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Leader Cheetah

Written by Daniel Cunningham on August 21, 2009

With their debut album The Sunspot Letters under their belt as well as an impressive list of support slots including Doves, Dan Auerbach and their upcoming tours with Liam Finn and Blitzen Trapper, you could say Leader Cheatah are well and truly living up to their name… and it’s more than deserved.

With their headline slot as part of The Oxford Art Factory 2nd Birthday coming up this Friday the 21st of Aug, Daniel Cunningham caught up with the band to tlak about The Sunspot Letters, their impending limited edition vinyl release as well as what the future holds for this tenacious band.

Music Feeds: Leader Cheetah is set to play the Oxford Art Factory’s 2nd Birthday, so you’re obviously aware of the venues reputation as a hub for all manner of illicit activities. You’ll be having a good night then?

Leader Cheetah: Yeah we always have a great time in Sydney. It’s really starting to feel like a second home for us. We have a fantastic network of people up there and the good times are always plentiful. This Friday should be no exception and it will be our first time playing at the much lauded Oxford Arts Factory, so let the good times roll!

MF: Tell us about the forthcoming vinyl release of “The Sunspot Letters”. Will this in fact be an independent endeavour?

LC: Yeah the vinyl idea had been there from the day we finished tracking the album and we’ll be putting it out ourselves through our own little label -‘Spiritual Action’. We’re only pressing up 300 and it’s coming out on green wax. It’ll also come with a bonus seven inch that includes three outtakes from the album. It should hopefully be avail in early November.

MF: The Sunspot Letters is very stylised and earthy in its production, and at times it sounds positively lonesome and dust bitten – You could even say it has a bit of that analogue or vinyl characteristic already. Was it a conscious decision for your debut to sound so distinctive?

LC: Ultimately the finished sound was Kramer’s production melding with our vision of what we wanted the album to sound like. I’m glad it has a distinctive style, it was basically a case of us recording the songs over here with him (Kramer) in a very ‘in the moment, emotion over perfection’ type of fashion. Then he would send us over mixes and we’d send back emails with our thoughts and at the end of the process everyone was happy.

MF: LC has embarked upon a successful national headline stint, but has also been fortunate enough to land a slew of high profile supports on tours for Dan Auerbach, Elbow, Doves and very soon Liam Finn. If LC could open for any living band or artist, who would be no. 1 on the wishlist?

LC: Well as far as living legends go it’s gotta be Neil Young.

MF: Having travelled around so much, has LC yet to grow jaded and tired of the touring lifestyle?

LC: Not by a long shot. A good show always more then makes up for any tedious tasks that are just a part of the reality of touring. And hey it certainly beats our day jobs!

MF: LC is clearly a band that values the importance of song craft in a classic dylan-esque sense. What do you think defines good songwriting?

LC: Well for me personally melody is always king. Come up with a strong melody and that’s the base to build the rest of the song around. But of course a great rhythm and good words and a great arrangement are all integral to a great song. Sometimes it’s a riff or chord progression that will instigate the melody, but once the melody comes we usually let that dictate the flow and arrangement of a song.

MF: What would the members of LC be doing if the band had never hit it’s stride?

LC: Our crummy day jobs.

MF: Tell us what the near future holds for the band?

LC: The next few months hold plenty more touring with some fantastic bands, Liam Finn, Blitzen Trapper and our friends Cloud Control, and really getting down to business on tightening up material for the next album (which we are more then a little excited about) – the actual recording part won’t be happening until early next year though.

MF: Has LC even had it’s second birthday yet?

LC: Yeah i’m pretty sure it’d be a little over the two year mark, but hey, who’s countin?

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