The Cactus Channel

"Infectiously funky sounds... a horn-fuelled, butt-shaking affair"
- triple j HOME & HOSED

"This ten-piece means business... The Cactus Channel are incredibly talented and competent musicians"

"Tightly raw soul, rambling deep-funk jams and organ-driven party mash-ups"
- The Age

"Propelled by a hot-to-trot, James Brown-influenced rhythm section, ignited by fiery lead guitar and stoked by a female-loaded brass quintet, the Cactus Channel powers along like an embryonic version of the Meters or the Dap Kings"


"Celebratory in the best possible way... The Cactus Channel are destined to rule the festival circuit this summer"

"It’s old-fashioned, gritty and down-home soul music – by a bunch of white teenagers from Melbourne"

"Haptics is quite simply a near-perfect funk album... A rich cluster of solid, compelling instrumental pieces"

It’s soul music, baby, but not as we know it. The backbeat and the handclaps are still there and the horns still sound. The bass bumps, the organ screams and the guitars still twang, but the singer has left the room. Everything is shades of blue. This is soul music for the after hours. For the solitary dancers and the lonely hearts. The soundtrack to solitary headlights on a midnight highway. What to call it? Who cares. Can you dance to it? Just try not to. No one’s telling you to throw your hands up in the air, but no one would be surprised if you did. It’s dark here, so you can do your own thing.

"Wooden Boy (Part 3) starts with great conversational gusto between the horns and guitars, but over the next three minutes detours into surf twang, well-oiled rhythmic breaks, ominous soundtrack-style cues and finally a reprisal of the lingering drag that kicks off the song."

"The Cactus Channel are playing this music in an original way... They are a youthful group that instantly arrived with a deeper and earthier musical aesthetic than many of their contemporaries"

Wooden Boy was recorded by The Cactus Channel -- a ten piece band from Melbourne, Australia -- all born in the 90s and raised on the internet. Yet somehow, this astonishing follow up to last year's rave-reviewed debut, Haptics, sounds like it could have been recorded in the 1970s, or possibly in the distant future. A timeless, placeless cinematic odyssey, Wooden Boy could have been an alternate soundtrack to Ghost Dog -- if Lalo Schifrin and the Meters were collaborating on the RZA's score. Or maybe Wooden Boy was what happened when Lars Von Trier got invited to direct an episode of Soul Train. What any of it may actually mean is left to the listener's imagination.

"The Cactus Channel hit you with a hard funk groove to rival the likes of James Brown or The Meters and you find you just can't stop moving. With a musical maturity beyond their years you know that this 10 piece collective will go far. And that they'll get a whole lotta rumps shaking along the way"

"The Cactus Channel are a fantastic young teenage funk band. They have managed to capture the fun and looseness of what funk truly means. They are right up there with the great Melbourne funk scene. They have a great future ahead of them. Playing with jazz sensibilities and a funky feeling these kids truly belong on the BIG stage!!!"

Funk aficionados will hear shades of New York on this record, echoes of El Michel’s taking on Wu Tang, the influence of Budos and Menehan et al. But this is the Generation Z version; both more tempestuous and more introverted. Recorded analog in the digital era, presented faceless in the celebrity era, inexplicably ambiguous in the soundbite era, is this the album the world needs right now? Undoubtedly yes. In a world where the NSA can read the text message that dumped you, what does a person need more than sad soul music from the future? Wooden Boy, baby Wooden Boy.

Adam Friedman (trumpet)
A worldly man with the world in his hands. He'd be comfortable leading a 40s Cuban big band or chopping up drums on the toilet. Thankfully he's also comfortable being the bands token Southern Belle and bearer of fiery trumpet doits. Ladies...

Callum Riley (organ/tambourine)
With most of the crowd distracted by his good looks, Callum has it tough. However with the enviable ability to shake a tambourine just about as tasty as Bobby Byrd, all while playing a puppet show on his organ, he can cope. We’ve had to strap him down to his organ stool or else he’ll start dancing and forget where he is. Legend has it that his hair dreaded itself while he was dancing to Fela Kuti one night…

Campbell Wheeler (alto/baritone saxophone)
The unofficial mayor of Coburg gave up a career as a figure skater to lead a complex double life — by day he splits atoms, and by night he splits dance floors. He can make you drop your drink with an alto squeal, or drop your pants with Baritone honk, all while wearing a smile fit to beat Clooney.

Daniel Sutton (trumpet)
Also known as The Beast, he’s the man with the hands, who can do hand stands, whom no one can stand. Just joking, he’s alright, and he plays trumpet like a Chilean on a cocktail of Nesquik and Milo. Oh Jim Joe!!!

Darvid Thor (guitar)
Some say born, some say summoned, either way there was thunder and there was lighting and the kid came out shredding a little guitar. Having climbed a stairway to heaven in his youth, some say one too many times, it only took only one listen to The Meters to get Darvid down off of that stairway, and balls deep in transcriptions of the most soulful records the world has to offer.

Henry Jenkins (bass)
With hands fit to model and/or massage, Henry sacrificed the jacuzzi & cocktail lifestyle in order to hone his bass guitar skill, creating a style scholars have coined ‘Basscrobatics’. Often heard saying “I’m all about clothes, bank rolls and ho’s”, Jenkins is straight to the point in all facets of his life, especially when funk is in the mix. Bace!!!

Hudson Whitlock (drums)
With the finest selection of Hawaiian shirts this side of the equator, Whitlock’s startling affinity with time and rhythm sprouted from his infallible comedic timing, which he often employs on stage to dazzling effect. Wielding a wave of strawberry blonde hair and the fastest double-handed-alternating-four stroke-flamadiddle-taps in West Preston, he channels the powers of James Black and Clive Stubblefield into his soul so you can’t help but dance when the band breaks and lets him do his thing.

Kate Charlwood (tenor saxophone/flute)
She can speak in eight languages and play sax in seven more — all soulful. Although she only has 20 years behind her, Kate has pursued the Italian alps, meandered through Belgian woods, and wouldn’t feel out of place drinking with the heartiest of sailors. Don’t get on her bad side though, she will knock you down!

Lauren Mullarvey (tenor saxophone)
Lauren will make you shake like a caged go-go dancer, until you collapse in a great fervour induced solely by the moans and yelps expelled from her curvaceous horn. At full tilt, she’ll have the whole band wishing they were on the dance floor; and when she ain’t playing sax, she’ll be dancing like the aforementioned go-go dancer.

Lewis Coleman (guitar)
One half of the underground hip-hop crew Boss, Bix & Stix, Lewis is more than a dope MC or a pretty face. He is the riff child of Dick Dale and Steve Cropper, and the most fashionable member of the group by at least eight furlongs. With a great mo’, a pair of enviable dimples, and sarcasm in frightening abundance, he’s a cutie pie if you ever saw one.