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The Cat Empire - Australian Band

Oliver McGill (keyboards), Felix Riebl (percussion and vocals) and Ryan Monro (double bass) emerged  on  the  scene  in 1999 as
The Cat Empire
.   In 2001, Harry James Angus (trumpet), Will Hull-Brown (drums) and
Jamshid "Jumps" Khadiwala (DJ) joined the band wagon.

The Cat Empire is a much loved and respected band, having a strong Australian following throughout the world. 

“There are Australians everywhere!  We play mainly to Australians oversees, I don’t think we’ve ever done a gig with no Australians, we’ll find out one day,” laughs the band’s trumpet player Harry James Angus.


The Cat Empire - photo taken by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative.

                           The Cat Empire

So how did the increase in band members affect the original trio’s dynamics?

“I can’t really remember how I felt about it,” says double base player, Ryan Monro.  “But it’s been awesome since then.  We now have a drummer and vocals; they were both changes for the better. 

“When it was just the three-piece we never tried to impress anyone or get anyone dancing.  We just did weird background music in art gallery type bars, it was totally different.  But then once Harry and Will and Jumps joined in, people reacted in a different way.”

Harry finds it amusing about how the band played at weddings in the early days, observing, “It’s a total different kind of music now,” he says. 

The band's name originated from the title of a drawing by lead vocalist Felix’s younger brother, Max.  Its unique cat’s eye symbol is known as ‘Pablo’ and was created by Ollie McGill's father.  In this sense, The Cat Empire is truly a family affair.

The Cat Empire has received numerous accolades for their recent gigs at Woodford Folk Festival and Bluesfest.    Their sound has definite Latin influences, as well as a splash of jazz, funk and rock.  
The Cat Empire have toured broadly throughout
Australia, the US and Europe and are currently touring overseas.  Releasing four diverse albums to date with the first two reaching double platinum and the third gaining  the 2006 Fine Arts Aria Award for Best World Music Album for Cities - The Cat Empire Project, the band have many reasons to celebrate their success. Their most recent Aria tribute was winning the Best Music DVD in 2009.

Harry's love of music extends beyond The Cat Empire to another upcoming Australian band, Jackson Jackson, with whom he is a founder and member.  www.jacksonjacksonmusic.com   The Cat Empire's Harry James Angus  - photo taken by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative.

Harry James Angus

On a different note, lead vocalist Felix was justifiably nominated as a Cleo Bachelor of the Year for 2008, and, although he did not win the title, he is listed in the Cleo section of Who’s Hot Now.

The Cat Empire's Felix Riebl  - photo taken by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative.

Felix Riebl


View The Cat Empire's website www.thecatempire.com for more information about the band and upcoming events.

Upcoming Australia Tour November 11, 2010 - Key of the Sea, Prince of Wales, Melbourne

The Cat Empire band members are associated with various charities. 

Associated article  The Woodford Folk Festival 2007

Article and photos by Chrissy Layton, AusNotebook Music & Creative 4/10/10