My Friend the Chocolate Cake
|My Friend The Chocolate Cake|
|Origin||Melbourne, Victoria, Australia|
|Genres||Pop rock, folk rock, alternative rock|
|Labels||Shock Records, Liberation Music, Mushroom Records|
|Associated acts||Not Drowning, Waving|
|Past members||Andrew Carswell
My Friend The Chocolate Cake is an Australian musical group based in Melbourne. They have recorded seven albums since being founded in 1989 by David Bridie and Helen Mountfort. The band has won two ARIA Music Awards for Best Adult Contemporary Album, for Brood in 1995 and Good Luck in 1997
Bridie and Mountfort had been members of the internationally acclaimed ambient/world music ensemble Not Drowning, Waving since 1983. In 1989, Bridie took a holiday in New Zealand and wrote "a few more breezy compositions" that did not fit into the Not Drowning, Waving style. The side-project that he and Mountfort formed that year, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, took its name from a song title by an obscure Sydney band Ya Ya Coralle. Bridie admitted that one reason the two chose to form an all-acoustic act was so they did not have to carry around amplifiers.
Although the intention was only to play a handful of shows the band quickly developed a following after securing a residency at Madigan's, a now defunct venue in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. With a budget of $800, the group recorded My Friend The Chocolate Cake in 1991. Following the split of Not Drowning, Waving in 1992 Bridie and Mountfort shifted their focus towards the band's follow-up album Brood, which began production in mid-1993. Featuring the single "I've Got a Plan", the album was released in 1994 and won the "Best Adult Contemporary Release" at the ARIA Music Awards the following year. Their third album Good Luck (1996) won the same award in 1997. Arguably at the peak of their career, the group played a sell-out show at Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and toured Europe. Helen Mountfort played as a guest musician on the Nick Cave/Kylie Minogue duet "Where the Wild Roses Grow", which was a hit single in 1996.
In the late 1990s, the group spent a long period of inactivity. Bridie developed an interest in the musical environment of Papua New Guinea and decided to move there in 2000. A side-project, Hotel Radio, saw Bridie experimenting with Papuan string music. The groups contract with Mushroom Records ended in 2000 and the band decided to represent themselves independently. Gathering briefly in 2002, the group recorded the up-beat Curious album, which was followed by another hiatus in 2003. In 2005, independent Australian label Liberation Music re-released the entire My Friend The Chocolate Cake back catalogue. The band came together in 2007 to release Home Improvements - the title referring to album's lyrical observations of suburban Australian life, a reoccurring theme in the band's music.
Mandolinist/tin-whistler Andrew Carswell, one of the groups long-time members, retired from performing in July 2010. Fiasco, released in 2011, had Bridie admitting that Carswell's departure had removed a large part of the folky element from the album.
Like Not Drowning, Waving, My Friend The Chocolate Cake's music can be seen to straddle the worlds of ambient and world music, with an emphasis on piano and violin-led acoustic music. Influences range from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Celtic folk music, to the less obvious, such as John Cale and Talk Talk. The band's collective musical influences are diverse and include: Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Irish and Scottish folk music, Joy Division, Arvo Pärt, and folk / pop / rock performers such as Billy Bragg, Talk Talk, John Cale and Michelle Shocked.
Each album displays a range of styles from subtle chamber music instrumentals to atmospheric folk/pop ballad fusions through to full scale romps. The group has a string section as a permanent fixture to their line-up, headed by Helen Mountfort, which greatly effects their song writing. Bridie, the groups main lyricist, often writes songs inspired by Melbourne suburban life. Other themes that are frequent include community politics and young love. Bridie sings with a distinctly Australian accent, differing from most vocalists who tend to emulate an American accent.
In the 1990s, the song "The Romp" was frequently used on promotional adverts on Australia's ABC channel. A number of the bands songs have appeared in the Australian adolescent television drama Heartbreak High including "Salt", "Your Ship Is Gone" and "Talk About Love".
- My Friend The Chocolate Cake (1991; re-released in 1995 and 2005)
- Brood (1994; re-released in 2005)
- Good Luck (1996; re-released in 2005)
- Live At the National Theatre (1996; re-released in 2005)
- Review (1997; UK Compilation)
- 19 Easy Pieces (1999; re-released in 2005)
- Curious (2002; re-released in 2005)
- Parade - The Best Of... (2004; re-released in 2005)
- Home Improvements (album, 2007)
- 25 Stations (Single, 2011)
- Fiasco (2011)
In 2006, an EP also titled Home Improvements was released. It contained 6 songs including the song "Home Improvements" as well as a remix and 3 new tracks.
- "ARIA Music Awards winners, 1995. (Note: ARIA website erroneously lists the album as "I've Got A Plan", a single from the album)". Ariaawards.com.au. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "Internet Archive Wayback Machine". Web.archive.org. 2007-09-06. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "ARIA Music Awards winners, 1997". Ariaawards.com.au. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "My Friend The Chocolate Cake: bio". Mftcc.com. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- Dib, Lisa (2011-05-27). "interview: my friend the chocolate cake". Lipmag.com. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "The rise of My Friend The Chocolate Cake..." Helen Mountfort and David Bridie, MTV Australia, January 1, 1997
- "Breakfast with Justine Frazier: My Friend The Chocolate Cake: David Bridie Interview". Blogs.abc.net.au. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- Darren Levin. "The next tasty little morsel". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 2012-10-24.
- "Music". Heartbreak High. 2005-05-29. Retrieved 2012-10-24.