How to you categorize a genre that combines ska, jazz, Reggae, Latin music, and alternative rock? According to the band, The Cat Empire, you don’t. There is no clear answer other than the fact that it makes great dancing music.
Since 1999, The Cat Empire has been creating songs full of wildly entertaining tunes that combine some of the most diverse music types. The band was formed in Australia and consists of six members: Ollie McGill, Ryan Monro, Felix Riebl, Harry James Angus, Will Hull-Brown, and Jamshid Khadiwala.
Their distinctive name comes from the title of a drawing created by Riebl’s younger brother, while the cat’s eye icon was crafted by McGill’s father. The combination of the two pieces gives the band a creative, yet mysterious image – accurately reflecting their unique music.
In the beginning, the band consisted of just three members – McGill on keys, Riebl on percussion and vocals, and Monro on double bass. After a few months of various gigs at jazz clubs, the band expanded and added Angus on trumpet, Hull-Brown on drums, and Khadiwala on turntables and percussion. Their first independent single, “Feline,” was released in 2001 after their appearance in the Melbourne Festival.
Their first album, “The Cat Empire,” was released in 2003 and led them to being approached by large record companies. The band signed with EMI and Virgin Record, as well as an independent label in the UK.
“The Cat Empire” went on to create six more albums, with their most recent album, “Rising With the Sun,” released in 2016. This album and well as their second album, “Two Shoes,” both appeared at number one on Australian charts.
While there is no specific band that can be compared to “The Cat Empire,” any lover of modern jazz will adore the musical twist this band has to offer. Let their songs “Two Shoes,” “Hello,” and “The Chariot” guide you into the colorful world of their music.
Today, the band continues to perform in clubs and festivals around Europe and is set to embark on a European tour this April. To see when “The Cat Empire” will visit the U.S. next, you can check out their website: thecatempire.com