Felix Riebl has strayed away from his iconic sound curated as leader of Melbourne collective The Cat Empire, delivering an energetic powerhouse of a performance on his latest single, “Black Room”.
Although he’s fronted the iconic genre-defying outfit for over two decades now, it was only in 2011 that Riebl began to offer up a taste of his solo work. With 2016’s Paper Doors serving as his last solo effort, the critically-acclaimed artist has now returned with his latest track, undoubtedly defying a few expectations in the process.
Titled “Black Room”, the new single is a powerful creation that is as slick as it is straightforward, with Riebl’s enormous vocals driving the track forward as it hits with a force previously unseen in his work.
“With ‘Black Room’ I wanted to write a song that hit people with a blast of something that was equal prts angst and positivity,” Riebl explains of the new track. “I wanted something with no fat at all, the guitars and synth hooks direct, the sort of thing you can imagine a band playing at a big festival.”
“Black Room” serves as the first taste of his forthcoming EP, Black Room White Walls, which is on track to be released on August 21st, and takes inspiration from sources as varied as New Order and Sergei Rachmaninoff.
“I was learning it on piano and sometimes that opens up another harmonic world,” Riebl explains. “I had these images of someone dropping a bomb on an orchestra and there are only a few instruments left. When I went into that world the lyrics started to flow.
“The songs weren’t written in response to the things happening around us now but it does feel like the right time to release them.”
Undoubtedly a release that will come as something of a stylistic shock to those who know his music best, Riebl notes that it’s just another chapter in his ever-evolving musical career.
“When I started out people would tell me if you want to be successful you have to find a sound and pin your identity to that sound,” he states. “It just hasn’t worked out that way for me.
“I draw music from so many places and let my voice and writing style pave the way, often unexplainably. Maybe later I’ll be able to step back and see it as part of a bigger picture.”
Felix Riebl’s “Black Room” is available for streaming now, while his Black Room White Walls EP is scheduled to be released on August 21st.