Filed under: Interview
Tom Gandey, the frontman in Brighton based Cagedbaby, describes his band’s name as “something to do with hot chicks in cages!”, an endearing image for one of the most original acts to emerge from the UK in the last few years. After landing a gig at the Miami Winter Music Conference and an exchange with Norman Cook, they were promptly signed to his Southern Fried label, and shot to the front lines of the electro rock scene. Their cocktail of disco, electro, and punk is earning them a growing gathering of devotees, and their debut album “Will See You Now” is a beautifully idiosyncratic slant on the world of electronica funk, brimming with generic influences and ideas. We caught them at Fuji Rock two weeks ago, just after they had rocked the Red Marquee to a heaving crowd, where we found out that Tom’s mates were no strangers to Naeba…
Interview & Introduction by Matt Cotterill (HigherFrequency)
HigherFreuency (HRFQ) : Ok Tom, so you are here, Fuji Rock, in the mountains, how does it feel?
Tom Gandey : Top! It’s a top top place man. To be up here on the slopes where you can snowboard in the winter, it’s great. In fact, a lot of my pals come up here at Christmas time, it has really good powder here.
HRFQ : So they come here to Naeba to snowboard ?
Tom : Well a couple of mates come here to do gigs, and take a couple of days to go up the slopes.
HRFQ : Tom, your reaction about the gig tonight ?
Tom : Well, it is my first time for the band to play live here. The other night I was playing records doing a DJ set, and there were all these eyes checking out the decks rather than me. It was quite weird ‘cos when you are in the UK it is a lot more dark and everyone is on more drugs and coming up. And coming here was a little more like being watched, you know, it’s like people are waiting for what you are going to do. But saying that, also a little more polite here. And tonight was absolutely packed, it was nice to come on after Towa Tei, having the big crowd. And happy to say the crowd were into our set, with a bit of luck we will have earned a lot of new fans. It was a little strange we came on to a big round of applause and then nothing, silence, you could hear a pin drop! But they were a cool crowd. A wonderful crowd, they were into it, but maybe they hadn’t heard a band like us before, you know we are half electro half disco/punk rock kind of affair, there are not a lot of bands that do our thing.
HRFQ : Where did you find the name ‘Cagedbaby’ ?
Tom : It has got something to do with hot chicks in cages. ha ha! The actual truth is that it was my email address on Hotmail when Hotmail first came out. My first one was Nail Bomb, but then the London Soho bombing happened so I changed it to Cagedbaby. It’s kind of, because of my fluency, I am kind of in this cage trying to open the bars. [Tom has a strong stutter]
HRFQ : Could you tell us a little bit about the story of how you started making music ?
Tom : Well, I came out of working for my dad. My old man used to run a fleet of trawlers in Brighton, but by the time I was 23 I was so bored with having to get up at half past four to go and catch fish that I went travelling for a year, travelled around Australia. Went abroad, came back having learnt the art of the connoisseur and thought “right! what do I want to do now?” Well, I played keyboards for lots of bands as a session player, like for Kylie Minogue on tour and stuff, and for a lot of bands I was right at the back playing keyboards and nobody noticed so I thought I’ll get my own band. So I was about 24 and I decided that I was going to make some music. I made my album by the time I was 26, 27, and slowly made it. I went out to Miami for the winter music conference and Norman (Cook) was playing. I took out loads of disks and was like…”er…here have my disk!” And then they rung me up and we started talking and they took me on an album deal. But while they were talking to me there were loads of offers from Columbia, EMI, Virgin, but I went with Norman because he was kind of a cool guy and stuff.
HRFQ : About ‘Will See You Now’, the album, we love it, it’s great. The concept behind it, Tom, can you tell us a little about that ?
Tom : Well the name, because I have been trying to make music and I really wanted it out there, and it’s like, you know when you go to the doctors and they say “the doctor will see you now” and all that kind of stuff. And the cover was all pictures taken of the first ever Glastonbury by mate of mine he was on the production team and he took all the audience shots in 1969, so on the cover is a couple of reverends – vicars- reverends smoking pot, at the gates of heaven and saying to CagedBay and ‘God will see you now’. So it is a pun.
HRFQ : Oh right, well it’s a really interesting cover!
Tom : I know I know, loads of people like it. they all reckon I am the guy on the left and he [points to keyboard player, Jimmy] is on the right. But it is not us at all, and those guys, well, they are probably dead. Or actually we are looking for them to come forward and email us saying “Oi that’s us on the cover!”. A lot of it was inspired by Norman’s album with the big fat guy on the front saying ‘I’m No.1 so why try harder’ , when I was young and I bought that album I thought that was Norman Cook, I mean nobody knew what he looked like until he married Zoey Ball, who was hosting Radio 1, and then Norman just took off.
HRFQ : Your music as been compared – at least in Japan – to Royksopp, Mylo, could you tell us about your influences ?
Tom : I absolutely love Royksopp, I am a huge Royksopp fan and a huge Chemical Brothers fan. I will tell you what I bought lately… well the guy who is on now Laurent Garnier I’m also a big fan because I also do a club set, I play on my own, I play keyboards on top of a hard electro set, when I have got the band it’s kind of a live band. So my influences in music are massive, but yeah, INXS and Rocky Horror, Fatboy Slim, Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, there is no real niche that I am into or not into. Maybe I am not into is probably smooth R&B and Hip Hop because I don’t like the attitude, the thing that attracts me to music is the whole happy atmosphere of it the whole ‘no worries’ thing.
HRFQ : What about the rest of 2005, anything in the pipeline ?
Tom : Well, we are on tour in October and come Christmas we are in Australia, going out to do a gig on Bondi Beach and then Melbourne, the Norman Cook thing on the road, so yeah, actually we are travelling back from here tonight and playing Manumission, then London at Fabric and then from Fabric to Ireland, Ireland to Rome and Madrid, and then we going to tour Northern Europe, and then we are in Aus for Christmas.
HRFQ : You are not going to get any sleep are you ?
Tom : Well it has been like this for a few days now, and then Tomorrow we are playing at ‘Rock Rock’ and then we are doing something at Tokyo Tower, so it is all good.
HRFQ : Well thanks for your time Tom, it’s all quite hectic here!
Tom : No worries, it was a pleasure!
End of the interview
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