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As in a live setting, so on record, as far as The Cat Empire are concerned. Peculiarly, Riebl and his band of ever-rotating musicians have always managed to translate the festive energy of their performances into the recording sessions; something that only a few artists could ever hope to achieve to perfection.

Touring on the back of their 2013 album Steal The Light, Riebl says of the band’s sixth full-length record that The Cat Empire have done a bit of a 360 - and long-time fans will have no trouble spotting where.

"Our debut album [self-titled, 2003] had a travelling, adventurous spirit about it and, since we did that in Cuba, it had that raw sound to it. Then the few albums in between that, we explored a more melancholy sound, which was maybe a little more removed and touched on a few emotional places. With this album, I think there is still a reference to the melancholy aspect somewhat, but there is much more of a return to something more festive again, reminiscent of the first album. You can’t be too sad with your music and you don’t want to take it too seriously because, at the end of the day, you want people to sing and dance to it.

"Besides, music is meant to be experienced and not scrutinised too closely. Everyone in this band has evolved as a person and has experienced a range of emotional dips and rises, but in the end we’ve finished up at this place that is exciting again, and that’s what we want to express.”

And what better way to do so than within beautiful European mansions that have been transformed into music venues?

“I think venues such as Somerset House will add a special sense of magic and wonder to the entire experience –it’s an exceptional place that we are very curious about. We don’t come by places like that every day, so I can guarantee these shows will be something entirely different for us too.”

So what’s next for the Cats? “Once the tour is over, we’ll be getting involved in some collaborations with other people. The Cat Empire started off with so many different musicians and performers - one of our first ever tours was at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on any given night some of the most amazing performers and musicians and even acrobats would just jump on stage and that’s how we operated!

"The band was always very good at adapting to different things, so we are planning on playing with more people and getting back into that. Although I can’t really name any names just yet, I can say that I hope people stay tuned and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for when we announce more details."

Catch The Cat Empire on July 13 as part of the Somerset House series ( and also at BoomTown Fair (August 7-10, To win tickets to BoomTown, visit

Images: Supplied


Interview: The Cat Empire
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