It’s hard to hit the nail on the head when describing The Cat Empire’s music. Indie, reggae, jazz, funk, they’ve got a bit of everything. In a nutshell they’re a bunch of boys from Oz who inject an untold amount of energy into whichever audience they play for. We have a chat to Felix (standing centre in pic), the lead vocalist, in Melbourne.
Hi Felix. How’s Melbourne? You’re from there originally yeah?
Yeah, more or less. I’ve moved around quite a bit. I was born in Sydney and then we moved around Oz for a bit after that, then over to Europe and then spent most of my time in Melbourne.
Nice. Do you have a favourite spot to holiday in Australia?
One of my favourite spots in Australia is in the Northern Territory, around Katherine. I saw some spots around there and I thought it was the most beautiful country I had ever seen. It’s really incredible. And I gotta say, it’s a bit of a cliché but I gotta say Byron Bay. There’s something about the water there that’s just my favourite.
You guys do a lot of touring, do you look forward to the travelling part?
It’s really a bit of a rollercoaster. I do love travelling. When you’re in and amongst it it’s got some quite extraordinary moments, usually at night around the shows and then during the days some really kind of bleak, alienating times. When you combine that, it sort of makes for a really colourful experience. I often love it in hindsight, but when I’m on it I’m often exhausted, but I gotta say I do enjoy it as a whole.
How are the group dynamics?
It’s actually pretty good. We’ve had our moments over the years but I think when you’ve got really good concerts to put on, there’s sort of an eclipse every night where you’re forced to do a job and that job is pretty damn good. It kind of keeps everyone in perspective.
What’s it like for a bunch of Aussie guys touring the US?
Being successful in a band is a great feeling and being successful in a band as strange as ours, something which is made up of such diverse influences, is even sweeter I think because of the unexpected nature of the success. The US we really treat as one of the places we just play. There are parts of America we like playing but my memories of touring throughout the heartland of the US, through those super-long miles, they’re not my favourites at all.
How long did it take you to perfect the move where your legs look almost like they’re made of rubber?
Haha, we haven’t actually danced for a while. Maybe we’ll bring it out sometime. That’s an old move! It’s a really, really old 70s move. All of those things, they start off as something you do when you’re mucking around one night and then it stuck. We haven’t done it in quite a long time so we might have to bring it back.
Okay, so we’re after your preference on the following:
Sydney or Melbourne?
Melbourne, because it’s home.
Uluru or Great Barrier Reef?
Uluru because I’ve spent some time there, more than I have at the GBR. I really haven’t been to the GBR much. I’d love to.
Late-night kebab or Maccas?
Oh kebab for sure! Although it’s a falafel for me these days.
Lennon or McCartney?
Soccer or football?
Soccer but when I’m overseas, football.
AFL or NRL?
Vegemite on toast: With or without butter?
Ah with butter for sure.
Nestle or Cadbury?
Maltesers: Suck or bite?
Depends what part of the movie you’re at.
Favourite Aussie beer?
Little Creatures Pilsener.
Favourite Aussie woman?
Favourite Aussie woman? (laughs) It’s quite a contentious question. Umm… my little sister.
The Cat Empire play Sydney tonight (Aug 29), then Adelaide (Sept 1), Perth (Sept 2, 3 & 4), Reggaetown Festival in Cairns (Sept 10-11; www.reggaetown.com.au) and Townsville (Sept 12). See www.thecatempire.com for details.