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CAKES are an emerging two-piece consisting of only two young Gold Coasters, Jake on guitar and vocal duties and Sam on drums. They’ve had a massive year of playing non-stop shows and winning over many crowds up the Queensland coast. They’re definitely making a name for themselves playing with WAAX and Tired Lion and continue to grow their following. Have a listen to the interview with Jake and Sam discussing the creation of CAKES, their latest EP ‘Prescription Bugs’, their carefully chosen karaoke banger and what they have in store for 2018.
RR: Jake and Sam, it’s Christian here from Rabbit Radio. How are we doing?
S: Good thanks man, how are you today?
RR: I’m good. Thanks for taking the time to chat today fellas. Where do we find the both of you at the moment?
S: We’re currently standing in Jake’s garage, drinking milo looking at the stars and a surfboard.
RR: Drinking Milo, warm or cold?
S: Oh warm for sure.
J: Warm dude, it’s the weather.
RR: How are you coping with the cold weather at the moment?
J: Yeah alright, I kind of get all stubborn. I just won’t wear a jumper really early in the morning at work just freezing and secretly I’m really cold.
RR: Are you guys together now to get set for the show with Tired Lion this Friday?
J: Yeah definitely, super keen very excited.
RR: Is it up there with one of the shows your most excited for? Not forgetting you recently opened for WAAX as well.
J: It came about so suddenly but I guess it’s kind of sinking in, like we didn’t realise how well known they are as a band. Until we did some research and were like holy shit this band is the real deal and obviously I’ve heard them on Triple J a bunch and always dug their songs so it’s really cool.
RR: You’ve both had a massive year so far and seem to be playing shows non-stop all over Queensland, can you give us a number of how many gigs you’ve already played in 2018?
S: I don’t know I’ve got an idea of how many songs we’ve played in the last twelve months. We’ve played close to sixty shows in the past year.
J: I don’t know how many in 2018, maybe between twenty and thirty.
S: Closer to twenty, possibly. Depending on how many weeks were in, we’re nearly half way through the year. It’s been very, very busy.
RR: You guys must love playing live then?
J: Yeah, it’s where it’s at for us. We like recording as well but playing so many shows you don’t really get time to record, then when you want to record a lot of bands don’t find time to play shows. We haven’t experienced that yet, but I’m sure we will.
RR: Well I did notice while you guys were recording ‘Prescription Bugs’ you were still playing shows, it’s like how are they doing this?
S: The thing with ‘Prescription Bugs’ is that we recorded it over like six months, so it’s like a mix tape. So we recorded ‘Break My Mode’ and ‘ILL’ and put those songs out before we even played shows and then we were just recording all the time and got to this point where were like we need to put something out so we just compiled seven or eight songs from over that time. It just shows the growth and progression of the band from where we started to a year past that point.
RR: Well I do want to touch on ‘Prescription Bugs’ later on however I did want to ask, when did you guys start CAKES?
J: We started CAKES, in what was it April last year. Pretty much a year ago.
RR: Wow and considering how many shows and these releases already, you guys are doing a pretty good job.
J: We were blown away at like how many shows we started getting asked to play, we we’re kind of expecting to have to book our own. I think just having those recordings out there allowed us to show what we’re like and wanted us to play.
RR: Can you tell us how you both came together to start the duo?
S: We’ll do the too long, don’t read version because it’s a very convoluted story about how Jake and I know each other and got to play in a band. We were playing in a band, still do play in a band called Ten Thousand Taipans and we started doing that three or four months before CAKES started. My main band wasn’t doing anything anymore, Jakes’ drummer and his main band weren’t doing anything anymore, his drummer moved to do other things. Anyway, Jake and I were like lets just do our own thing.
J: The weird thing about it was conversation we had because we didn’t know each other super well at this point, we just knew each other through people and obviously we were friends but we weren’t like super tight. We pretty much messaged each other at the same time with the idea of starting a two piece, like we both had the exact same thought on the same day and was just like “Wow, that nuts I was about ask you the exact same thing”. It was just kind of meant to be because we both had each other in mind for that kind of thing.
RR: Did you have an idea of your sound before you got together?
J: We did discuss it; we wanted to do something really abstract and really repetitive and rhythmic.
S: I originally wanted there be a trumpet or saxophone and like drums and guitar, so something a little strange but probably for the better.
