what gear do you use?
It's not important. Really. Get something that lets you make the sound you want to make, that you can afford.
Are you a vegetarian? Why?
No. I would rather leave that word to people who actually are vegetarians all the time. But I don't eat meat very often. About once a month these days, and it's never chicken. People often assume that means that I'm opposed to the idea of eating meat, or that I think everyone should stop eating it, or that I must be offended by the smell of it cooking, or that I must have less energy than I used to, or something like that. But none of that is true at all. I think meat is awesome. I just think we're eating more of it than we need to. Demand for meat has given the industry an incentive to develop more efficient ways of turning live things into dead things at the supermarket, and the animals have gotten a pretty bad deal out of it. Especially the animals that are small enough to be hung up by their feet on a conveyor belt. Chickens, I'm talking to you. What they go through on the assembly line is not just bad for them; it's bad for you too. If you want to know more I highly recommend reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. If you don't want to know more, then that might mean you already know there's something in that book you don't want to know about. That's worth thinking about too. For even further reading I would go for The Ethics of Eating by Peter Singer. He's pretty thorough in examining the wide-reaching impact of our actions, but he doesn't really back you into a corner with veganism as the only option. Mind you, ethical ways to eat meat require some pretty drastic lifestyle changes: only eating roadkill, only eating food from dumpsters, etc.
What happened to the tour diary?
For starters, we hosted it on Myspace. That seemed a future proof solution back in 2005. Secondly, when the monotony of touring starts to get to you, the last thing you want to do in your spare time is sit down and write about it. So I sort of lost track of the tour diary a few tours ago, and never got back into it. But these days attention spans are shorter, so our touring news has found other platforms. We are passing the social media torch around within the band a bit more, which is great. Fans are getting to hear points of view from the other band members too, instead of just what I think about shower heads.
What happened to your coffee blog?
I realised in early 2010 that there were two things that annoyed me about the internet: people seeming to think others want to hear their opinion, and people volunteering to have technology track their whereabouts at all times. I also realised that my blog was fulfilling both of these. I also noted that it was going to end in tears: if I give some cafe an easily-googlable bad review, guess who they'll blame for not getting enough customers? I decided telling people what I think about stuff was not all that important after all. I hope more people online start doing the same. I'm looking at you, every commenter on Youtube and every reviewer on Urbanspoon and Yelp.
So what's touring in a band really like?
It's like Groundhog Day, but you wake up in a different city every time the alarm goes off. It's like being on holiday forever, but your travel agent won't let you stay anywhere for more than one day, and he makes you travel with the same seven people every time. The carrot of seeing-the-world is dangled in front of you before soundcheck and after the gig every day. But you do get to play a show every night, and you become partly responsible for hundreds of people having an awesome time at that show. That's pretty special.
What are your favourite sports?
Aussie Rules Footy and basketball have always been my favourite sports. I still play basketball with mates that I’ve played with since I was about 8 yrs old. Aussie Rules is such a good game to watch though, especially when the Blues are firing!
How often would you say you practiced?
I practice when I can, but probably not as much as i would like. I've really got to keep a good life balance now that i have a family with two kids. I do quiet practice on the pad in the house where i live, otherwise my drums are still set up in the basement at my parent's place, which is quite sound proof. I try to get there once a week to do full-kit practice. Otherwise, gigs and rehearsals are the best situations to play in because it keep your ‘match fitness’ up.
What drumkit do you play?
I have a number of drumkits now. Most of the time though i play a 4-piece set-up with a 22" bass drum, 14" snare, 13" rack tom & 16" floor tom. I go between two drumkits - one of them is a beautiful old Ludwig Superclassic from the mid 60's that i bought at a second-hand drum store in London in 2004. I got it shipped straight to Cuba and we used it on the 'Two Shoes' album. The other kit i play is a 1970's Rogers which has great tone!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger I played heaps of sport, particularly footy and basketball. They were appealing to me as careers for quite a while, but once I discovered music things changed and I started putting more time and energy into playing the drums and things just progressed from there!
If you get any spare time, what do you do in it?
I spend time with my wife and our two young boys, family, friends, play basketball with the mighty White Fangs, play in a couple of other bands, and i also do casual work doing residential drafting and design since finishing a Diploma of Building Design & Technology in 2010.
I am very easy to please when it comes to food as anyone else in the band can attest! I can't go past a good hearty meal of lamb shanks, mash and veges though...and Crème Broulee for dessert!
Who are the White Fangs?
The White Fangs are a really really ridiculously good looking pro basketball team from the East. But, the name comes from a dark underground figure who hails from the Great Western shores of Victoria, that is, Warrnambool. White Fang is alive, and by god you better respect him! Ha ha...
Have you ever won anything (aside from an ARIA)?
Various assorted sporty things. when i was younger. I was part of a 4 X 100m relay team in high school, and we won the state championship @ Olympic park 5 years in a row. Unfortunately we couldn't make it a straight 6 because we failed to poll a place in our final year!
Dogs or Cats?
Contrary to what the name of the band suggests, I much prefer Dogs. I’m actually allergic to cats!
PC or Mac?
I'm still holding on in the PC world, while many of my peers have moved to the dark side.
How long have you guys been playing together?
Ross: Kieran and I have been playing together for about 13 years. we becae friends in year 7, mostly out of guilt from his end, if I remember right.
Do you play in other bands?
Ross: I play in another Australian band called The Bamboos, and I also have my own solo project/band which has supported The Cat Empire in the UK and plays locally in Melbourne.
Kieran: I play drums in Golden Axe, a new band with vigour, and trombone in many bizarre situations, playing music from all ages.
You have some great dance moves, do you come up with them yourselves?
Ross: Our moves are mostly contemporary reincarnations of Lemur mating rituals. The rest, Jumps taught us. The one’s that we make up ourselves usually end up looking like we’re being injured by a pack of over zealous, elderly Portuguese tourists……….(That’s bad).
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Ross: JAWS. That film had a confusing affect on me when I was little.
Kieran: I wanted to play footy for Collingwood.
Favourite line from a movie?
Ross: “Well, I think I’ll get saddled up and go looking for a woman…..Shouldn’t take more than a couple of days…….I’m not picky…..Just as long a she’s smart…… and pretty……and sweet……and gentle……and tender…n’ refined…n’ lovely…n’ carefree. .”
(Robert Redford in “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid”)
Kieran: "Listen to me Hillary. I'm not the first guy who fell in love with a woman that he met at a restaurant who turned out to be the daughter of a kidnapped scientist only to lose her to her childhood lover who she last saw on a deserted island who then turned out fifteen years later to be the leader of the French underground"
(Val Kilmer as Nick Rivers in Top Secret)
Which super-hero would you like to be, and why?
Ross: A): The Flash. Mostly because I’m lazy. Getting a beer from the fridge just wouldn’t be so arduous if you could do it in 0.0079 seconds. Also his name makes him sound like a guy who would open his trench coat at the park. That’s funny.
B): Secondly, The Punisher. Mainly because he has no remarkable super power, he’s just pure macho psychopath. Also, full body red spandex wouldn’t match my eyes. Punisher has a cool leather jacket and stubble, which is rad.
Kieran: Conan the Barbarian: He has no need for vocabularic gymnastics, he's buff as, and all he craves is too crush his enemies.
Ross: Pasta sauce with red wine in it simmering on the stove. Smells like home.
Kieran: Burning wood.
About the other band members:
Who is the nicest?
Ross: Harry or Kieran
Ross: Everyone has their little moments. (Except Will)
Kieran: Ryan, because when he's mean, it's hilarious.
The most stupid?
Ross: Do you mean mucking around, or literally slow? If it’s mucking around, it’s Kieran. If you mean slow, then that’s probably me. Always the last to laugh.
Kieran: Stupid question.
The most committed?
Ross: The most committed to every show, that’d have to be Jumps.
Ross: C’mon, have you seen me in tight jeans. It’s breathtaking. Girls heart’s literally break in two. Entire nations weep. The heavens purr. No one can escape it.
The most settled?
Kieran: Don't know
The most annoying habit?
Ross: Ryan, being so settled. Although, I have an annoying habit of repeating everything I say, like that guy in “Goodfellas”. “I’m gonna go get the paper (get the paper).” Apparently that’s pretty annoying.
