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Interview: Xavier Bacash from ‘Gypsy & The Cat’

Gypsy And The Cat

Melbourne duo Gypsy & The Cat have been making waves in the music industry since their debut release ‘Gilgamesh’ in 2010. Their latest single I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else is shaping up to be the ultimate anthem of yearning for something different. We chatted to one half of the band, Xavier Bacash, about their newly-released single and upcoming album.

For the uninitiated, how would you describe your sound?

Ooh (laughs) it’s always changing. But I guess the essentials are basically a backdrop of electronic sound, synth pads, electronic lead lines. It’s an electronic base with acoustic instruments like piano and guitars over the top, and then dance drums under it. So it’s a kind of dance music.

So it’s a mix of the synthetic and the acoustic?

Yeah, and there’s the falsetto vocals, the Bee Gees kind of vocals. I think it’s those three elements of the electronic, the acoustic, and that kind of three-part harmony in the vocals, that’s what characterises the sound.

We’ve really enjoyed watching the video for your single I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else. What made you decide on Japan? We saw you go there in your last single Inside Your Mind, so what made you follow that concept?

My observation of Japan is that people are quite distant from each other in their everyday life. They walk around, always quiet and respectful of each other, but they don’t interact that much. And the video is a reflection of that. The way people, people all over the world, just walk past each other every day. And we’re all out to do the same thing, with our families, in our lives, whatever. We’re very insular and confined to our own friendship groups and families. We’re like islands to each other. Just the general masses. And I think Japan illustrates that the best, and the backdrop is so interesting. We felt that doing a two-part video series there would be more interesting than doing a video in Australia, it would reflect the story of the album.

You mentioned people behaving like islands, really insular and separate from each other. Is that the inspiration for the title of your upcoming album ‘Virtual Islands’?

Yeah, definitely. And that comes out in the video as well. The golf course is the best example of it. Our director came up with that idea. There’s a hundred people standing beside each other, very close together, but they’re almost in completely different worlds to each other. They’ve got their own stories but they’re so apart. It’s almost bizarre. You can see it on the trains over there in rush hour. People squashed into train, coming back from work. They have careers, jobs, lives, homes, and families, but there’s still this strange disconnection. And that’s familiar to me, because you see it back home in Melbourne. It’s everywhere. That’s what influenced the album title.

We’ve seen a return of the giant cat head the first appeared in your last video, Inside Your Mind. What’s the story there?

I think the answer’s in the title: I Just Wanna Be Somebody Else. We sort of introduced him in the first video to make it a bit of fun. But then the cat head and its introduction into the storyline became about being somebody else, and that fits in best with this second film clip. We found this artist who made the head. He’s a professor actually. We emailed him and asked if we could borrow it. It’s just really weird. It’s uncanny how much it looks like an actual cat.

Yeah, it’s pretty convincing.

Oh, it’s so spooky! So we thought it would give it a cool edge and fit with the title and theme of the song.

‘Virtual Islands’ is set for release in August. What do you think people should know about it? We’ve had a taste with the singles you’ve released, but what’s the vibe of the album itself?

I think it’s the best album that we’ve done. Our second record (‘The Late Blue’) was a strong album in the sense of its creativity and its movement in a direction away from the first record (‘Gilgamesh’). ‘Gilgamesh’ had strong songs, catchy pop songs. But this record is the best effort we’ve made of writing interesting, fresh music that’s also accessible for people. The first record was accessible, the second was one that you really had to sit with.

We liked the idea of writing those songs that you listen to, and after a certain period of time you hear more moments in the song. It’s like a Wes Anderson film. You might see things on the third watch that you didn’t see before and they make the film a more interesting experience. This record has different pockets and it makes it very special. It took four years to write, so I think the work itself is very strong. It reflects the effort that we gave to it. It wasn’t rushed at all, and it’s very considered and balanced. I think it would be a good record to listen to from start to finish because of that.

So you’ve put a lot of effort into creating a story there?

Yes, definitely. It’s important.

You’ve got a show next month in Melbourne. Are there any other shows planned this year? We’d love to get you up to Brisbane!

(Laughs) Well, we’ll do an album tour around the time it comes out. But I don’t think I should give much more away.

What can people expect from your live performances? Do you put on a good show?

Well…it’s very energetic (laughs). There’s lots of electronic music on this album, so there’s more of a tempo and it’s a bit more of a party than it has been in the past. It’s a good mix of the old tracks and the new tracks. The whole package.

Gypsy and the Cat’s album ‘Virtual Islands’ is due for release in August. Check out their new video I just Wanna Be Somebody Else below!

Gypsy & The Cat Live Dates

Melbourne Public, Melbourne

Tickets HERE