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the cactus channel

these guys, the cactus channel, are cruising on a lowdown seventies groove. the totally hip and happening ten-piece instrumental soul outfit are producing a funky, afterhours tempo for clapped-out cats hidden in the shadows at the back of the smoky barroom. hailing from the mean streets of melbourne, they produce an earthy, horn-laden sound that’s dreamy and personal and all so real in an internet age, when so many laptop producers are taking over the airwaves. #hot… hell-yeah they’re hot from the opening tracks of their breakout twenty twelve album haptics, to the edgy jaunt of thirteen’s wooden boy and there latest single, a remix of animaux’s alaska.
interview with i.t.a.

hudson witlock, drummer from cactus channel took the time out from his exhausting schedule to speak with us at powder.

so let’s start with where you’re at… you’ve just released a new single, a remix of animaux’s alaska. and like out of control, i just can’t stop listening to it. so how’d it all come about? why’d you choose that track and how’d you go about producing that toe tapping freaky sound?

Well. It all came about when we had the opportunity to play a show with Animaux at the John Curtain. We originally pondered writing a tune for Alex to sing (the lead singer and powerhouse behind Animaux) in combination with their horns and ours etc. But we very quickly realised that this would be a lot of work. So… we decided to do our sp00ky remix. It wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for that Jaw Harp in bar 13.

for those powder readers, who just ain’t had the opportunity to catch you cats yet, what’s a night like with the cactus channel. where does a gig with you guys take someone? and just what can an audience expect?

Coming to see the The Cactus Channel is like having a very sensual sit down meal with your grandpa. The kind of pep pep who is a bit younger than most pep pep’s, so it means that you can have topical conversations with him such as how many kilometre’s wide is Nimbin, how great is Tony Abbott and how good is master chefs. It’s just music so you know; the normal things… The Cactus Channel: familiar, provocative, old man.

your name, the cactus channel… it’s like so cactus… what are the origins of this little treasure?

‘The Cactus Channel’ comes is a lyric from the Engelbert Humperdinck song ‘Love Me With All Of Your Heart’. Humperdinck explains that his lover either loves him with all of their heart, or not at all. Furthermore, Humperdinck demands under Sarrean Oath that his partner must love him through all seasons: summers, autumns, winters and springs. When they are with him and when they are parted, they must demonstrate their love in its entirety for Englebert. Interestingly; Englebert Humperdinck announced publicly in September 1996 that he is 'pro-aids'. 1996 was a leap year and the year of the panda.

you’re such a big outfit… can you give us a little rundown of who you all are and what your function is?

Callum (nick name ‘calm’), on key borard. Loren M on saxophone. Dave ‘reggae on tap’ Thor on guitar 1, Lewis in Geet 2. Henry plays the bass, Virgo. Hudson on the drums, also a Virgo. Adam on the Trumpet same with Daniel DDSP. Kate plays the flute and sax. And lst but not very much least, Campbell Wheeler, the unofficial mayor of Coburg, plays the biggest Saxophone of all. The Baritone. The drums function as a groove time keeper. The bass aims to anchor the harmonic centres and to give the grooves some ‘Bunk’. The guitars just play chords. The organ brings that nasty rock ‘n’ roll, which gives you the whole stereo field. And lastly, the Horns. They just make it all come together. They sound better than a kazoo “amirite?” – Henry Jenkins.

so i’d like to ask darvid a question. now darvid, you’re the lead guitar in the band and might i add, i totes dig the way you hold that axe of yours. who are your greatest guitar influences and just which guitarist does if to you the most?

Just to clarify for all The Caccy Chan fans out there, there is no lead guitar. Speaking of guitars, some of our biggest influences are Steve Cropper, Phelps “Catfish” Collins and the infamous Penny Diddle. The best guitarist was and always will be Bass guitarist James Jameson. Wooten you wanna be Wooten too?!

one for kate charlwood, the saxophonist and flautist. well actually i’ve got two for you. do you really speak eight languages and if so, what are they? also, and like in an oh so innocent way, are you like single now or what?

