Cabbage have had an interesting 2017 so far. Even by the tumultuous and unpredictable standards of the modern-day music industry, their journey on the rock ‘n roll rollercoaster has been something to behold.
In this time, they have released their acclaimed debut album, fronted up to Murdoch propaganda machine and toured the continent with their infectious blend of unnerving energy and sardonic wit.
They have also been involved in one of the year’s more heavily publicised ‘social media firestorms’ as they were accused of inappropriate behaviour at one of their live shows. This unsettling experience positioned them as unwilling participants in their very own Black Mirror episode, highlighting the troubling implications of ‘trial by social media’.
Having finished this year’s festival circuit, the Manchester five-piece embark on their ‘Healing Brexit Towns Experiment’ tour. We caught up with frontman, Lee Broadbent to discuss the political potential for live performance, learning curves and understanding, working with The Coral’s James Skelly and who he’d snog out of Donald Trump, Michael Gove and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Q. Hello Cabbage, paint us a picture and tell us what you’ve been up to today?
We have been relentlessly preparing new music. Hovelled up with nothing more than each other’s sonic anxiety to gain an out of body experience. We feel very proud of this new batch of songs. Here is a photo to express today's emotion:
Q. Your upcoming ‘Healing Brexit Towns Experiment’ tour will soon be upon us. Having crunched the numbers we can see that only three of the towns on the tour voted to remain. Were the town choices deliberate?
The town choices were meticulously chosen by the booking agents, who have done a marvellous job. We have emails and messages in from people who reside in majority LEAVE towns so hopefully we can get to them on another tour.
Q. In these turbulent and divided times, tell us your thoughts on the power of music to engage and bring people together.
There will be no self-indulgent behaviour or tepid begging for adoration in a ‘WE'RE POLITICAL’ sense on our tour, but it's going to be nice to go out, make people happy and feel part of something a lot of other bands are doing.
Gigs seem to be really politically active places at the moment, let’s just hope people come more together and all start fighting for each other.
Q. Were you cheered by the youth turn-out for Corbyn at the recent election and do you think this is a cause for hope in the future?
Jeremy Corbyn's name has been sang at nearly every one of our shows this summer. Such a young crowd too. It's too early to call, with the mammoth distraction of Brexit, but if the youth show what they want in three years it will be very interesting times.
Q. Your early recordings mirrored the raw and live energy of your live shows. However, recent EP, The Extended Play of Cruelty has a funkier, more rounded and layered sound. Tell us a bit about the evolution in your sound and your ambitions for the new album?
We've been experimenting with James Skelly who is producing us in the near future too. The EP was a stop gap to an album rather than a planned release. It appeared to us rather than we summoned it. I think that's why it came out the way it did.
James has brought something to us we have never experienced as musicians. He's very militant and has a huge spectrum of knowledge. Something that we've benefited off greatly.
Q. You’re now signed to Infectious. How did this deal come about and what is it about this label which makes a good fit for you?
Michael (the A&R) came to see us a few times and we we're really blasé. I’m not sure we fully took it in and I think he appreciated our attitude and obviously some sterling performances - particularly a 2am show at the white hotel in Salford. They have been very relaxed with us in transition from unsigned to signed and its help us grow. We feel in a very strong position now.
Q. Whilst touring with Kasabian earlier this year there was an incident which caused a lot of furore on social media. Effectively, you were put on trial before the full details of that situation came to light. Being politically active and having supported causes such as Safe Gigs For Women (SGFW), how difficult was this time for you and what are your thoughts now when you reflect on how quickly some people were to condemn you?
I've said my part of difficulty I found in that time. Mel from SGFW was phenomenal in our conversations and made me feel part of the organisation. We're focusing on making a positive out of what happened rather than dissecting what went wrong.
Social media has a lot to answer for, of course. It was bizarre to see how quickly it spread and how so many people could take in something so preposterous and use it for nothing but vile hatred. The worst was mostly from other bands who quite frankly behaved criminally about it.
But, until social media is reformed, it’s frightening to think it will happen again or more figures of entertainment/sport/celebrity will be abused till they quit. The greatest thing out of it all is that it’s brought me to SGFW who have the most incredible politics and understanding. Everyone really needs to get involved with their cause and be active at shows.
Q. From repelling the advances of The S*n ‘newspaper’, NME VO5 awards tours, debut album, festival circuits, social media trial and other releases – we’re barely past the half way mark of the year. What the hell can we expect for the rest of 2017?
Christ. Well our first European tour is on the cards and we will be spending quite some time in the studio. We must maintain more songs than months been together.
Q. Finally, Donald Trump, Michael Gove and Andrew Lloyd Webber - Snog, Marry, Avoid.
Well Gove is a lizard in a saggy human suit so probably snog.
Webber I’d avoid because he's horrible.
Trump I’d marry, divorce, take his money and pump it into public services and do a kiss and tell in The Guardian.
Cabbage tour dates:
Sept 27 Holmfirth, Picturedrome *
Sept 28 Preston, 53 Degrees *
Sept 29 Stockton, Ku Bar *
Sept 30 Leeds, Live Art Bistro *
Oct 5 London, ULU
Oct 6 Peterborough, The Met Lounge **
Oct 11 Dundee, Church **
Oct 12 Dunfermline, PJ Molloys **
Oct 13 Darlington, Inside Out (Darlington) **
Oct 14 Barrow, The Drawing Room **
Oct 17 Norwich, Norwich Arts Centre *
Oct 18 Bedford, Bedford Esquires *
Oct 19 Stowmarket, John Peel Centre for Creative Arts *
Oct 20 Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms *
Oct 21 Buckley, The Tivoli *