The Cactus Channel on working with Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromack and creating music with endless possibilities
Melbourne’s The Cactus Channel have been pushing the boundaries of soul music since they first formed back in high school.
After releasing two instrumental albums in 2015, the band collaborated with Nick Murphy (formerly Chet Faker) on a 7” single, signifying an exciting diversion into new musical territory. Now they present Do It For Nothing, an EP that features the unmistakable vocals of Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromack.
“That was a self-centered Google that ended up yielding results that I wasn’t expecting,” laughs Lewis Coleman, the band’s guitarist and vocalist. “I saw Ball Park Music at The Corner Hotel a couple of years ago and was ecstatic afterwards.
“For some reason I Googled our band name and Ball Park Music to see if they’d been mentioned anywhere. There was this interview with Sam where he listed artists he was listening to currently and we were one of them. We met up in Brisbane and we floated the idea of doing something together. I think he was keen to explore some other projects in the time he had before Ball Park Music started writing another album.”
The title of the EP, a curious oxymoron, has had a lot of people inquiring about its meaning. “It has a few potential meanings,” says Coleman. “No one’s really paying each other to do it for starters. It also has a DIY connotation to it because that’s how some of it came about through rehearsing and recording.”
The band were excited by the opportunity to go back in the studio and record, having spent some time focusing on other projects. “It’s been three and a half years since we put out the last album Wooden Boy,” says Coleman. “The stuff with Sam has given us an incentive to work on our own song based material; he was really helpful with structuring songs to make them cohesive.
“We’re recording an album this year with songs that I’m singing. With collaborating, the turnaround can take a while sometimes depending on what you do, so it’s nice to be able to try and source internally. We really want to work with more female musicians too, there’s so many that we can think of that we’d like to work with.”
The band have an unspoken dialogue with one another that Coleman admits may be intimidating to someone coming into the band. “We try and make it as two-minded as possible with the collaborator. While we have found it easier to navigate things among ourselves it can still be chaotic. When it comes to working with a collaborator, listening to them is the only way it works.”
As the band keeps evolving they’ve found more and more people discovering their music, along with a genre that can often sit outside the mainstream. “We think it’s great that there are people our age who are into it, or even just into the fact that we are doing something a little different. At the end of the day we want to make music where anything’s possible.”
By Holly Pereira
The Cactus Channel will team up with Sam Cromack at Howler on Thursday May 25, with support from New Venusians and Frida. Do It For Nothing is out on Friday April 21.