When a group of high school friends were drawn together by a shared interest in music, The Cactus Channel would quickly come to be; especially when an all-new and much more desirable way to spend lunch time was discovered.
“There was a genuine common interest in that style of music. In high school, we were interested in finding out more about that style of music, rather than us all being like strong aficionados of soul and funk at a young age,” says Lewis Coleman, guitarist and recent vocalist of The Cactus Channel. “We’d play at lunch time, because we had nothing else better to do… It was 50 per cent music and 50 per cent just hanging out with a group of friends.”
The curious naming of the band stemmed from a comment taken from a friend, of a friend, explains Lewis. “There was this hollowed out TV in the backyard at Henry’s house and he saw Cactus’ in it. Then some friend pointed out that that would be a good band name.”
“It was purely year ten logic that has stuck – and it’s too late to change now,” he laughs.
Previously a purely instrumental collective, The Cactus Channel have recently come off the back of recording their anticipated EP, Do It for Nothing, which featured collaboration with Ball Park Music front man, Sam Cromack.
“Lyrically, [the EP] is a lot more literal with what the feeling is trying to convey,” says Coleman, “Musically, we were just trying to leave space for that [the feeling] where it was needed. And it was something that we hadn’t fully delved into with Cactus Channel before because it’s been purely instrumental for a long time.”
During their time spent in collaboration with Cromack, Coleman explains that he simply came to feel like another member of the band. “We clicked pretty easily and we’re now good friends with him. His pop-song writing skills kind of made our songs more succinct. But in saying that, he definitely didn’t want to make it super plain. I guess he wanted it to be an exploration for himself and to make use of the things he liked about our band and our style.”
Do It for Nothing was the first recorded work released by the nonet since 2013. With a production process of roughly one year, the EP – recorded by HopeStreet Recordings – has come as the first sign of more time to be spent in cactus country, with an upcoming string of shows set for the band, as well as word of a full album release.
“It was a bit of a long process… but there’s a full album on the way – we’ve just gotten that mastered, so that’ll be out later in the year,” he says, “We’ve also got a bunch of shows in and around Melbourne coming up towards the end of the year, which is good and should be fun.”
The Cactus Channel will also be making an appearance at the upcoming Kyneton Music Festival amidst all this.
“We as a band haven’t played at the Kyneton Music Festival, but me and our bass player played there last year with an artist called Mojo Juju, so we’ve been there before and it was good vibes. A bunch of great bands played… and we had pizza,” he giggles, “So we’re looking forward to going back with the band.”
“My nana lives near Kyneton too, so maybe I’ll stop past there on the way and say hi, or maybe she can come to the gig!”
When & Where: Kyneton Music Festival, Kyneton – October 21
Written by Helena Metzke