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Tuesday September 2nd 2014

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Go On, Have Some More CAKE

by Hana Frenette

Don’t lump  v in with all those other 90s bands that didn’t make it past the millennium without much more than a spot on a NOW CD to show for themselves. In the past year the band has built a solar powered studio, recorded a new album, and involved themselves with several environmental and community projects.

“Some people do still think of us as a 90s band, but that’s just when we started,” said trumpeter Vincent DiFiore. “I don’t think our sound screams 90s — we bring a lot of different influences and I feel like we could have easily come from the 70s or 80s.”

CAKE has had some pretty big hits on the alternative charts, like “Short Skirt/Long Jacket,” and “Going the Distance.” Their latest studio album, “Showroom of Compassion,” the first album they’ve released in six years, debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

“It was great, we were not cynical about that at all,” DiFiore said. “It made people think about us.”

The latest album was the first album they’ve produced themselves. They decided to just go ahead and build the whole studio themselves, too. And make it solar powered.

“We keep track of the news and the global warming issues,” DiFiore said. “We put 13 solar panels on the roof, which is enough for practicing and recording.”

A company named Borrego Solar helped them knock out the solar powering in just one day.

CAKE released “Showroom of Compassion” in January and has been involved with several community projects stemming from the album. One of those projects deals directly with the song “Federal Funding March,” from the album.

“When we were first fooling around with that song, we realized it could be stripped down, so we took away all the electrics and replaced it with a tuba and a sax,” DiFiore said.

Then the band decided to have a little more fun with it and created a national campaign for high school and college students. The students will have to play “Federal Funding March” using instruments from a marching band. The student band can be as big or as small as the contestant wants. However, the band must use the sheet music written by DiFiore as their backbone for the song.

“We’re looking for someone who’s really going to try and make it their own,” DiFiore said. “Then we want to make a music video with the winning band.”

CAKE is currently accepting submissions for the Federal Funding March Contest.

The band has also been busy with the releases of their album, the production of their studio, rewriting some of their music to sheet music and screen printing hundreds of copies of books out of their used t-shirts.

CAKE recently collaborated with a woman named Pam Deluco to create a book called “Bound Away.”

The book has 24 illustrated pages detailing the story of a traveling musician. All the blocks and prints were hand-carved and hand-printed. All the materials used for the book are 100 percent recycled and were things like old shirts, coffee sacks, and handspun thread from local provider. In short, this is the coolest, most environmentally friendly book you’re likely to own unless you start making some yourself. Even the lights above the workroom tables were powered by solar energy.

“We wanted to do something that would ground us,” DiFiore said; the band had never before screen-printed before the book-making process began. “It was a nifty little book when it was all said and done.

A thousand books were printed and signed by the band and include a CD single of CAKE’s song “Bound Away.” All the proceeds will go to the charities 826 Valencia and The Hamilton Wood Type Museum.

With the marching band contest and the handmade book creation, CAKE seems to be reaching out to the public in a very tangible way.

“It just makes the experience more complete,” DiFiore said. “Being in a band can be very alienating — we really like to engage the community.”

For such a productive band, what might we expect from them while they are at De Luna?

“It’s always fun being around other bands and seeing if someone will stick their neck out and say ‘hello,’” DiFiore said. “Backstage there isn’t a lot of yuckin’ it up going, or a lot of crazy partying — everyone’s just kind of getting the job done.”

Or maybe everyone will let loose and decide to party like it’s 1999 again. {in}

CAKE at DELUNA FEST
WHEN: 8:00-9:00 p.m., Friday, Oct. 14
WHERE: Wind Creek Stage