Melbourne’s garage duo CAKEFIGHT are Vanessa Morris and Andrew Porter, and that’s all the noise they need. Champions of the two piece and preachers of everything fuzzed, they take pride in making enough sound between them to knock out an entire grid.
Fresh off the launch of their debut EP and a slammin’ good party to boot, we caught up with the pair for a quick chat.
With more drive than a semi and a wall of sound worthy of a 7 piece, CAKEFIGHT are primed and ready to leave a trail of satisfied destruction in their wake.
HAPPY: Hey guys! If you had to pick one kind of cake to take into battle, what would it be and why?
ANDREW: Custard tart or vanilla slice, they’re not really cakes, but I reckon they’d be fun and pack a nice punch!
VANESSA: Cream sponge cake maybe… it’s a classic and would easily make a delicious mess!
HAPPY: Where did that name actually come from?
ANDREW: Being fans of label and band names from the garage scene in the US such as Burger Records, Lolipop Records, Warm Soda and Pookie and the Poodlez, we were throwing around a few ideas in a similar vein.
VANESSA: At the time, I saw a friend post on Facebook about a birthday cake fight and had a lightbulb moment. And before we knew it, we were called CAKEFIGHT. Luckily people dig it too which is a bonus!
HAPPY: CAKEFIGHT creates a massive sound for a duo, which is strange for bands in your scene. What do you like about keeping the roster small?
ANDREW: Playing as a two piece generally makes it easier to book gigs, work on songs and organise plans.
VANESSA: We often get told that our live shows are raw and loud for a two piece – we guess that comes down to combining our individual approaches to playing with hard hitting yet primitive drums, I’ve only been playing for drums for about a year, and Andy has his fuzzy, energetic riffs on a baritone guitar.
ANDREW: For those that don’t know, baritones are lower tuned guitars with heavier gauge strings, somewhere between a guitar and bass. Starting CAKEFIGHT kind of happened organically, growing from a random jam for fun. The need for an extra person isn’t necessary at the moment as we’re happy with our sound and progress – although we have had people offer to play bass…
VANESSA: And we already play in a three piece band called Tropical Deadbeats.
ANDREW: CAKEFIGHT’s fun and we’re always thinking of creative ways to push the duo limits!
HAPPY: Similarly, you seem to love keeping your songs short. Can I ask why?
VANESSA: While our debut release sees us pack five songs in less than 11 minutes, the short length of songs wasn’t necessarily intentional, instead happening quite naturally.
ANDREW: We’re constantly going to shows, listening to records and talking about music – so our garage and rock n roll influences, with special mention of Jay Reatard, is likely a big contributor to why our songs are energetic and short.
HAPPY: Can you tell us a bit about recording with Fuzz City in Austin? How did that relationship come about?
VANESSA: Through planning a holiday to the US we were looking for places to record for a bit of fun and came across Fuzz City.
ANDREW: Seeing as it had a cool set-up with analogue recording on a Tascam 388 and ran by a hero of ours, Matthew Melton (Warm Soda, Bare Wires), we decided to book in a day and swing by Austin, Texas. At the time of the recording, Vanessa played on a vintage drum kit from the 1960s and I played Melton’s very own Ovation Breadwinner – a rare guitar from the 1970s.
VANESSA: We spent 60 minutes, in two 30 minute takes, recording live and straight to tape in a small soundproofed room. We then laid down vocals and worked with Melton on finalising the songs. Lucky for us, Matthew was keen to lend some vocal duties to the recordings as well.
ANDREW: Having only booked one day and working under time restraints, we feel the songs resulted in a more fresh and lively sound. As CAKEFIGHT had only played two gigs before walking into the studio, we were blown away to get back recordings we loved enough to press on vinyl.
VANESSA: Looking back, we’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Matthew Melton – it was an invaluable experience that continues to inspire us in what we do.
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HAPPY: How did the EP launch go on Friday?
ANDREW: It was awesome!
VANESSA: We were stoked to have a great bunch of people come out and support, and lucky to have some of our favourite bands on the bill with Dicey’s Pizza House Band, Bananagun and Golden Helmet.
ANDREW: And then of course having it at the Old Bar, a true Melbourne institution for rock n roll.
HAPPY: Any more shows planned on the horizon?
VANESSA: We have a couple of gigs coming up around Melbourne, but are planning to visit other cities around Australia and New Zealand in the near future.
HAPPY: With the EP out to the world, have you thought about the next release? What can we expect?
VANESSA: Yes, we certainly have!
ANDREW: We’re working on some new songs for an upcoming LP, hopefully out later this year – we’ll keep you posted!