Kieran: Felix asking me a million questions about next years footy season.
The most sarcastic?
Ross: Without a doubt, it’s Harry.
Kieran: Ryan...he's the best. Harry always laughs when he lies.
Have a question for the guys? Submit it through to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Band Question”. Questions will then be given to the guys with the best ones graduating to become part of the website!
Performed at Triple J’s 40th Birthday concert, Beat The Drum, Jan 2015
North American Tour, April 2015
Performed to a sold out crowd at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall in June 2015
European Festival tour June/July 2015 (including Hurricane/Southside, Secret Garden Party, WOMAD, Down The Rabbit Hole, BBK Live)
European Headline Tour October 2015
Woodford Folk Festival Dec 2014
Australian Tour, Sept/Oct 2014
European Tour, July/Aug 2014
Brighter Than Gold # 89 on Triple J Hottest 100 songs of 2013, Jan 2014
Band performs 1000th show, March 2014
Steal The Light, rated as the #31 highest selling Australian Artist album (in Australia), 2013
Falls Festival Australia Summer series, Dec 2013/Jan 2014
European Tour, Oct/Nov 2013
SOLD OUT Australian Tour, Sept 2013
First shows in Brazil – Rio and Sao Paulo, August 2013
North American Tour including headline spot at Montreal Jazz, Calgary Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Ottawa Blues Festival, Vancouver Jazz Festival, July 2013
#96 (Hello) on Triple J’s Hottest 100 songs of the past 20 years, June 2013
STEAL THE LIGHT debuts at No 1 on the Australian Independent Records charts & stays at No1 for 3 weeks, May 2013
STEAL THE LIGHT debuts at No 3 on the Australian ARIA charts, May 2013
STEAL THE LIGHT achieves I-tunes top 20 chart debut in 5 countries; ; #2 in Australia, #5 in Canada, #19 in Switzerland, #20 in Germany, #20 in Holland, #25 in South Africa, #26 in the UK, #40 in Austria, #53 in France and #80 in Belgium, May 2013
Global (independent) Release of album, May 2013
BRIGHTER THAN GOLD itunes chart position #17 in Benelux, March 2013
BRIGHTER THAN GOLD Mega hit status on 3Fm Netherlands, 53 spins & 11million listeners in 1 week, March 2013
Sold out Australian Tour, March 2013
BRIGHTER THAN GOLD on High Rotation at Triple J, Australia, March 2013
Release of first single BRIGHTER THAN GOLD, Feb 2013
Launch of bands own independent label – Two Shoes Records
Headlined Australias first WHITE NIGHT FESTIVAL, Feb 2013
Headlined St Kilda Festival, Melbourne, Australia, Feb 2013
Harry Angus named in “Australia’s Most Important Musicians Ever”, Australian Musician Magazine, May 2012
North American Tour, March/April 2012
The Cat Empire (debut album) double platinum status in Australia, March 2012
2011 – 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE CAT EMPIRE
European tour, Oct/Nov 2011
Australian 10th Birthday Tour, April/May 2011
Headline East and West Coast Blues and Roots festivals, March 2011
WOMAD New Zealand, March 2011
JAPAN tour and release of CINEMA in Japan, Nov 2010
ARIA Award Nomination for CINEMA, October 2010
European Tour, including the bands 800th show in Bournemouth, and sold out Brixton Academy London, October 2010
Australian Tour, Aug/Sept 2010
North American Tour, July 2010
USA release of ‘CINEMA’ – July 6 2010
Canadian release of ‘CINEMA’ – June 29 2010
Australian release of ‘CINEMA’(stayed in the TOP 20 for 5 weeks), June 25 2010
Thailand tour, April 2010
Pre-production & Recording new album, Jan-April 2010
North American Tour, November 2009
European Summer Tour, July 2009 – including show number 700 in Amsterdam.