Hello, Kate here. I speak Mandarin, Portuguese, Esperanto, French, Nimbin, Swaghili, a little bit of Gaelic and a lot of English. In my spare time I enjoy playing the melancholy yet serenely mystical music of Francis Poulenc with a bit of Piazzola on the side. Oh whoops wrong question! I’m currently in a long-term relationship with my Aunty Morag. Soz... Gesundheit

you guys have been together for like the longest time. how’s the journey been? what have been the highlights and have there been any low moments?

For most part it has been a fantastic roller coaster, at times a logistical nightmare, but a never ending party. We’ve had our up and downs; playing with artists such as Charles Bradley and Tiny Horse, they are very special times within our lustrous career. As well as playing in front of big crowds at festivals such as Waverock, Falls Festival and Harvest, that’s always a lot always fun and very exhilarating. But with rollercoaster highs, must come sub-aquatic lows. One time Darvid locked the keys to our dorm rooms in the tour van, so we all had to share one bed together. And in 2012, when Lewis Coleman’s alcohol problem got very severe. So bad that we had to keep all of our deodorant rolls and perfume/cologne locked up in a small safe because Lewis would thieve them in the night from our bags and get very high off them. We found him one time passed out in the foyer area of a Brisbane YHS in nothing but a tutu, and an empty Chanel No. 5 bottle and an empty Nivea roll on bottle scattered around him. I guess it was a very upsetting time in our bands relationship and creative headspace. He’s seeing people about this problem though, so he’ll get through it.

when you’re all sitting around together looking for inspiration, what tunes hit the cactus channel’s turntable?

The Budos Band, The PutBacks, Mac Demarco, Bombay Royale, Menahan Street Band, Tiny Horse and Jorge Buccio.

you’re all signed to hopestreet recordings, which is our fav label down in melbourne. just what is it like working for such a triff label?

HopeStreet are everything you could want in a record label. You’ve got Bob Knob who’s like the dad you always wanted but we’re to afraid to demand it of your mum to stop seeing that other guy. And then there’s the other guy, Tristan AKA T-steak 225. It’s a very enjoyable process making music with those guys cause they know what they wanna hear and they’ll tell us if our B strings are 14 cents flat. They are nightmarish producers, but hugs not drugs, ya know? In all seriousness though, they are the cubes of feta and thick chips that give this old souvlaki it’s flavour, we couldn’t be more smitten.

after the gig what do you guys do to unwind? which joints do you haunt?

We’ve been known to hunt out chilli dog stands and skulk around Carlton. Darvid used to live there, so we all have a lot of fond memories of being in that area, finding a stick and a wheel and just playing til the sun went down. Also, Don Bosco Community Centre on Sydney Rd, the black hole that is The Evelyn and Ohm eatery just next door to city square. Sometimes after a gig we like to huff some nangs and imagine we’re royalty bouncing around in a jumping castle. But you can’t turn back the clocks of time so get over it.

and lastly, what have you guys got coming up for the end of twenty fourteen? is there a new album on its way and where are you gigging?

Gigging any slammed out dive and jerked off venue we can. This summer, some of us graduate from university, so it means we’re finally qualified to make music. Soooooo, 2015 will prove to be a very busy year in regards to our output of recordings, new projects and hopefully an umpteen selection of goofball stunts. We’re talking remixes, gags and that ever anticipated Wooden Boy pt. II. As well as, our pièce de résistance, our Jamiriqui tribute 45: will be a hoot!!! OH THE TURKEY.

once more, if i was wearing one, hats off to you guys. cheers for chatting with powder and long to catch you on the stage once more… peaches.

Thanks for the questions. To all our Jackie Chan Caccy Channettes out there, have fun, stay safe, play fair.


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their label hopestreet recordings