J: We started structuring stuff and started to realise we could write some pretty good songs and not just why on monotonous sound but we still incorporate that into our live sets I think.
RR: Touching on your sound, you have a very intricate, heavy sound as you’ve probably heard me say before. What would you describe your sound as? You can use a genre if need be, what would you describe the CAKES sound as?
J: Somewhere between Alt-Rock and Metal, not vocally. Like sometimes we play some riffs and like that “That’s Metal” and do like secret fucking horns (laughs). It depends how hard our day was at work to how Metal it gets (laughs).
S: I’m sure you’ll understand when you’re feeling quite stressed out just some Meshuggah or heavy Opeth really calms you down.
RR: Meshuggah does a very good job at doing that.
S: Yeah, I was trying to explain to someone the other day and just didn’t get through unfortunately. We entertained the idea for about two days of the title Groove-Punk. Jake and I love groove so there’s lots of groovy stuff and it’s quite important when you’re literally just a rhythm section so really heavy grooves, fast shit and jams.
RR:I guess that’s the beauty of being a two-piece as well, that you both have that freedom to do that and doing whatever the hell you want to do.
J: Yeah exactly, you don’t have to negotiate with a third member. Like “This is the riff it’s an A here, Sam plays drums and I do all the riffs”, it just cuts straight the chase when we jam.
RR: It’s difficult to pin point your influences, I can only name a few. Who are you influenced by as a group or individually?
J: We probably listen to quite a bit of different music between us, but I guess we both have some common interests.
S: There are bands like Die! Die! Die!, Drive Like Jehu. Krautrock bands like Neu!, At The Drive In, Tool, Meshuggah. I don’t know man.
J: Deftones, you just listen to them and like “Oh, that’s where Jake gets that from”.
S: That’s our joint influences, Jake and I listen to a lot of different music. Some of my favourite bands ever are pop bands like XTC, Kirin J Callinan he’s just a fucking god, what an angel. Jake loves Death Grips.
J: I’m a huge Death Grips fan, I listen to a lot of electronic music. So like Death Grips, TOBACCO and The Prodigy I’ve always been a huge Prodigy fan.
RR: Now that you mention that, I can actually hear that influence.
J: Oh sweet (laughs)
S: I hear the Prodigy thing, just the relentless constant rhythm. Just lots and lots of stuff man. I bought record that’s like made by the ABC in the 90’s and it’s called ‘Tickle Me, Ickle Me’ or ‘Tickle Me, Tickle Me, Tickle Me Two’ or something it’s just absolute nonsense. Its just ramblings.
RR: Going back to August last year you released the Break My Mode/ILL split single, were those the first two songs you wrote together?
J: Well with ‘Break My Mode’ was kind of crazy because I think it’s our most popular song but it’s probably the song we spent the least amount of time on. So basically we’ve got this jam room down in Burleigh and that night were like “We should setup some recording equipment and just track a song”. We’d only jammed ‘Break My Mode’ on electric drum kit and guitar through a mixer, so we never actually jammed it loud and decided to record it the next day. The one we released is exactly what we recorded that day, it all just came together perfectly and it just sounded way better than what we thought it would. We kind of like “Yeah let’s record and might want to put it out but it’s kind of like our first song, might be a demo and we put it out”. It got some traction, which was really cool.
RR: Especially with ‘ILL’, that’s an absolute track as well. Jesus Christ (laughs). January 2018 you released ‘Prescription Bugs’; it’s an EP isn’t it?
J: Yeah, it is.
RR: How did you feel having that out already, having two releases so early in your career?
J: I guess we kind of just thank each other because were both very driven people, there’s no weak link I guess. We both just want to keep moving so we’ve got that high expectation. Obviously we’re stoked we’ve put out music this quickly in a year, but at the same time we just want to keep doing more, doing bigger and doing better which I think is important.
RR: You’ve been flat out since it’s release and as you said playing more and more shows with bigger people, have you noticed an increase of people rocking up at the shows and does it affect your performance at all?
S: It’s actually really interesting man, this isn’t meant to sound arrogant or anything like that. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed and sort of freaks me out in a way, it’s a very insignificant thing but I went out to go have a cigarette after we played at Shark Bar with Amyl or WAAX a couple weeks ago. I heard someone saying something about my band, it was a positive thing and I was like “Wow, I’ve never seen that person or the people they’re with” and I think those people were interested in coming out to watch us perform. When you realise that it freaks you out.
