Artist Biography by Andy Kellman (allmusic.com)
Combining a number of styles — from funk to jazz to ska — Melbourne, Australia’s Cat Empire formed in 1999 as a trio. Keyboardist Oliver McGill, double bassist Ryan Monro, and percussionist Felix Riebl were eventually joined by trumpet player Harry James Angus, drummer Will Hull-Brown, and DJ Jamshid Khadiwala. A single and a live EP preceded the band’s first album, The Cat Empire, which was released in 2003. At that point, they had already played the Melbourne Festival, the Adelaide Festival of Arts, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and WOMAD. Two Shoes, their second album, was recorded in Havana, Cuba, and released in 2005. Citiesfollowed a year later but it was 2007’s So Many Nights that, for many, crystallized their frenetic, fun-loving and party-focused sound. Although 2008 was a quiet year for the band, Live on Earth appeared in 2009, bringing together a number of their favorite onstage recordings. Their 2010 studio album, Cinema, was as widely acclaimed as So Many Nights, but betrayed an increasingly restrained and mature take on the Cat Empire sound. Next, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their first gig, in 2011 the band returned to the small Australian venues that had played host to their initial forays into live performance. By the end of the year, they had also completed an extensive tour of Europe and North America. Throughout the course of their career, the band’s members were involved in numerous outside recording and performing projects, including the hip-hop outfit Jackson Jackson and the jazz quartet, The Conglomerate.