Eclectic ska band from Melbourne, Australia, The Cat Empire have gained fans worldwide with their energetic blend of ska, jazz, funk, gypsy swing and latin sounds, having started life in 1999.
The band’s first form was as a trio, featuring keyboardist Oliver McGill, double bassist Ryan Monro and percussionist Felix Riebl. They were soon joined by trumpet player Harry James Angus, DJ Jamshid Khadiwala and Will Hull-Brown on the drums. The Cat Empire quickly made a big name for themselves on the live circuit, having started off playing at Melbourne (Australia) clubs before then playing at a number of major festivals, including Melbourne Festival, Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and WOMAD in England. Having already developed an international reputation, they released their self-titled debut album in 2003, which gained heavy airplay on BBC Radio 1.
Their second record followed in 2005, with “Two Shoes,” a huge critical and commercial success, peaking at number one in the Australian charts. Recorded in Havana, Cuba, the album displayed a strong latin-jazz influence, displaying an ever-diverse sound. It was with their 2007 release, “So Many Nights,” that Cat Empire had found their distinct style, creating an endlessly enthusiastic, party-driven record that made them one of the most exciting bands on the airwaves.
The band toured extensively in support of the record before returning to the studio for their fifth release, “Cinema,” issued in June 2010, offering a more mature, yet somewhat restrained sound. The band continued to perform at major festivals, but also embarked on a serious of intimate gigs in 2011, celebrating their 10th anniversary of their first live performance. They had also travelled extensively across North America and Europe in support of their album. In May 2013, their sixth album, “Steal the Light,” found further international critical acclaim, continuing Cat Empire’s popularity both at home and overseas.