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    Where hip-hop meets reggae, where jazz is played with dirty hands, where a Cuban line meets an Aussie rule, where nothing seems in place but sounds like many places played in one earthy chord. This is the island where THE CAT EMPIRE was born. (Written by the band in 2001)


    The youngest Aussie band to turn 10 years old, in 2011 THE CAT EMPIRE celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first show as the 6 piece which went on to become the Empire they are today. In an industry where few bands survive beyond the first album, if even making it that far, 10 years is a fantastic achievement. Considering they are still all under the age of 30, and have consolidated themselves as a world class Australian band on the International touring circuit, it's outstanding.

    This is a home-grown success story, which shows that a combination of hard work, great songs, a good vibe, a genuine vision, and a little bit of luck go a long way. The first Australian tours were undertaken in a convoy of cars handed down from parents, or borrowed from friends, sleeping on the floors of friends of friends, and putting up their own posters at each stop. Word quickly spread about this young band that could deliver a party like no other. Soon they were undertaking national tours, and financing their first album, all under their own steam. "We all borrowed some money from a parent or friend, to pay for the first album. We promised we would pay them back within 9 months - we paid it all back within 3!". By the time they signed their first record deal (with EMI, who they are now into their 3rd deal with) they were packing out 1500 seat venues in each Australian major city, and had a solid fan base all over the country.

    The Cat Empire is the band which possibly best defines the over-used marketing term "word of mouth". They played their first show to a room packed with family and friends at The Commercial Club Hotel on May 5, 2001. The band played weekly until the end of that year in and around Melbourne, building their local fan base while developing their songs and stagecraft. In 2002 they kicked off the year with their first interstate show at Adelaide festival. By the end of that year they had played in the USA as well as completing their legendary 16 night stint at Edinburgh festival. 2003 saw the band make their way around the rest of Australia, as well as their second UK tour, finishing the year off with shows in New York and DC. This was also the year they signed their first record deal and released their self-title debut album in Australia. 2004 saw the release of the ON THE ATTACK dvd, and a solid 118 shows in the year including multiple Australian tours, supporting James Brown, and their first foray into continental Europe. The band capped of the year in Cuba at the famous Egrem Studios, where they recorded their sophomore album. They didnt slow down much in 2005, releasing TWO SHOES, wracking up 114 shows; in Nz, two tours of the USA, Europe and a couple of tours through Australia. 2006 & 2007 followed pretty much the same pattern - touring twice a year through each of Australia, Europe, the UK, Canada and USA where they played Letterman and Leno. The band released CITIES in 2006, a soundscape written and performed for the opening of The Commonwealth Games, and SO MANY NIGHTS in 2007, recorded in Malibu. 2008 was a quiet year by The Cat Empire standards, as they all took time off to be with family and dug through the recording archives to create their first live album. LIVE ON EARTH was released in Feb 2009, along with the DVD LIVE AT THE BOWL, and the guys were back on the road in 2009 & 2010, with tours each year to Europe, the UK, Canada, Japan, and through Australia.

    There is no doubt their 2003 radio hit HELLO helped their career along, the cheeky catch-cry "Hello Hello" getting stuck in the nations head, propelling their debut album to PLATINUM status in a matter of months.

    While it looked as though THE CAT EMPIRE had come out of nowhere, it was very much the determination and design of front man Felix Riebl which made this band a solid reality on the Australian Music scene. Felix met a few of the early recruits (ollie, Will and Ryan) in a youth jazz project arranged by Melbourne Jazz musician Steve Sedergreen. He then set about recruiting front man/trumpter Harry Angus, followed by DJ Jamshid Khadiwala. His final recruit to the line-up was Manager Correne Wilkie who was just 24 at the time she took on the role, with no music industry experience. The line-up proved to be the winning combination, and the sum of the parts and a shared vision added up to ensure this band had all bases covered. “We have always ben committed as a band to taking calculated risks, creating our own musical opportunities, and continuing to do things our way. I guess it’s a case of ‘be careful what you wish for – it just might come true’” The Line-up has not changed since the beginning, the band known to describe themselves as "a weird little family".

    It wasnt long until the rest of the world heard about the Empire. The band members credit their Australian fans and international backpackers in Australia for marketing them overseas. "Everywhere we went overseas, people would come up to us and say a friend in Australia sent the album to them, or one of their mates who traevlled through Australia brought it back and we all burned it." In fact, The Cat Empire suspect illegal piracy of their album in countries where it was not available overseas ended up being their greatest marketing machine. "We would arrive in cities like Berlin and Barcelona for the first time, and everyone in the audience would already know the words to every song. I guess the money we lost in cd sales through those territories, we have made up in ticket sales many times over, so although we dont endorse it, we certainly cant begrudge the file sharing."

    The band has now sold over three quarters of a million albums and dvds in all corners of the world. They have headlined global festivals, won ARIAs, and played on Letterman and Leno, contributed where they can to a range of causes such as the environment and more recently the Asylum Seekers plight in Australia. When asked what their biggest achievement is in 10 years as a band, there is a unanimous "staying together". While other 20 somethings were going to uni, working odd jobs, hanging out with friends in share houses, Ryan, Will, Ollie, Harry, Jumps, Felix and the Empire Horns - Ross and Kieran, spent their twenties trawling across continents in tour buses, playing to audiences night after night, honing their stagecraft, quietly building their Empire, and making you-tube videos to pass the time. This experience has brought them together as a band, and defined them as individuals.

    To celebrate 10 years, the band will start 2011 off by re-visiting the Australian venues they worked their way through as they gained fans and playing chops. From the small jazz clubs, crazy late night party places, to the band room pubs and the concert halls and theatres. "We feel incredibly grateful to the venues and the super-fans who supported us and took a punt on us in the early days, and have continued to support as our career gained momentum. The venue crawl is a tribute to those people and really unique times". May 2011 gives Australian fans the chance to revisit some of those moments with The Empire.

    The band will also tour Europe and North America in 2001.

    Congratulations to THE CAT EMPIRE; celebrating 10 years, 800+ shows, over 100 songs, 5 albums and a massive international following as a result of hard work and great musicianship.


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