The Cat Empire
Oliver McGill (keyboards), Felix Riebl
(percussion and vocals) and Ryan Monro (double bass)
emerged on the scene in 1999 as
The Cat Empire. In
2001, Harry James Angus (trumpet), Will Hull-Brown (drums) and
Jamshid "Jumps" Khadiwala (DJ) joined the band wagon.
The Cat Empire is a much loved and respected band,
having a strong Australian following throughout the world.
“There are Australians everywhere! We play mainly to
Australians oversees, I don’t think we’ve ever done a gig
with no Australians, we’ll find out one day,” laughs the
band’s trumpet player Harry James Angus.
The Cat Empire
So how did the
increase in band members affect the original trio’s dynamics?
“I can’t really
remember how I felt about it,” says double base player, Ryan
Monro. “But it’s been awesome since then. We now have a
drummer and vocals; they were both changes for the better.
“When it was just
the three-piece we never tried to impress anyone or get anyone
dancing. We just did weird background music in art gallery type
bars, it was totally different. But then once Harry and Will and
Jumps joined in, people reacted in … a different way.”
Harry finds it
amusing about how the band played at weddings in the early days,
observing, “It’s a total different kind of music now,” he says.
The band's name originated from the title of a drawing by lead
vocalist Felix’s younger brother, Max. Its unique cat’s eye symbol
is known as ‘Pablo’ and was created by Ollie McGill's father. In
this sense, The Cat Empire is truly a family affair.
The Cat Empire has received numerous accolades for their
recent gigs at Woodford Folk Festival and Bluesfest.
Their sound has definite Latin influences, as well as a splash of
jazz, funk and rock.
The Cat Empire have toured broadly throughout
the US and Europe and are currently touring overseas. Releasing four diverse albums to date with the
first two reaching double platinum and the third gaining the
2006 Fine Arts Aria Award for Best World Music Album for
Cities - The Cat Empire Project, the band have many reasons to
celebrate their success. Their most recent Aria tribute was winning
the Best Music DVD in 2009.
love of music extends beyond The Cat Empire to
another upcoming Australian band, Jackson Jackson,
with whom he is a founder and member.
Harry James Angus
different note, lead vocalist Felix was justifiably
nominated as a Cleo Bachelor of the Year for 2008,
and, although he did not win the title, he is
listed in the Cleo section of Who’s Hot Now.
View The Cat Empire's
www.thecatempire.com for more information about the band and upcoming events.
Australia Tour November 11, 2010 - Key of the Sea, Prince of
The Cat Empire band members are associated with
The Woodford Folk
Article and photos by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative