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Something For Kate

Something For Kate

Something for Kate is a rock band from Melbourne, Australia, led by songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Paul Dempsey. The band was formed in 1994 and signed to the Murmur record label a year later when its three members were aged only 19. They have released six studio albums, two of which have topped Australia's ARIA Charts, with three others reaching the top 10. The band, whose name is often abbreviated to SFK, has had 11 ARIA Music Awards nominations since 1999. Something for Kate have toured extensively in Australia and internationally, supporting Pavement, Swervedriver, Powderfinger, David Bowie and You Am I and have been supported by bands including Caustic Soda, Big Heavy Stuff, Augie March, Crooked Fingers, Angus & Julia Stone and Death Cab For Cutie. The band's lineup since 1998 has been Dempsey (guitars, vocals), Stephanie Ashworth (bass) and Clint Hyndman (drums).1994-1997: Formation and first lineupDempsey and drumming mate Clint Hyndman formed the band in 1994 soon after leaving Padua College on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula. The pair enlisted Julian Carroll as bassist after advertising in music stores. The trio played their first gig on 12 September 1994 at the Punter's Club in Melbourne, changing their band name from Fish of the Day at the suggestion of the venue's booking agent. Dempsey said the new name was inspired by his dog, Kate.The band found a devoted fanbase in Melbourne and recorded a demo tape that sold out of multiple pressings. In 1995 Sony Music A&R man Chris Dunn signed the band to the Murmur label, which had picked up Newcastle teenage rock band Silverchair a year earlier. Dunn said he was impressed by the age of his new signings. "If they had been a bit older I probably would've not been as interested. But because they were 19, I investigated it more and went out and got the tape." He said one song, "Slow", was particularly appealing: "That really triggered the whole thing in me. I kept on playing this song over and over again. I just thought it was a really good song for such a young person."They recorded an EP, ....The Answer to Both Your Questions, in early 1996 and at the end of the year released a single, "Dean Martin", which received frequent airplay on youth radio network Triple J. A limited edition EP, Intermission, was hastily assembled from leftover recordings and released in early 1997, quickly becoming a collectors' item. The band chose an Auckland, New Zealand studio to record their debut album, Elsewhere for 8 Minutes, with producer Brian Paulson, whose credits included Wilco and Slint. Carroll, who had recently married, announced he would quit the band to retreat to a rural property to make music, but agreed to remain for the recording. A single, "Captain (Million Miles An Hour)" preceded the album's July release, receiving heavy airplay on Triple J and making it to #39 in the station's Hottest 100 for the year. The band's following quickly grew and they toured heavily, scoring gigs on numerous major festivals.1998 - present: Lineup changes, rebuildingWhen Carroll's replacement on bass, Toby Ralph from the band Lobtailing, failed to gel with the other two members in his first year, he left and was replaced by Stephanie Ashworth from Sandpit. Dempsey said the band was going through a "really turbulent period" and "completely deconstructed everything" to rebuild after Ashworth joined. "We've just been lucky because we've got this really natural chemistry between the three of us," he said. "We've finally got the right combination of people and we're collaborating the way a band should."In late 1998 the band moved to Toronto, Canada, to rehearse and record their second album, Beautiful Sharks, again with Paulson as producer. It was released the following June, reaching #10 in the ARIA charts, achieving gold status and receiving a nomination for Best Adult Alternative Album in the 2001 ARIA Awards. The band embarked on a major tour with Powderfinger and ended the year with three singles in the year's Triple J Hottest 100. They toured Japan and the United States in early 2000, where Ashworth received—and rejected—an offer to join Courtney Love's rock band Hole.For their third studio album, Echolalia, the band contracted another American producer, Trina Shoemaker, who had won a Grammy Award in 1998 for her work with Sheryl Crow, and began work at Mangrove Studios on Sydney’s north coast. The sessions in a windowless rehearsal studio stretched out over a year as Dempsey struggled with writer's block. He recalled:We'd go down there every day, pick up our instruments and wait for something to happen. And we spent a lot of days just sitting there, staring at each other. We'd set a standard for ourselves and I guess we were trying to meet that. Nothing was happening, we got really depressed and we hit a wall. I was spiralling down.Exasperated, the band decided on an impulse to buy tickets to an island in the Gulf of Thailand. Once there, Dempsey wrote "Monsters" in about 20 minutes. He said the song, about overcoming self-doubt, broke the drought: "As soon as I stopped thinking about it, as soon as I stopped being a songwriter, it came. So after that, we came home and wrote about 20 songs." The album, released in June 2001, peaked at #2. The band sold out two national tours and finished the year again supporting Powderfinger, which trumped them at that year's ARIA Awards. Something for Kate were nominated in six categories but won none. "Monsters" came second in the Triple J Hottest 100 for 2001.The band's next two albums, The Official Fiction (2003) and Desert Lights (2006) both topped the album charts in Australia. Desert Lights achieved gold status within a month of its release. A "best of" compilation album, The Murmur Years: The Best Of Something For Kate 1996-2007, was released in 2007 with one new song, "The Futurist", and the following year a limited edition 16-track live album, Live at the Corner, was released as an "artist-controlled bootleg", capturing the sound of the band on stage at the Corner Hotel in Richmond, Melbourne.After a six-year break from the studio, the band embarked on a summer recording session in Dallas, Texas in 2012 with producer John Congleton, whose credits include Okkervil River, Shearwater and The New Pornographers. Dempsey said the band had been looking for someone to contain the band during the recording process: "We recognised an inclination or proclivity among ourselves to procrastinate and keep layering stuff up. We knew that we needed to fight that instinct and he was very much the guy to help us." The band uploaded two songs from the album to the internet before its release ("Survival Expert" and "The Fireball At The End Of Everything") and also played two live shows in Melbourne and Sydney to preview it.As part of the band's mid-2013 Australian tour, Dempsey recorded "Shotgun Karaoke" video segments prior to each show, in which he performs cover versions of songs by artists such as The Lemonheads, David Bowie, INXS, and Queen. The "Star-Crossed Cities" tour is the band's first extensive Australian tour in over 5 years and ends in Hobart, Tasmania on 29 June 2013.Touring membersWally Gunn - rhythm guitar and keyboardsPhillip 'Pip' Branson - rhythm guitar and violin (ex-member of Sydney band Sidewinder)Simon Burke - keyboardsAnthony Petrucci - rhythm guitarJohn Hedigan - guitarPseudonymsSomething for Kate and Paul Dempsey have played secret shows under pseudonyms. Some of the names used include:George Kaplan and the Editors (referencing The Official Fiction).Max Planck and the Horse He Rode In On (referencing The Official Fiction).Captain Pinstripe (referencing two of their songs from Elsewhere for 8 Minutes).Jerry & the Manmade Sharks (referencing Echolalia and Beautiful Sharks).Transparanoia (referencing Desert Lights).


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