Cable Street: Brit Pop, With Substance

Full disclosure: I’ve been a Cable Street fan for a couple years now. So much so that, one Halloween, my fiancé and I donned their signature torn and distressed business suit stage attire, to attend a party they were performing at.

Cable Street

So, to have a chance to finally sit down and chat with Adam and Eric from the band was more of a treat than work.

First, a little background; formed in 2011, Adam (vocals), Eric & Mat (guitars) and Dan (drums & percussion) decided to make music with substance and will make fans want to move.

With that mission in mind, Cable Street was born. These four talented guys mix thoughtful lyrics and interesting melodies to bring music that makes you think, and makes you feel. As Eric explains it, “This resonates with us.”

Even their name is a nod to an actual event in history; ‘The Battle of Cable Street’. An anti-Fascist riot on Cable Street, in London’s East End in 1936, where counter-protesters and members of the British Union of Fascists clashed.  All this time, I thought their name referred to the multitude of cables scattered on the stage floor during performances. They confess the name has conveniently become a double meaning, but its initial genesis is the band’s homage to all things British, and their conviction to taking a stand for what you care about and believe in.

Cable Street

Make no mistake about it, these guys are far more complex than just four musicians on stage playing music.

With an updated Brit Pop meets American Indie sound, Cable Street strives to not just bring a message, but to entertain as well. It’s not about just playing music, it’s about experiencing music. It’s about engaging the crowd and getting them on the dance floor.

As Adam puts it, “Cable Street’s message is we think music can be better than it is. We’ve all been in bands most of our lives and we’ve all done this collectively as a band, but we’re tired of just standing around playing “all right” music. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it can be better. You shouldn’t have to support live music, you should enjoy it.”

After five years of playing, writing, perfecting their sound, 2018 has been a banner year for the four guys from Calgary, Alberta.

They picked up a 2018 YYC Music Award for Music Video of the Year and, for the third year in a row, have been invited back to Toronto’s Indie Week, November 6 – 11, with three showcases scheduled. Not to mention, to fan’s delight, they’ve released a previously recorded 5-track EP, as well as another EP of acoustic tracks on iTunes and Spotify, are remastering old demos, with a plan to release them by the end of the year and are in the process of recording an EP of all new material.  Whew!

When it comes to writing, it’s a joint process, with, as Eric says, “Many influences and backgrounds coming into a single unit.”

Cable Street

And the new stuff? I asked. Eric replied, “There’s some similarities to what we’ve already produced and come out with. I’m really excited about it. I think it’s better and I think it’s more Cable Street. I think our stuff coming out is musically, more interesting. The lyrics have always been very deep, and make you think. It’s at another level that every time you listen to it, you’ll get something more out of it, and I think there’s more of that.”

Now, as a fan of local music, and someone who regularly buys local music, I always wondered why Cable Street hadn’t pressed an EP, or offered their music on iTunes, till now. Naturally, I had to ask them about that.

Adam explained it was a matter of weighing promotion and marketing options.

“We took the approach of just doing singles, one song at a time, and focusing more on streaming platforms – Spotify and SoundHound. Thinking, who does albums anymore? But over the years, we’ve had enough feedback at our live shows where people want something to take with them. We’ve learned it’s important to have something physical, something tangible. It’s a physical connection.”

Another side of Cable Street’s mission to make music interesting is their approach to the videos they’ve produced to accompany their singles. Last year’s “Little Transistor” video featured each member performing in four separate locations, in four separate panels, all synced together perfectly. Their latest video release, “Your Chemistry” showcased their creativity with four brightly lit stick-men performing against a pitch black background. It was that video that garnered the 2018 YYC Music Award for Music Video of the Year, with Adam as the director. The award show being on Adam’s birthday, no less. His thoughts on the night; “That was a great birthday gift. I was a little surprised. I don’t think we thought it was a long shot ourselves. We’re pretty proud of the video. When we looked at everything else, and there’s some great videos up there. The caliber was pretty intimidating.

Cable Street

The idea for the video all came from a Halloween costume. As Adam describes, “I saw a friend who dressed his kid up as a stick figure for Halloween. I thought it was hilarious how the stick figure moved on the body. And then another video I saw was very dark, and used some white paint in it, and the contrast was quite interesting. So, we grabbed a whole bunch of EL wire, full body black spandex suits, rented a dance studio with no windows and a wall of mirrors so it could be pitch black, and spent the whole day filming in the dark.”

With 2018 drawling to a close, Cable Street already has plans for 2019 well in the works. They are currently in the planning stage for a new video, and of course new music is on its way. They also plan to look beyond their Calgary home, or even Canada for that matter, with overseas festivals in their sights.

As a fan I will say, go get ‘em boys!

As a journalist I will say, Toronto, head down to The Paddock Tavern and Cherry Colas during Indie Week, November 6 – 11, for something completely different.


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