More than 20 years have passed since Cake first formed in 1991.
For frontman John McCrea, making it through “spanning decades” was the last thing on the band’s mind.
“We were just driving around in our van up and down the west coast of California, just doing our thing. We didn’t have any grandiose ideas about spanning decades,” he says. “It is interesting to me now how disposable music is and how disposable bands are and how easily they’re discarded by the fickle whimsy of the public.”
Recently releasing their sixth studio album, ‘Showroom Of Compassion’, Cake seem to have avoided the public’s “fickle whimsy”. So what’s their secret? “We tried to pace ourselves, which helped not to destroy ourselves from within. I think one of the problems with the music industry is that it’s imperative to capitalise on any success and run bands ragged with touring. It’s understandable though, because success is so rare in the music business that it is literally easier to get struck by lightning. I also think it’s helped that we never became all that huge. I think our failure to have explosive success has actually contributed to our longevity.”
With longevity has come power and independence, allowing Cake to release their latest album on their own label, Upbeat Records, while recording in their very own, solar-powered, uber-energy efficient studio. “It was part of an overall inclination on our part to become more self-reliant,” McCrea explains. “We’d had bad experiences with labels and having to give up power over our destiny, so being autonomous certainly made sense to us. Over the years we’ve all become more confident in our contribution to the band, so this time we had the good fortune of having a lot more musical ideas brought to the table.”
So does this mean another album is on the cards? “I’m asking myself that same question,” he laughs.”We proved something to ourselves releasing this album on our own label. We’ll keep writing, and if it seems like the right thing to do, we’ll release another album. But hey, who knows?”
Cake join Beck, Sigur Ros and more when Harvest lands at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens November 18. harvestfestival.com.au