The Cactus Channel

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The Cactus Channel

The Cactus Channel aren’t exactly your typical bunch of young musos. As a 10-piece instrumental soul group from Melbourne, this band of ’90s kids have made a name for themselves over the past few years with their funky sound and soulful live performances. Despite their music being different and more old-school than what most of their generation is used to, The Cactus Channel have gained massive support since their formation in 2009 and are set to shake up the festival circuit this year.
Speaking about their upcoming performance at Ballarat’s Inca Roads Festival, bassist Henry Jenkins describes the experience as, “A good kind of different… You get exposed to a much larger audience. It’s a good vibe at festivals.”
You won’t find anything like The Cactus Channel on the Top 40 countdown. In fact, you might struggle to find music like the bands on any popular festival circuit, due in large part to the eclectic mix of genres that has influenced their music since the bands formation.
“Some of the guys in the band are more into hip hop, I was kind of into motown and stuff. The influences all kind of worked, and that’s why I think the sound is the way it is,” Henry says of their varying tastes in music.
“Although we didn’t all have the exact same influences, they kind of complimented each other.”
After the release of two critically acclaimed albums – the most recent being 2013’s Wooden Boy – and with new music scheduled for release this year, it’s easy to wonder if a group of 10 kids ever thought their musical hobby would follow them out of high school and propel them into such success. Evidently, Henry says the band did not begin as a means to get to where they are today.
“We were all a little bit too uncoordinated to play soccer or football or some shit like that, so we were just playing music together,” he says.
Although Henry says that the group can never really remember when they decided to take the band more seriously, he points to the time they were approached by their record label, HopeStreet Recordings, as the moment that it started to become more clear.
“When that happened we kind of realised that we could be a serious band as opposed to just being a bunch of kids playing music,” Henry says.
With their music gaining them immense popularity and success, it might be hard to believe that this group of kids have time to pursue other musical endeavours. However, this freedom to do their own thing is what makes The Cactus Channel so unique when they do form as one.
“We all have other musical projects, some people have other jobs and stuff, but that’s kind of what makes the band. We’re all from different backgrounds and have different interests and when we all come together we’re a band,” he says.
Ultimately, this 10-piece band of groove-loving, rhythmic musos are taking their success as it comes.
“Occasionally you just kind of realise this is ridiculous,” Henry says, “I get to play music that I write in my bedroom with my friends every weekend and people think it’s vaguely cool.”
And maybe that’s the wonder behind The Cactus Channel – knowing that they would still be making music even if nobody were listening at all.
When&Where: Inca Roads Music Festival, Greater Ballarat Region – March 20, 21 & 22
By Kara Ready