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DIY CAKE




Have you got a problem? Time to consult Cake.

  

In the 90s, I had horrible neighbours.They were mean, loud, listened to industrial techno at 3am in the morning, and revved their commodore for a good twenty minutes at 4am. Worst of all they had REALLY disturbing sex-bordering-on-murder at all other times. Visiting family and friends would stare at me with their mouths agape – certain that people were being murdered next-door.

  

Finally a solution that soon got the message across.

  

Cake.

  

Blasting ‘Nugget' off Cake's second album Fashion Nugget as loud as the speakers would permit, provided sufficient sound cover for guests and got the message across. The rockin' guitar, funky jazz trumpet, and soothing almost- droll spoken words of lead singer John McCrea, delivered a message as pure and simple as snow.

  

Cake's mixed-bake of non-rock sonic elements, jazz and country on their landmark album Fashion Nugget - featuring the cover ‘I Will Survive', and their smash hit ‘The Distance' - paved the way for three more studio albums, and gained this Californian band some fans in the unlikeliest of places.

  

If you don't already know of Cake, you've probably already unwittingly listened to their music. The band have gained plenty of pop-culture references over the years on TV shows, (‘Daria', ‘Chuck'), movies (‘Forgetting Sarah Marshal'), product ads (iPod Nano); and even Jay-Z has sampled the bands song "Arco Arena".

  

Seven years since their last album, the band are back to spread good cheer and happy feelings with their recognizable ‘vibraslap' and coy ‘moog synth'. Completely zen, trumpet player Vince DiFiore describes their latest studio offering Showroom of Compassion as his favourite Cake album yet.

  

Recording took place at the band's own solar electric powered studio in Sacramento, California over the last two and a half years, and was produced and engineered by the band themselves.

  

"On this album we're all singing - all of us together. And the one thing about our sound is that we're careful about not making electric guitar totally evil. We acknowledge that it is a force that can be used for good and evil. Sometimes we'll tame it with a trumpet, so (our) singer doesn't have to scream over everything."

  

"I like that the electric guitar came out nice and mean on this album. You know, electric guitar that isn't afraid to be an electric guitar."

  

Going strong for twenty years, Cake's belief that "everything is useful", seems to underpin their sound. To celebrate the release of their new album, the band worked on a DIY limited edition handmade book of their lyrics titled Bound Away.

  

"In making the book, we were involved in basically every little step of the process – it was great. We brought in all our old clothes, cotton t-shirts and jeans, and it all got made into a pulp for the pages."

  

"Being a touring band, we're one of the worst consumers of energy consumption. I guess if we truly cared about energy use, we'd dig a hole in the ground, and only emerge to harness a turnip and carrot from our small garden."

  

"We'd be like rabbits in burrows. But we're out there in a bus; and taking jets, and so we just needed to do something to contribute in whatever way we could."

  

"We put (solar) panels on the studio about five years ago, and the (new) album was recorded and rehearsed with solar energy."

  

Yes, the Cake boys are here to help make the world a better place. By daylight they create quality music, whilst also moonlighting as ‘agony aunts' to provide advice to query-some fans.

  

Feeling responsible for their fans, the environment, and the quality of their own music – the band have taken a DIY approach to everything that is Cake. They established their own label Upbeat Records in 2007, encourage fans to plant trees, and the band also take responsibility for most of their own promotion and management, even the album cover artwork…

  

"We are truly independent of record companies. Anything to do with how we present ourselves, what our music is, the bands image, any kind of press release, it comes from us… to anyone who wants to listen. [Lead singer] John has done most of the cover artwork for our albums."

  

"Because we (didn't) have a record company telling us to put out an album, I do believe that's why it took us so long on this record, because it wasn't mandatory that we put a record out."

  

"You know, we took our time, and made sure that we had something that we wanted to release – that was healthy. I recommend that to any band. Don't put out something because you HAVE to, put out something because you feel you have something to offer."

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