Sassy, sexy and bangin’: Brisbane-based party-starters CC The Cat deliver a mash up of roots styles with an earthy honesty and an uplifting feeling, fronted by enigmatic songstress Claire Cottone. The band’s fourth studio release, reggae-dub exploration Free Spirit which was recorded in Ubud, Bali, comes out this July.
CC is one of the hardest working cats in the industry having toured and performed throughout Australia and overseas for more than a decade, both as a solo singer songwriter and with the band in its various formations.
Early in 2015, frontwoman CC started developing long-held dreams to record an album in Ubud, Bali, a place that she had been inspired by since first travelling there in 2011. “I loved the spiritual essence of Bali from the first time I went there, the simple happiness of the people and the beauty of the landscape and the architecture… I wanted to capture that in a musical format”, CC said.
The band had written and arranged a bunch of uplifting spiritual-inspired reggae tracks and it seemed all to perfect a place to record them.
“An international recording project seemed a little out of reach, but I threw the idea out to the band and they were all super keen and willing to pay their own flights to pitch in. I googled Bali studios and serendipitously came across a producer, Benjamin Last, who worked between Ubud and Mullumbimby (where I was living at the time), and had worked with some great artists who I knew. I made contact with him and on our first meeting it was clear we had a special connection and our crazy plans began! This connection grew into beautiful working relationship, we went through a lot together as we worked on the music in Bali and back home, and finally with much perserverence, we got our finished product, which we love.”
To help fund the venture, the band launched their second crowd-funding campaign which met its $12,000 target a week before they were due to leave for Ubud. “It was a leap of faith,” recalls CC. “But when it comes to creative risks, I live by the saying: Leap, and the net shall appear. And again it did.”
The band flew to Ubud and laid down the album beds over ten days in a studio overlooking some stunning Balinese jungle which inspired a strong dub influence in the production and a spirited performance by all the players. The band overcame a number of hurdles along the way but Bali worked its magic on Free Spirit. CC and Ben then worked for another 8 months from the home studio in Mullumbimby sorting through Bali takes, adding more layers, and finishing the final mix.
In typical CC style, Free Spirit features songs about love, loss, freedom, spiritual growth and political awareness. This is the most collaborative of all the CC The Cat albums, with writing contributions from frontwoman CC, all members of CC The Cat, Grim Tilla (guitarist and producer based in Alice Springs), Paulie B (George, The Beautiful Girls) and Sunjay Jude (Dubmarine).
CC the Cat have toured Australia extensively over the past ten years, and have independently produced three previous albums including 2013’s AIRIT chart-topper Songs From the Sea and 2010’s Inna Babylon Jungle, which was reviewed by Rave Mag to be “one of the best Australian reggae albums” of all time.
Songs from the Sea, produced by Brisbane’s foremost reggae producer Paulie B, was created off the back of a successful crowd-funding campaign which raised $10,000. Its lead singles sat in the top ten nationally in Airit for two months and hit #1 at Brisbane’s 4ZzZFM, as well as taking out Best Reggae Track at the North Coast Entertainment Industry Dolphin Awards 2014.
CC the Cat have played main stages at Woodford Folk Festival, Island Vibe Festival, Nannup Festival, Falls Festival, Mullum Music Festival, Earth Freq, Mardi Grass, Parklife and regularly touring the East Coast from FNQ to Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
The EP Free Spirit comes out out in July 2016 with a run of East Coast shows.