Their name alone should have ensured a quiet life for My Friend the Chocolate Cake. No one dreamed of ARIA awards, two years of sold-out Edinburgh Festival dates or the kind of ageless and eternally devoted audience most bands with cooler names would kill for. Somewhere within the unlikely union of kitchen sink piano tales, vivid chamber orchestration and hell-raising instrumental shenanigans, the Melbourne band has carved out a 15 year, five album history that culminates…
so far in the 19 track retrospective, Parade.
It all started as harmless fun. In 1989, David and cellist Helen Mountfort were playing in globally acclaimed ambient/world music ensemble Not Drowning Waving when they opted to unplug and unwind with a few more breezy compositions. The idea of the band began when David took a holiday in New Zealand and wrote a collection of songs that didn’t fit into the ‘Not Drowning Waving’ style. He & Helen then began My Friend The Chocolate Cake with the intention of playing all acoustic music.
From the inception My Friend The Chocolate Cake emerged as an enjoyable ensemble, as musical friends & colleagues came together one by one to form their unique sound. Hope Csutoros, a violinist with eastern European gypsy roots and a flamboyant stage presence to match, was an inspired early accomplice. Mandolinist Andrew Carswell and guitarist Andrew Richardson added to an exotic web of acoustic textures. Russell Bradley was the first of several drummer/ percussionists.
The bands collective musical influences are diverse and include: Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Irish & Scottish folk music, Joy Division & folk / pop / rock performers such as Billy Bragg, Arvo Part, Talk Talk, John Cale & Michelle Shocked. My Friend The Chocolate Cake write songs of lyrical & musical mastery about people, characters and their community. Defying categorisation, the band perform emotive musical pieces that movefrom subtle chamber instrumentals to frayed acoustic pop, and songs of wry observation.
By no means formal in their presentation, My Friend The Chocolate Cake travel between atmospheric and ambient through to full scale romps and ballads. The band offer a unique and unsurpassed combination of moods.
‘That’s why Chocolate Cake is such a joy of a band to be in,’ says David. ‘Everyone in the band believes in all those diverse elements really strongly. While it’s entertaining, it stands for something. It’s a unique band in my experience. You’d bottle it if you knew what it was.’