J: I think it’s really good when people are stoked that you’re the opener. When people are like “Who the fuck was that band?” and you played first that’s a super good show and if you get those compliments after the show, I reckon that’s the best compliment. I think the more people at a show, the better we play. I found at shows we’re we had an expectation there would be a lot of people and they’re quiet, we kind of don’t enjoy ourselves as much. You feed off a crowd I guess.
RR: Going back to the recording, did you record ‘Prescription Bugs’ yourselves?
J: Yeah we did.
S: Jake has a lot of cool things and the skill set required. So we’ll write songs and record them in a day, it’s that easy and it’s very simple, it’s organic, its fun and cost effective.
J: In this day and age I think it’s important to do as much as you can yourself. You don’t get as much return I guess for your product. If you’re able to do it for free then that’s awesome.
RR: That takes place in your shed Jake, is that right?
J: Yeah we recorded ‘Prescription Bugs’, we’re in a bigger jam room now but we recorded it what was like a 2 x 3 room. I was standing right next to his (Sam) ride symbol the entire time. Just like the tinniest room, people look our room that are musicians they’re just like “How the fuck did you do that in there?” (Laughs)
RR: How was the process of capturing your sound recording the EP? Because there’s a lot going on especially Sam thrashing away at the drums and Jake your guitar tones. How did you manage capturing all that?
J: Well we kind of like multi tracked it, so we played it live and I used a lot of those guitars that we did live. I pulled better tones because I was able to have the amps louder, if you do that in the room it was just go through all the drum mics. There was drum leads coming into guitar mics so I had to redo a lot of stuff that was cool but I was able to get some better guitar tones and fatter bass tones and I was buying new pedals at the time. But we were still in the middle of shaping our sound working out like what symbols and where this snare works better so different songs have different symbol setups I think. Different snares, different kick, different amps it all kind of happened very organically we just got different gear an ended up recording with that.
S: That’s what I explaining before about when you asked the question having time to record and play shows. What Jake just said is the result of us recording over the course of like nine months, we haven’t sat down and gone “Let’s record six tracks over the course of two months and not play any shows”.
J: We’d write a new song and be like “We should record that and put it on the EP and just keep adding songs”. At one point we had ten songs and had to cut it down to seven, otherwise it would be an album and we didn’t want it to be an album (laughs).
RR: Is there a reason you didn’t want it to be an album?
J: Well I think because the songs sound very different and the recording process is very different. It doesn’t sound linear as far as production and I wouldn’t want our first album to kind of sound like that I guess. I’d want our first album to have some kind of like concept or like some overriding sound where everything sounds similar, it’s been mastered the same and everything is at the exact same volume. Like some of those tracks are louder than other tracks, just because we just wanted to get it out I guess.
RR: Well you’ve definitely nailed exactly what you just said; you’ve made some great points for other band as well. Individually can you tell us what your favourite song to play live is and why?
J: At the moment it changes but ‘Octopus’ is always real fun.
S: ‘Octopus’ is fun.
J: ‘ILL’ is fun.
S: ‘ILL’ is one of my favourite songs to play and it’s completely different to how it’s tracked on the EP. It’s a much longer song now, it’s like a six minute song now. I don’t know my favourite songs to play live are ‘ILL’, ‘Octopus’ and Jake and I were talking before we have a new song called ‘Public Fish’ that we just put a live clip up of, it’s sort of like a big, long song. It’s just really fun man, it’s really, really fun.
J: Has lots of different parts.
RR: Is that the one you guys put up at The Zoo?
J: That song is really fun to play because there’s a lot to think about I guess.
RR: I guess we’ll be saying that one in the live shows from now on?
J: Yep, it’s definitely one that will stick around.
RR: Well guys I got to get into the serious stuff now if you don’t mind. If you were to swap roles to close a sold out show, what cover song do you think you could pull off?
S: Oh we actually spoken about this, does Jake have to play drums and I play guitar?
RR: That’s right you have to swap roles
J: Ok that is actually slightly do able (laughs).
S: We could do like a bunch of stuff.
J: I’d actually love to do, it would be hard. I would love to do ‘Making Plans For Nigel’.
S: Dude, I knew you were going to say that! (laughs).
J: It’s not a super complicated song. You could totally sing it.
S: ‘Making Plans For Nigel’ by XTC.
RR: There you go, keep it pop?
