INTERVIEW: BIG SOUND FESTIVAL - The Cactus Channel
Well today it's a Bonus Round Interview with a twist - in honour of the insanely epic upcoming Big Sound Festival and Conference in Brisbane next month, The Soundcheck will be featuring an artist from the festival every two days until the event kicks off on Tuesday 5th of September.
For those playing along at home, Big Sound is a behemoth event that began in 2002, and is now the southern hemisphere's biggest celebration of new music. 2017 is without doubt the biggest year yet for Big Sound, with 130+ bands playing across 18 live music venues in The Valley across four nights. But it's more than just live music porn, boasting cutting-edge industry professionals speaking across a variety of topics in its conference program, masterclasses, music tech and visual arts showcases - and the $100,000 prize pool on offer for the Levi's Music Prize.
Previous artists who have used Big Sound as a springboard into international markets include Flume, Rufus, Seth Sentry, Gang of Youths, DMAs, Kingswood, The Temper Trap, Megan Washington, DZ Deathrays, Ball Park Music, San Cisco, Boy & Bear, Tash Sultana, The Jezabels, A.B.Original, Middle Kids, Methyl Ethel - and many, many more!
It's big, it's loud and this year's lineup reads like a who's who of some of Australia's finest. So let's get cracking with the first Big Sound Bonus Round Interview with Melbourne's alt-soul superstars The Cactus Channel, answering the B-I-G-S-O-U-N-D questions (And what a charming coincidence that the questions spelled out the words. What an age we live in!)
The Cactus Channel take equal cues from hip-hop instrumentals and golden era Soul — counting the sounds of frequent hip hop collaborators BADBADNOTGOOD and the tight arrangement and production style of Stax Records as influences. No longer purely instrumental, the band will release their 3rd studio album this November.
B (BACKSTORY) TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BAND AND HOW YOU GOT STARTED: The band has always been pretty centered around us as friends goofing around, then trying to make serious music, but not too serious, but come on this is really serious. We started playing together at school lunch times around year 9 and 10, worked our way around the primary school fete circuits then got introduced to the classic night-time gig scenario that we all know and love, stuff has changed since then, for one, I never have lunch that early anymore, but more or less it’s still about long term buddies bound by shared and individual influences trying to make some quality music that weaves it all in.
I (INFLUENCES) WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES? ARE THERE ANY NOT-SO-OBVIOUS ONES? James Brown & The JB’s, The Beach Boys, Badbadnotgood, Daptone, Motown and Stax Records, Grizzly Bear, Alabama Shakes, Morricone, Debussy, Les Baxter, Ween, Kendrick, Mac Demarco, Connan Moccasin, The Putbacks, our friends, and anyone that has a billion dollars and is looking for an investment opportunity.
G (GIGS) WHAT'S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GIG SO FAR? Our recent tour with Sam Cromack was pretty fun, maybe an obvious choice, but felt like we were really preparing to put on a show, more so than other times, and seemed to cap off a hard working transitional year or so, kick start new direction, celebrate our first real in depth collaborative thing that reached beyond our cosy Melbourne environment, all that cheesy cool stuff.
S (SONGS) WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE SONG TO PLAY LIVE AND WHY? I’ve been enjoying Brickwall Hallelujah recently, it’s a good one coming out of a subdued part of a set, I get to try and say a lot of words quickly (Sam’s words), it’s got light and dark, everyone seems to have a fun vibe. Let’s go with that.
O (ONE OTHER BAND) WHO IS THE ONE BAND/ARTIST YOU'RE MOST PUMPED TO SEE LIVE AT BIG SOUND? I can’t say, we have a lot of friends coming up, it’s like saying who’s you’re best friend, and the answer is, I don’t have a best friend. We share a studio with Good Morning though and I see they’re playing and I haven’t actually seen them so I hope I do!
U (UPCOMING STUFF) WHAT HAVE YOU GOT ON THE HORIZON, ANY UPCOMING TOURS OR NEW RELEASES? Well come Big Sound time we’ll be mid-way through a national tour supporting City Calm Down so that will be fun, we’ll get to give some of the Sam/TCC EP tunes a little bit more love, and weave in a bunch of new things from the record coming. Then come November we’ll be in new album mode which we just finished mastering, and going on a national tour for that, the new album is a mix of new vocal territory and new instrumental stuff too, we haven’t put out an album in four years so it’s pretty exciting for us.
N (NAME) WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND YOUR BAND NAME? A story bordering on the boring realms of both short and long. Couldn’t think of a name, someone suggested a name, we were sixteen and were learning what concept/context/meaning and all those things were.
D (DREAM TOUR) WHO IS YOUR DREAM BAND/ARTIST TO TOUR WITH? It’s gotta be Andre’ Rieu doesn’t it? All those live DVD’s, maybe we’d make it onto a live DVD.
You can catch The Cactus Channel in action at Big Sound, all details plus a whole lot more below:
THE CACTUS CHANNEL - BIG SOUND LIVE SETS: CLICK HERE
For more info on Big Sound head to: https://www.bigsound.org.au/
BY TIANA SPETER