LIVE REVIEW + INTERVIEW // Cooks and Bakers (Cambridge Hotel)

WORDS AND INTERVIEW BY ZACHARY HERBERT

IMAGE BY KYLE BURGESS

From the get go it was obvious that this was going to be a massive show, with what I would estimate to be roughly 50% of the room filled before openers Marmalade finished their set. So it was no surprise to find out that by the time the headliners took the stage the show had sold out completely. Something which is impressive in its own right, only amplified by the fact that Conrad Sewell was playing in the same building, proving that this trio can pull an audience despite being in the vicinity of a much larger performer. But what would a good show be without the support acts?

Each of the supporting bands were shown overwhelming support from the audience and all managed to bring something unique to the night; whether it be Marmalade killing it with their debut live performance featuring a handful of catchy originals and a particularly rousing cover of Twist and Shout, Mango Avenue with their blend of smooth indie rock, Alter Ego injecting some psychedelia into the night to mix things up and last but not least Kookshill with a raw energy that’s always shows.

But all of what I’ve written so far might as well go out the window because when Cooks and Bakers finally took the stage the energy in the room erupted. This isn’t meant to discredit the other bands’ performances, merely meant to be a statement of how powerful the Newcastle trio are. From the opening guitar lick of “Don’t hold your breath” the entire crowd was hooked. Song after song of catchy choruses and just all around solid instrumentation, with bassist Nathanial Duggan and drummer Finn Ellem playing perfectly in the pocket while guitarist/vocalist Campbell Ross seamlessly alternated between chords and creative leads all while simultaneously delivering every lyric with pure emotion. I could go on with the praise but it’s best to let a band speak for themselves.

While speaking with the band they had some interesting things to say on how far they’ve come in their relatively short time playing together, potential plans for the future and general songwriting.

How did you come to form?

The band pretty much formed through three friends messing around and making some music in our final year of school. Nat found a bass that had been left on the side of the road, and messaged Finn and I asking if we wanted to come over and jam. Finn and I had been making music together for years, so we had a few old songs we taught Nat, and pretty much that afternoon we decided to start the band.

In the year since the release of your debut single it has been streamed just over 76 thousand times, quite an impressive feat for any band. How does it feel to have your music appreciated by so many?

It’s still a bit hard to believe just how big of a number that is. We were unbelievably excited when the song reached 1000 streams in the first week, then it got to 10,000 and just kept on going up. We are so grateful to all our friends who share our songs around, it helps new fans find our music which is what any songwriter dreams of.

So yesterday’s gig was to celebrate the release of your 4th single, are there any plans for a larger release such as an album or E.P?

We’ve had a plan to record an E.P for a while now, but we wanted to wait until we had the right types of songs first. We wanted each song on the E.P to be special and unique in its own way, and I think we’ve finally found the right combination of themes and sounds within some of our newly written songs. We don’t want to rush our first E.P so I think that’s what we are going to be focusing on over this next year.

Any plans for a tour to play for new audiences?

We’ve started trying to branch out of Newcastle, playing shows in Sydney, Wollongong and the Central Coast. We’ve been talking about doing a big tour along the east coast for a while now, but we want to make sure we choose the right time to do it. We’ll probably plan a small tour soon, depending on the success of our newest single ‘Stay’, which will hopefully help us gain some more attention.

A common theme among your songs seems to be the fallout and aftermath of relationships. Do your lyrics have much basis in real life experience?

I don’t strictly write songs based entirely on my own experiences. Sometimes I exaggerate for lyrical benefit. Most of the songs are not necessarily things I experience but rather the embellishment of the stories I hear from people I know. My friends often make fun of how most of our songs seem to be about love or the lack thereof, but it’s not always the truth. These topics tend to be the easiest to base songs about. They are also easy to relate to, as most people have gone through some sort of relationship fallout, which I think is a reason why listeners respond so well to our music.

I would like to thank the band for granting me this interview and for anyone reading this who hasn’t heard of them make sure to check out all music they’ve released so far including brand new single ‘Stay’ which is available on all streaming platforms. Also If possible make the effort to see these boys live, you won’t regret it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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