European release of LIVE ON EARTH (double cd) and LIVE AT THE BOWL (double dvd), June 2009
National Tour of Australia, March 2009
Australian release of LIVE ON EARTH (double cd) and LIVE AT THE BOWL (double dvd), Feb 2009
Opening Night of Sydney Festival with Grace Jones, to over 300 000 people, Jan 2009
Headline Falls Festival Australia New Year Festivals 2008/2009
International release of the album ‘So Many Nights’, April 2008
So Many Nights hits PLATINUM sales in Australia, Feb 2008
Outdoor Australian tour, Feb 2008
Triple J Hottest 100 results; The cat Empire cruises in at Number 50 with SO MANY NIGHTS, and Number 62 with No Longer There, Jan 2008
European Tour, November 2007
‘No Longer There’ and ‘So Many Nights’ both on high rotation on Australian Radio
Australian album release tour, Sept/Oct 2007
Album So Many Nights debuts at # 2 on the Australian charts, Sept 2007
Australian Release of album ‘So Many Nights’, Sept 22, 2007
North America tour; including Summer Stage New York Central park, Quebec City festival etc , July 2007
European tour; including Glastonbury Festival, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, Wireless festival etc, June 2007
Two Shoes released Europe, Asia & other on Universal Music Group International, June 2007
Jay Leno Performance, USA TV, May 7 2007
Late Late Show performance with Craig Ferguson, USA TV, March 1, 2007
Letterman performance USA TV, Feb 13, 2007
SLY hits # 8 on USA AAA radio stations, staying on chart for total 4 months from Feb 2007
Release Two Shoes International Edition on VELOUR, USA Feb 6, 2007
Front cover POLLSTAR USA, Feb 5 2007
Tour USA, UK, Germany, Feb 2007
Australian Tour, Nov/Dec 2006
Performed 500th show as a band, Aspen, Oct 2006
Winner WORLD MUSIC ARIA AWARD, (Australian Record Industry Award) for CITIES – The Cat Empire Project, Oct 2006
Tour USA/Canada, Sept/Oct 2006
Release Two Shoes Special Edition on INDICA, Canda June 2006
International Tour – Singapore, USA, Canada, Europe, UK, Japan – including festivals such as Bonnaroo (USA), Toronto & Montreal Jazz Festivals (Canada) Nuke, Quart, Edinburgh Festivals (Europe), Summersonic (Japan), plus headline shows – June-Oct 2006
Australian Release of recording project entitled ‘Cities – The Cat Empire Project’, April 2006
The Cat Empire perform at the Opening Ceremony of The Commonwealth Games, rated as the 3rd most watched television event so far in the 21st century. Audience 80 000 people in stadium, plus televised to over 1 billion people worldwide, March 2006
Four songs announced in Triple J radio’s Hottest 100 songs of 2005 – The Car Song (25), Sly (38), two Shoes (54), Party Started (100), announced Jan 06
Two Shoes rated number 19 in the ‘Triple J Radios Top 50 Albums for 2005’, announced Jan 06
Woodford and The Falls Festivals, Dec 05
Channel 10 TV – John Foreman Big Night In, Dec 2005
Sold out tour - The Night That Never End Tour, Australia – 12 shows, 30 000+ people, Nov 2005
3 week tour Canada and the USA, Sept 05, marking the bands first foray into Canada – all shows selling out 2 weeks in advance and people turned away
UK Europe Tour August 2005
USA Tour, June 2005
Album TWO SHOES hit PLATINUM 3 weeks after release in Australia, May 2005
Album TWO SHOES debuts in Australia at NUMBER ONE on the charts, April 2005
Album TWO SHOES released in Australia, April 17 2005
First Single from TWO SHOES “Sly” hits number 2 on Australia’s ‘Net 50’, Triple J Radio, March 2005
The Cat Empire recognised in Business Review Weekly (BRW) in Australia’s Top 50 Entertainers for 2004, coming in at # 24, March 2005
The Cat Empire Sly Tour around Australia – 35 dates to over 120 000 people, March/April 2005
The Cat Empire Debut album goes DOUBLE PLATINUM, March 2005
Woodford & Falls Festivals & Federation Square Melbourne New Years Eve 04/05
Recorded new album, Havana, Cuba with Producer Jerry Boys, Dec 04
Nominated for 6 ARIA awards, Oct 2004 - Best Group, Best Breakthrough single, Best Breakthrough Album, The Urban Award, Producer of the Year, Engineer of the Year
