Dream Weaver: Felix Riebl (Cat Empire)

Dreaming is a funny thing, sometimes when they become reality they lose some beauty. However, when dreaming of talking to a very talented, good looking (Cleo bachelor of the year nominated, nonetheless) prominent musician about his latest venture, I remained totally smitten by Felix Riebl, lead singer of The Cat Empire. Fortunately enough, his latest venture is writing music for the Dream Festival, so plenty of dreaming was allowed.


The Dream festival is going to be held in Melbourne from the 3rd-6th of October, the National Australia Bank are putting it on as a celebration of their 150th birthday. Felix mused "Nab have really let Andrew Walsh direct everything. They haven't tried to contain it or give it their own spin. And likewise for the music, the song that I have written is a song that you can really think about, and with a bit of weight to it"


Literally polishing off recording of the music for the artwork, and the song for the festival, Felix is at the renowned Shed recording studio. He excitedly chats about working with a small team and how much fun that can be in such a good studio.


It's a fairly unique opportunity for a musician to work intimately with sculpture artists, and Felix isn't taking any of it for granted "I am writing the music for the installation artworks, and I get to work with the artist to create the soundtrack for that. It has been such a nice process, because I really enjoyed being around artists like this, and they don't get a chance to do much creating like this. It is a bit robust and not a particular as setting up a gallery exhibition. You have to write songs that are strong enough to translate to a whole outdoor area."


When the festival is reaching its climax and bubbling with firework displays you will be able to find Felix performing his song for the festival on stage in a duet with Katie Noonan. "But I will also be wandering around listening to all the music, I will be super keen to see how the music translates into speakers and in the outside area. And I'm just going to enjoy the festival, which will be really nice, when you are in a band at a festival you are always on the other side, you are always on stage and you never actually get the chance to walk around and be a part of it all. I'm also looking forward to seeing Simbiosis play"


Artists can find a muse in the most peculiar places, people and events, Felix's muse for creating the music for the Dream festival, came from an incredibly appropriate place, a dream he had one night…"I was at a party and I was in a chase, like over clotheslines and fences, a proper chase. Though I wasn't actually the one being chased, I was following a friend who was being chased. I ended up in this room and this Sri-Lankan girl was telling us about the reason we were being chased. Then she started humming this tune, and it was going around and around in my head. When I woke up I went downstairs and jumped straight onto the piano and wrote it all down. So the music kind of came from that dream"


Dreaming in the sense of aspirations and hopes for a future is something Felix confesses to only just grasping the concept of. "My biggest dream is to write and play music, which is cool, because I'm doing it. I've been very lucky like that. But dreams are such abstract and wild things, that you can't really control that well"


"I think this has the makings for an annual event, especially if each year you could make more and more pieces, so eventually the whole Yarra River was filled up with the glowing art work. Aside from anything though, it's just going to be a beautiful looking thing"


On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 October, The Dream Festival's main stage at Alexandra Gardens will feature some of Australia's most exciting musical talent including Youth Group, The Audreys and The Melbourne Ska Orchestra with Nicky Bomba. This a free event.

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