The Kids Are United!

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Sunday 02 Dec 2007 (Michael Bugeja - The Sunday Times of Malta)

Prior to October of last year, I had no idea that Cable 35 even existed, let alone who they were or what they played! I’m not too sure if they themselves knew at the time; they had after all, only recently formed the band and managed to squeeze in a couple of rehearsals before an impending Battle of the Bands contest. With the odds seemingly against them, they still managed to finish in third place, securing not only a couple of precious prizes, but also the attention of a new audience – yours truly included - and that of their more experienced peers! Coming in third was no downer either. As is often the case with such competitions, it’s the bigger picture that counts and it gave Cable 35 the opportunity to enter a recording studio and experience a proper recording session. Better still it offered them a chance to prove themselves onstage – not only locally, which they have since done countless times – but in the UK, more precisely Liverpool!

I’m meeting the band to hear about their recent adventures, including the release of their debut EP and their gigs in the UK this past summer. As I wait, I jot down a few notes, thinking about whether they ever got round to listening to the various vintage punk albums I gave them to expand their taste of punk beyond the Green Day’s and the Blink 182’s they are sound so enamoured of and influenced by!

“Cable 35 was formed in August 2006. The band members were all born normally in hospital”. Now this is not something I’m making up – this is actually lifted off the band’s online bio. I just used it to illustrate how Cable 35 may seem like they don’t take themselves too seriously. In fact if I had to pick a few other sentences off their bio’s – such as bassist Kriz’s “By time he realised that the bass guitar gave him more satisfaction than his girlfriend” or drummer Chris’s “The neighbours’ complaints encouraged him to continue playing the drums and inventing psychologically annoying drum beats”, it pretty much seems that the work ethic in the Cable 35 environ is pure and simple – they’re in it to have fun first and foremost, anything else is a bonus! This is not necessarily true, at least not entirely. They are indeed great lads and fun to be around, but underneath it all, as producer David Vella, who recorded their debut release at Temple Studios, commented to me recently, “they are very focused and hungry to learn more and get better!”

Surrounded by curious onlookers in a Hamrun café, many of whom are probably wondering why I am huddled with three teenage kids around a pocket cassette recorder, the band feeds me bits of info left right and centre. “The band’s name comes from the guitar lead (cable) and the bus number (35) that we had to regularly catch to get to our rehearsal space in Mqabba”! “Chris was originally a guitarist but switched to drums when we kicked out our previous drummer”! “I just bought a van today”! Now this last bit may not be essential to this article but it will prove to be a great asset for the band! Lugging equipment around from garage to gig and back is no fun when you have no wheels - no wonder they’re thrilled! But more than anything, right now they are especially even more radiant following the gig to launch their debut EP, appropriately titled My First EP.

Packaged in decidedly eye-catching shocking pink (probably in homage to the Pistols’ equally fluorescent debut outing) the EP features six songs brimming with melodies that are hard to forget. The songs are connected on some level, but each one seems to point away from the ‘punk’ epicentre in different directions, feeding off a pop inclination that makes me curious as to what has been firing the lads’ imaginations! “The first track (Wasted Away) has been there longer than the others” they tell me, “but we’ve been listening to loads of stuff; ska, indie, reggae, grunge, the albums you gave us (aha!), and we want to take our sound to another level”. This is something they are all agreed upon – a good sign that they are on the same frequency even if they’re all bringing in diverse elements to the band’s sound. The most obvious divergence here is on Animal Rules, which is definitely more elaborate than the rest of the EP. “We still love the happy punk stuff but we also want to explore another side – one that also allows elements from other genres, but we won’t give up our punk roots”. The first single off the EP, A Beautiful Story, is doing pretty well on the radios as we speak, and the next one should bring them an even bigger audience.

In between recording, they flew to the UK, performing 7 gigs in Birmingham and Liverpool, including the legendary Cavern Club. The experience has taught them a lot, and frankly they’re keen to go back. Shacking up with UK punk band Reluctant Heroes, the three of them have loads of stories to tell - meeting Shrek on the plane (!), shooting videos of their antics, tying up their drummer with masking tape – ahem, we’ll hold it right there! Fun aside, however, they are quick to add that their trip abroad has been a learning experience, but they’ve remained grounded enough to acknowledge there’s still a long way to go. Grounded enough, in fact, to go on first before BNI at their own CD launch gig? “Yeah, we chose to go on first! BNI is the better band, we respect that - plus we could perform first and party all night. Fantastic!” Never mind, there will be other gigs to headline soon enough; in fact they’re playing the V5 Bar at the Valletta Waterfront on 07 December. My First EP is available from all leading record shops or at any of their gigs.

Cable 35 on MySpace