Band Manager, Correne Wilkie wins Australian Music Manager of 2004 award, Oct 2004
5 week SOLD OUT tour of Australia, Sept/Oct 2004
Australian release of DVD ‘On The Attack’- goes GOLD upon release, Sept 2004
10 week, 35 date tour of Europe & the UK, July/August 2004
Beat Bon Jovis record for the biggest audience EVER at Darling Harbour, Sydney - over 40 000 people, June 2004
First Australian Band to close the main stage of the East Coast Blues & Roots Festival, April 2004
James Brown support Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, April 2004
Sold Out 42 date Australian National Tour, playing to 100 000 people, March & April 2004
Album goes PLATINUM in Australia (70 000 units), Feb 2004
JJJ HOT 100; HELLO # 6, Days Like These # 37, The Chariot # 100
Double bill Melb and Syd shows with USA band Ozomatli, Jan 2004
Headline act, Federation Square, New Years Eve 2003/04
Homebake (Syd), Falls festival (Lorne & Tasmania), Woodford (Qld) festivals, Dec 2003
One week USA tour, Dec 2003
Album goes GOLD in Australia – 35 000 copies, Dec 12, 2003
Release of second single DAYS LIKE THESE in Australia, Jan 2003
Radio & Commercial release of HELLO single in New Zealand, Dec 2003
Channel 10 TV - The Panel Live to air Christmas special, December 25 2003
Channel 10 TV - Rove Live Tuesday 25th Nov 2003
JJJ Feature Album of the week, Nov 2003
Number 17 on National album charts Nov 2003
Radio Release of first single HELLO in Australia, Oct 2003
Sell out shows for Launch National tour, Oct 2003
Release of major album in Australia, October 27 2003
The Cat Empire in the UK, Singapore & Malaysia, July & August 2003
Track ‘Two Shoes’ placed on high rotation on UK BBC Radio 1, for week ending 3/8/03
Featured in UK - BBC4 Television documentary for WOMAD 2003
The band has performed over 150 shows since July 2001, in Australia, the UK and the USA.
Granted funding from The Australian Arts Council International Pathways grant, June 2003
Nominated in 2 categories for the Australian Jazz Awards, June 2003
The Cat Empire Show @ The Metro, Melbourne, at capacity, May 2003
Monthly shows in Sydney, 2003
Byron Bay Blues & Roots Festival, 2 shows, April 2003
East Coast tour of Australia including 15 shows, April 2003
Production of ‘Tapes, Breaks and Out-takes’–touring cd with a selection of tracks recorded since 2001 WOMAD festival - Adelaide, March 2003
Played St Kilda Festival stage (with Kate Ceberano) to an audience of approx 5 000, Feb 2003
East Coast tour of Australia including 18 shows, Jan 2003
Recorded 1 hour program for SBS radio Alchemy show, selected as the best live show for 2002
Performed The Cat Empire final show for 2002 with special guest Kate Ceberano – Dec 8 2002
Doco with a Cat Empire soundtrack wins Big Issue doco Comp in Vic and Australia – Nov 2002
Headlined Australian Hip Hop night @ Revolver – November 2002
Performed season/s of gigs at The Prince of Wales, The Loft, Bennetts Lane, The Night Cat – 2002
Performed 4 sell-out shows with Famous Spiegeltent as part of Melbourne Festival – Oct/Nov 2002
Performed @ Edinburgh festival August 2002 headlining LateNLive show for 16 nights, August 2002
Recorded THE SUN live album @ Adelphia, June 2002
Received Music for The Future Grant for recording THE SUN, May 2002
Performed to a capacity crowd at The Matrix, San Francisco, USA, June 2002
Performed at the worlds largest charity auction –The Napa Valley Wine Auction- USA June 2002
Headline Act for the St Kilda Film Festival opening night gala event, March 2002
Winner SBS & Film Victoria ‘Whatever Music Competition’
Headline act for the opening party for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, March 2002
Performed 7 shows at Adelaide Festival – by invitation from The Famous Spiegeltent, February 2002
Recorded "Feline" , Oct 2001
Produced a video clip to “Feline”, Nov 2001
Recorded "Adelphia" Dec 2001
Featured in Speigeltent @ the Melb Festival with Belgium Dance Group Hush, Hush, Hush, 2001
Band starts as a 6-piece, July 20