The Cat Empire
In the eight years since forming in 1999, these incorrigible genre-hoppers from Melbourne, Australia, have doubled in size and expanded their Empire. The Cat Empire started as a trio when keyboardist Oliver McGill, double bassist Ryan Monro, and percussionist Felix Riebl (who specializes in timbales) started playing their jazz-meets-ska-meets-Latin fusion at gigs in jazz clubs and all-night parties at the tender age of nineteen. Gradually, they added trumpeter Harry James Angus, drummer Will Hull-Brown, and DJ Jamshid "Jumps" Khadiwala to the mix of musicians and hip-hop to the musical recipe. Bigger group plus bigger sound turned out to equal bigger bookings for the band, which started playing sold-out shows in Australia, touring around the world, and recording their first album. Record labels came a-knockin', and after weighing their options, the band signed with Virgin, which released their 2003 self-titled debut. Two Shoes and Cities followed in 2005 and 2006, respectively.