The Cat Empire is quite probably the biggest animal-inspired Australian ska/jazz collective you've never heard of.
In 1999, the band 'Jazz Cat' was drawn from a group of talented young musicians in and around Melbourne. From Jazz Cat was born the three- and soon six-piece The Cat Empire. A decade, five studio albums and more than 800 live shows later, The Cat Empire are playing a series of UK dates in the autumn.
The Cat Empire sound is predominantly Latin-influenced ska but often described as a fusion of jazz, ska, funk and rock and it has won fans all over the world. They've been on the David Letterman and Jay Leno shows in the US, headlined a range of global festivals and carved out a reputation for supporting environmental and humanitarian causes. However, they list their greatest achievement as 'staying together'.
The band's name was taken from the title of a drawing by Max Riebl, the younger brother of percussionist and singer Felix Riebl. The band's distinctive cat's eye icon aka 'Pablo' (obviously), was created by keys and vocals man, Ollie McGill's dad. These family ties were key to The Cat Empire's early successes as the band toured in cars and vans begged and borrowed from family members. The collective made friends everywhere they went, resulting in a strong pedigree for collaboration and guest musicians - dozens of whom are credited with working with the band.
The Melbourne-based fusion collective are playing eight dates in the UK in the autumn, starting in Bournemouth on 18th October, ending the run at in Newcastle on 27th. En route, The Cat Empire play two nights in London: Shepherd's Bush Empire in West London on 20th, Brixton Academy in South London on 21st with two nights also in Bristol (23rd/24th) among others.
Tickets are on sale at 9AM on Friday 10th June, starting at £19.50 (£22.50 for London).