If you haven’t heard of Whoopie Cat you must have been living under a rock recently because the hype and love for this Melbourne 5 piece heavy blues rock band is massive! They are about to kick off their ‘Gentle Goodbye’ tour tonight in Melbourne and are part of the epic line up for Mojo Burning (brought to you by the legends at Beats Cartel) this year, plus they just released a new film clip. With plenty to chat about, GC Live talked with frontman Dan Smoo recently about all these things and more!
Let’s start at the beginning; when did Whoopie Cat first get together?
“It was 2009 maybe, we were just finishing High School, so I was probably in year 11 when I met Jesse who is our lead guitarist. I had known Josh, the bassist since I was like 12, we met in year 7 and Jaksen is Jesse’s younger brother. So we started jamming with Jesse and Jaksen probably about 2009, we were in like a pop punk band called Bad Repeat and we did that for a few years. We broke up and then when we got back together, I sort of had this different idea for us. I wanted to make more old school music and then we all just started jamming again. We got Jo who is our keyboardist who is Jaksen’s girlfriend, we got her in the mix and started writing an EP that year and started recording.”
Where did the name Whoopie Cat come from?
“There is a Led Zeppelin song called Misty Mountain Hop I think they say ‘Would we care’ but it sounds like they say ‘Hey now Whoopie Cat’ and when we heard it we were like “that’s it! That’s the band name”
Whoopie Cat are about to kick off on your ‘Gentle Goodbye’ Tour in Melbourne this weekend, you must be keen to begin the tour?
“Yeah, it is sort of a bit surreal at this point, I am pretty excited for everything. I am keen as to play the Spotted Mallard, we have played there before but we haven’t sort of put on a show like this there, it is a mad venue. I am excited to hit up the Gold Coast and Sydney cos I have been to the Gold Coast when I was a kid but I have never actually played a gig there.”
Part of your tour includes Brisbane’s big Mojo Burning Festival. Stoked to see you guys on the line up! You must be looking forward to playing Mojo?
“Yeah, it is insane! Especially for how high up on the line up we are as well. It is our first festival we have ever played. We are absolutely stoked, playing with The Vasco Era and 1000mods and all the other bands. It is just insane.”
What bands are you super keen to see and play alongside?
“I am really keen to see The Vasco Era, they are a band that is just crazy. They are such a cool sort of a band. But 1000mods as well, I mean they played stadium shows over in Greece, it is insane! So, I am keen to see what they bring over here. I just noticed the other day, Creek is playing and we actually played our first live venue show was opening for Creek. I still have the poster on my wall and when I saw they were playing I was like ‘Get the fuck out! I will have to say hi!’. We are doing a side show at Vinnies Dive on the Gold Coast with Stoker. The Desert Sea is another band we want to catch, they are on our label as well. There are so many bands on the bill, I am so keen to get there from the beginning and soak it all in.”
You guys are booked by Little Wing Agency, I am a huge fan of them and what they do, what is it like being a part of the Little Wing family? You are in good company there alongside Stoker, The Desert Sea, Patient Lounge, etc?
“Yeah, Damien (Damien Brown – Booking agent for Little Wing Agency) and Liz (Elizabeth Sharpe of Ummagummamumma – Live Music Photography) are just the most awesome people. They are not just helping us out on a business level, but for Mojo, we are staying up at Liz’s house, so she is going to take the whole band and all our partners and stuff! *laughs* I have never known someone who is like ‘Oh yeah I am going to book all these shows for you for you and then also come and stay at my house!’ They are just amazing people. We need more people like them. There are too many people sharking each other in this world, we need more fucking love in this world!”
You have just released a new clip for your song Gentle Goodbye, can you tell me some more about the clip, the concept for it and about the song itself?
“So we hired one of our long-time friends, Michael Hales who is studying film and he sort of came to us with a concept. We had actually filmed the clip already, with a completely different concept but because we had thrown it together fairly quickly, it looked a bit amateur. So we decided to get a professional in to do it and he came up with the idea and we loved it. It is sort of based on Plato’s Cave, like an old story where basically this guy is in this cave, inside the cave is dark and horrible and he is chained to the wall. He gets let out of the cave, when he gets let out of the cave, he sees the beauty of the world, then he goes back into the cave to tell everyone to get out and see the beauty of the world. But because he went back into the cave and wasn’t out appreciating the beauty of the world again, he just stayed in the cave. So, it is our sort of take on that and the negativity of the world and how sometimes we focus on that rather than seeing the positives. I wrote the song just before we started recording the album, I was at this point where I was really happy because I had just got out of this really negative point in my life. I realised that the world was just this place where everything is sort of bought already and it is owned, and you are sort of a slave to that. So, I sort of hit this point where I had a lot of stuff going on in my life and I was a bit over it all, I didn’t want to be here, I hated the world. I came back from that and you sort of realise that all that negativity is just you. You can sit in it and you can dwell in it and you don’t enjoy it, you can be in that or you can try and focus on something and try and put something into your life. So, it was sort of based on my own experience.”
Whoopie Cat have got a lot of hype going on right now with a lot of people referring to you as ‘the next big thing’, How does that make you feel?
*laughs* “Good man! Like that’s the dream! That’s 100% the dream. When we started this band it was always, because we are big believers in positive affirmation and drawing things towards you, rather than just sort of riding it out so from the star we were like ‘We are going to take over this world’ So when we hear people saying we are the next big thing, it is good, it means we are doing the right thing. It is crazy to hear people talk about us like that, I am still used to my Mum coming to every show man” *laughs*
So what’s next for Whoopie Cat? After the tour is done and the dust has settled from that a little bit, what’s next on the cards?
“I think the plan for this year is to do the tour and then we are going to try and do at least one headline show either in Melbourne or in Sydney each month. Then I want to go to Europe ASAP. The craziest thing is, we seem to have more fans internationally than we do in Australia. So I am excited to get over there, but we want to build things up in Australia first.”
Trust me on this one music fans, you need to catch Whoopie Cat on this tour! Tour dates and venues listed below:
Friday March 9th – Spotted Mallard – Melbourne – Tickets HERE.
Friday March 15th – The Hamilton Station Hotel – Newcastle
Saturday March 16th – Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice – Sydney
Friday April 5th – Vinnie’s Dive – Gold Coast
Saturday April 6th – Mojo Burning Festival – Hamilton Hotel – Brisbane – Tickets HERE.
Sunday April 7th – The Workers Club – Geelong – Tickets HERE.
Saturday April 13th – Bombay Rock 303 – Melbourne
Sunday April 14th – Young Street Supper Club – Frankston
Follow Whoopie Cat on FaceBook HERE.
Interview by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer.