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The Cat Empire - Animalistic Adventures

Author: Melanie Lewis
Monday, 23 February 2009

The Cat Empire have been busy building their overseas fan base with months of extensive touring. They’ve recently returned home, and are all set for a string of East Coast shows. 3D’s Melanie Lewis chats.

Felix Riebl isn’t talking about physical space. He’s been awarded a space in time, after a long, incredibly busy, decade for his band, The Cat Empire. Around 2000, this team of rag tags from Melbourne put together a total cracker of a show, crowds went wild and “the band took off,” Riebl begins. “We had to learn about all sorts of things – traveling, getting along, doing business with the band – which can add a whole level of stress.”

2008 was retrospective. It was home time and as is acceptable for accomplished musicians in this day and age, a break can mean exploring musical development not necessarily fostered by the day job.

“It means that when you’re with The Cat Empire, you can enjoy The Cat Empire for exactly what it is; the sum of all elements, this combination of people playing music from all round the place,” reflects the musician, remarking on the luxury of exploring sounds not necessarily found in the Cat Empire spectrum. “I’ve had a chance to write songs I would not have been able to write as well; they’re calmer, more compositional than The Cat Empire ones.  That’s been a really nice process, to find the space to do that again.”

Therein lies the premise for their next project. Returning from overseas, where they’ve worked tirelessly to cement fan bases, the boys sifted through live recordings from around the globe. An album Live On Earth compiles favourite shows from around Australia and the world, while the DVD Live At The Bowl documents their ‘homecoming’ to Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl. One wonders why the DVD has taken this long to surface.

“It was great fun,” Riebl exclaims when question on the DVD. “[Though] Kind of tedious as well. We listened to a lot of gigs and chose the best moments. This is a package everybody feels comfortable and happy with, which can be difficult with a studio album.  What we have is something that represents what we do.”

“We’d do Melbourne and we’d go up to Sydney,” the singer reflects on his early days with the outfit. “Sydney’s been a really great following for us. A lot of the gigs on the live CD are from The Metro. I know there’s a big rivalry with Melbourne and Sydney, but I think that’s nonsense. We’ve had such an amazing base in Sydney, that it’s really nice to go back there.”

WHO: The Cat Empire
WHAT: Play Enmore Theatre / Live On Earth through Two Shoes / EMI Live at the Bowl DVD through Virgin / EMI
WHEN: Friday February 27, Saturday 28 February / Out now / Out now
MORE: thecatempire.com

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