“When we come back (to Australia), we’re losers again!” So quips Xavier Bacash, who, along with Lionel Towers, is one half of dynamic new Australian duo Gypsy And The Cat. Forming less than three years ago in Melbourne, these two former DJs recently relocated their project to London, where there exists a far greater demand, and scene for their brand of electronic – but still organic, dark and atmospheric – pop.
“When we come back (to Australia), we’re losers again!” So quips Xavier Bacash, who, along with Lionel Towers, is one half of dynamic new Australian duo Gypsy And The Cat. Forming less than three years ago in Melbourne, these two former DJs recently relocated their project to London, where there exists a far greater demand, and scene for their brand of electronic – but still organic, dark and atmospheric – pop. “We live in London because our record label is there,” he states, “so it makes sense I guess… It makes it a lot easier; like if you get playlisted on BBC Radio One, within a week you can move a million records really.”
On an Australian level, it was Australian nationwide broadcaster Triple J that initially gave the band the leg up they needed nationally, and things seem to have fallen very neatly into place for them since. From the outside looking in, that is.
“We met as DJs,” Bacash recalls of their brief, but quite dramatic history, “and we just became friends. I was working on stuff on my own, and Lionel was working with someone else. So we decided to start writing dance music together, which wasn’t awesome, but it was ok. Lionel’s a classically trained pianist, and he started teaching me the piano. I played drums at school and I picked up the guitar as well. We’d never written a song before, pop songs, just loops basically.
“So we just started writing songs, and we got this one song that was like, the ‘starter’, I guess, and we said ‘We might have something here’. That was early 2008, and about halfway through 2008 we found out that we had something, but we both weren’t that interested at the time. Lionel was focused on something else, and I was doing my own thing still.
“It was all nice, really,” he continues, “we just said ‘Let’s do an album’, so we did it. And then I went to India and Lionel put the last stages on it. Then when I got back he had all these record labels coming to meet him, and managers. We signed a management deal, and EMI flew us to England and America, New York and LA. We met with them, and then we didn’t sign with them!” he laughs, “Because of their financial situation right now. They were awesome people, they were really great. But we went back to England and signed to RCA, put a band together and now we’re a couple of tours down. And here I am, lying in my bed in Camberwell, listening to the rain pattering on the roof!”
Despite the relocation to the UK, the guys have returned to Australia for a lengthy string of live dates, including Pyramid Rock Festival on New Years Eve, the Big Day Out and some of their own headlining shows. Things have progressed ridiculously quickly for G&TC, and they’re champing at the bit to play their home country again, “yeah we can’t wait really,” Xavier enthuses. “Big Day Out will be great, and The Hot BBQ,” he says of the Portsea music festival they’re also playing in late January.
“It’s weird,” he says, on how quick their rise has been, “we were chucked in the deep end really, but that’s all been for the better. We get booked for the main stages now (on festivals). We can play live at that level – do Parklife, support The Strokes. It’s been a whirlwind. Sometimes I think I’m going to wake up like an old man in my band, upright, going ‘fuck! What’s going on?’”
Another bonus for live punters is that Gypsy And The Cat take a full live band on the road with them when they tour, despite the fact that they’re essentially a duo, and much of their sound is electronic based. So their show will have live band energy and vibe, as opposed to that scourge of electronic acts – of having guys up on stage looking like they’re checking email rather than playing live music, as can be the case in many electronic music gigs. “Yeah we’ve got a bass player and a drummer,” he says,” who accompany us live. It’s a whole band.” Set expectations to ‘fun’, then.
GYPSY & THE CAT play the PYRAMID ROCK FESTIVAL with N*E*R*D, The Temper Trap, Arrested Development and heaps more on Phillip Island over December 30-January 1 – tickets and info from thepyramidrockfestival.com.
They also play HOT BBQ in Point Nepean on January 22 alongside Mos Def, Roger Sanchez, Hoodoo Gurus, Bluejuice and heaps more – tickets and info from ticketmaster.com.au and hotbarbecue.com.au. They also appear at the sold out BIG DAY OUT with Tool, Rammstein, Iggy And The Stooges, MIA, Lupe Fiasco and heaps more at Flemington Racecourse on Sunday January 30. For info on ticket ballots check out bigdayout.com. GYPSY & THE CAT’s debut album Gilgamesh is out now through Sony.