The only upside to the Hipster epidemic is the ever increasing amount of good music being played in Singapore. and although those pitchfork-worshiping, Pabst blue ribbon-swilling youths are known for their contempt for world music, Cat Empire manages to disappoint hipsters who have already prepared their derisive remarks.
First time listeners might label them as Latin or world music, but they also do ska and reggae and jazz and pop and rock. Trying to shoehorn them into one genre is like seeing dozens of clowns squeeze into their clown car. Possible but just plain wrong. People don’t like clowns very much.
The multi-platinum band hailing from Melbourne has been around for over a decade, garnering both awards and fans alike. Playing to sold out crowds all over the world with their infectious, very dance-able and singularly remarkable music. They are now once again touring the world in support of their new album Steal the Light and is set to play at the Mosaic Music Festival in March at the Esplanade.
Popspoken: You guys have been around for 12 years. That’s really long in band-years. What do you think has contributed to your longevity?
I think the connection people have to our music is strong, this coupled with a live show that is full of musicianship and great songs really helps. Also our music is appealing to all people, young and old.
Popspoken: With so much material under your belts how do you decide on what to play at gigs?
Yes, we seem to be having this issue more since the release of “Steal The Light”, certain songs will probably be in our set forever and then it’s a juggling act of what songs we want to play and what the audience want to hear.
Popspoken: I cannot place a finger on the bands “sound” due to the sheer diversity. Would you guys like to put a label on yourselves for conveniences sake? Do you hate it when people do it?
Yeah, defining our sound is hard, but I really like that. Having no label/genre keeps us out of stereotypes and fads. It is really interesting to see what genres we are propped up against sometimes, some make us laugh, some make us cry!
Popspoken: You guys have 8 members! How do band decisions usually go creatively or otherwise?
It can get tedious at times but we are pretty good these days at coming to decisions. All creative ideas are tested out to see what happens, the music will make the decision in the end.
Popspoken: How do you switch it up from gig to gig? How do you factor what to play and when to bring back older tunes in a certain performance?
We have sections in certain songs that go places each night, so depending on the vibe these sections can go anywhere. The set list these days is a combination of classics and new songs the band wants to play, sometimes at shows if it is really obvious the crowd wants a song usually we will just call it on stage.
Popspoken: How is it like to tour so extensively last year? Any bizarre memories from touring?
The “Steal The Light” world tour was a massive achievement for the band and something we have been working towards for a while. Yes it was extensive and tiring but touring the world playing music is something special. My memories of the world tour is a haze of hanging out on the bus listening to soft rock, looking for records in Amsterdam, eating lunch in Barcelona and strolling along the beach at Ipanema.
The Cat Empire plays at the Esplanade on the 13th of March. Get your tickets here.
Image credits : Master of Puppets