S: That’s a do able one. There’s many we’d like to do, but if I was to play guitar and Jake could play drums to a lot but I can’t play guitar to many songs that aren’t mine.
RR: How are you guys at karaoke?
J: It’s funny because we did karaoke with a room full of musicians and it was some of the worst karaoke I’ve heard. Everyone was just yelling, I was doing Justin Bieber like Death Grips style.
S: I like karaoke if I’m with the right people and only for like a couple of songs otherwise it starts to freak me out. I’m going to be completely honest with you man, I’m bit of a party pooper.
J: I can do karaoke for six to eight hours straight
RR: Well this is the moment on CAKES, it’s the moment on you guys. The bar is pumping you’re the last ones of the night, everyone wants a real banger and you need to perform it together. What song is it?
J: What’s that Kirin like Brokeback Mountain song?
S: Oh, ‘Big Enough’ with Jimmy Barnes.
J: I mean there’s no way I could pull of the Barnsey part, we’re going to have to sample him in there.
RR: Someone’s going to have to put their hand up?
S: I reckon Jake could do it. Jake does some funny high stuff with his voice, he’d get closer to Barnes scream (laughs).
RR: Look Jake you’ve put your hand up, that’s it your Barnsey. You’ve got to do it.
J: Alright I’ll do it, I’ll never have a voice again but it will be so worth it.
RR: Which 90’s band would you prefer to collaborate with, Limp Bizkit or Creed and why?
J: Limp Bizkit
S: Limp Bizkit, they just got more integrity man. More of an original band, as much as I’m not a massive fan of Limp Bizkit. Also Creed are very, very preachy.
J: I’m a secret Limp Bizkit fan, so I’m going to say Limp Bizkit.
RR: Did you happen to see them while they were out at all?
J: I saw them when they played at Soundwave, I had a dislocated shoulder and I was trying to survive theirs and Slipknot’s set. It was stressing me out.
RR: Bit of bad luck there?
J: I grew up listening to that band, I think the guitarist is kind of someone I’d definitely be influenced by. He’s plays a jazz chorus, uses lots of delay, he likes masks and shit. I like dressing up; he’s just my dude (laughs).
RR: We’ll lock in Limp Bizkit and tell Creed to piss of then.
S: Creed can walk.
RR: Thanks for getting the serious stuff out of the way, lastly what’s in store for CAKES in 2018?
J: We’re going to do another two-track, pretty much the same as ‘Break My Mode/ILL’, so we’ll get that prepped. We’re going to get ‘Prescription Bugs Pt 2’ done, we’ll do a launch for that probably. I guess we’ll keep playing a lot of shows. Won’t stop the train.
RR: Are we going to see ‘Octopus’ and ‘Elite’ recorded any time soon?
S: We have a version of ‘Elite’ but it doesn’t have the ending.
J: ‘Elite’ has this insane ending that we didn’t end up recording. It’s funny we’ve got some friends that want to make a film clip for ‘Elite’ at some point, so maybe we will have to do it.
RR: You’re going to have to do it sorry; I’m putting my vote in for that one as well.
S: Nah we want too, it’d be good.
J: We might do it as a little secret and just put it out somewhere.
S: What band did it, like Oasis or something like that you could listen to the single first if you called a hotline and you listen to it through your phone. So we’re going to do it like that.
J: I think Death Grips did that, but the song lyrics were just “We upload trash”
S: Actually it’s cool we want to put a song out on physical so you have to come and get it.
J: It’s something we’ve done before, we did like this CD called ‘Scones’ and like CAKES and scones. All those tracks aren’t available anyway except for on CD’s.
S: They’re all old demos, the original ‘Prescription Bugs’ I think is on there.
J: Then we heard people were sharing them, which is really funny (laughs). It’s really old school, someone was talking to us at a show and they’re like “I got a hold of your ‘Scones’ CD, I really like that song called ‘Filtered’, I borrowed it off someone else”. I was like, “Wow, that’s crazy” (laughs).
RR: Well Jake and Sam, thank you so much for taking time to chat with me tonight. You guys are really standing out in the Queensland scene and I’m really looking forward to what you have store in 2018. Good luck this weekend as well!
J: Thanks dude.
S: Thanks man, see ya.
lennoxgroove [at] gmail.com for all press releases and news.
nath [at] lennoxgroove.com for all artist management and bookings requests.
ben [at] lennoxgroove.com for all music submissions.