Cabbage release their second studio album Amanita Pantherina tomorrow (25 September). The album has been described by the Tameside band “as a reaction to the last couple of years, losing a member and finding themselves finding a new wave of positivity”.
We caught up with vocalist Lee Broadbent during a break in their rehearsals for the album. We spoke about the album’s inspiration, Boca Juniors, and his deportation on Cabbage’s first trip to Russian soil.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Lee. How are you?
Yeah not too bad. I think we’re all getting a little bit of normality back in our lives which is very much appreciated after a bit of a torrid spring and summer. We’ve been rehearsing since lockdown started easing, so we’re just getting prepared for the album – this completely different type of album release which a lot of bands are experiencing this year. But you have to live within your means don’t you?
You do. Getting that live feedback for the tracks has just gone now hasn’t it?
I must say I’m getting slightly dour about it, I didn’t realise I’d miss playing gigs this much. Well I suppose it’s the period of time. I’m not too sure where we’re at with the R-Rate and venues and theatres opening up. I don’t even know how it would possibly work, getting a punk band performing with socially distanced audience, it is quite a bizarre outlook.
Your debut, Nihilisitc Glamour Shots, could have easily been written in 2020 listening to the lyrics, did you time travel?
Well we’ve always tried to keep topics as modern as possible. I kinda see there’s two things that artists want to sing about. It’s either love which comes with heartbreak and tragedy and all that; or there’s society and politics, and we’ve always tried to be as on point with society as we can. Obviously not coming from any real educated or philosophical background, its a very normal view of what we’ve experienced, saw, read and divulged and interpreted.
And the new album, Amanita Pantherina, where did that title come from?
It’s a toxic mushroom with psychedelic effects, so if used correctly there’s a thing in it that creates this effect in the brain which feels like a repetition syndrome. We heard about this on a Joe Rogan podcast, its where the idea for Amanita Pantherina came from so we thought it was a fantastic metaphor for the way society and politics is at the moment. They just keep stumbling and repeating the same mistakes, over and over again. I do feel progression is slowly coming, but I feel that with every step there’s stumble. So we thought it rounded really nicely and linguistically the name ‘Amanita Pantherina’ is a really beautiful phrase, I’ve never heard a phrase that roles off of the tongue as beautifully as that does.
You’ve actually hit the nail on the head there, it often feels like we make a bit of progress in society followed by loads of hate…
I do feel like social media has brought us back to behaviour like in the Roman times. Watching people being killed by Gladiators, it’s almost like we’ve reverted back to how things were in the past. It’s a little bit scary sometimes, but as long as we keep progressing as society, inclusion is at the forefront of it and no one is being victimized; no one is held down or abused then hopefully we will get somewhere eventually. Hopefully. That is the task that us artists want to keep trying to bring to the forefront of culture.
It seems like you guys are writing more introspectively now as well though. As we’ve been in lockdown have you still been able to write this album collaboratively?
It was all written pre-lockdown. In fact lockdown put the album on hold for three months. So this was due out in May/June. Then lockdown hit us real hard and we decided to take a step back, follow and adhere rules as much as we could. September seemed the most logical step, so when the lockdown truly started we were actually within a week of announcing the album.
It is definitely a less angrier album. The topics are still in there, embedded in the music. We’re approaching 30, I say approaching we’ve still got two or three years yet; but I feel like 30 is on the horizon, so I don’t think that the angst has carried over so much.
I think we all chill a little more as we get older right?
(Laughs) I think it will go full circle for us. I think as we approach 40 we’ll get more angst again. I’ve always used art as a cathartic experience.
In June you were part of Tim Burgess’ listening party on Twitter– how was that?
That was incredible, during lockdown I imagine a lot of people in the industry are probably starting to feel a bit down. I said to Owen it felt like a pick me up from doing the menial every day things, we’re missing playing our music. To then see a load of people speak about stuff that you kind of forget is really nice. A lot of positive feedback, again a lot of people appreciating ‘Young Dumb and Full Of…’ [The band’s first collection of EPs from 2017] it was quite a record.
It’s weird because it’s not actually counted as a record, it was made as a record, we wanted to make an album, but because we hadn’t released anything prior apart from the Le Chou EP us and the management had the brilliant idea to split it up and release it as three EP’s and then as one full product at the end. It absolutely worked. It’s funny as we see Amanita Pantherina as our third album but it’s technically not.
I was chuffed when I saw the song title ‘Leon The Pig Farmer’. He’s obviously a big advocate for men’s mental health.
Yeah that’s what our song is about. It’s about Leon The Pig Farmer (the stage name of the Manchester dwelling Yorkshireman and spoken word artist Jack Horner) telling me this poem in a pub garden and me having the chills running down my spine as he explained it to me. This was just on the verge of him starting his project. I had told him that he had to pursue this and do something with it. I went home that night and rejigged an old song, then made it a hell of a lot punkier. It’s one minute and 59 seconds and I’m sure he won’t mind me saying, I bumped into him after it had been recorded and mastered and I played it to him, he was welling up and I was welling up. That’s the power of music though isn’t it?
A lot of people tell you to, but there’s not enough people in the world who open up. You need to open up. If there’s one thing that any human being shouldn’t do it’s containment of any form. You just need to look at the horrifying suicide rates around the country. People don’t deal with things on their own very well at all. If you’ve got them issues then it’s important that you open up in any way you feel comfortable.
The Boca Juniors thing is so cool – how did that all happen?
It didn’t that’s the actual badge!
Everybody has been talking about that though (laughs) that is the power of Twitter isn’t it. One of my mates sent me a picture the other day. He said have you ever seen a picture of the Boca Juniors kit? I said, “No”, he said have a look at that. I looked at the badge I said, “Fucking Hell it says CABJ”! They’re not actually called Boca Juniors they’re called Club Atlético Boca Juniors (CABJ). Yeah so I’ve just taken it for myself so I’m going to buy a shirt and run with it. I think every album I’m going to thank Boca Juniors for the continued support of Cabbage!
— CABBAGE (@ahcabbage) August 31, 2020
We noticed a Ukrainian track has popped up on your Spotify page, what is going on there?
That’s actually quite good ! Unfortunately though that’s not us. If you go down to the bottom of our Spotify there’s also this random single ‘The Blue Feather’ – we’ve protested to Spotify, we’ve even had conversations with the guy that runs UK Spotify, but it still burdens us on our Spotify. We put the EP and then that appeared first. We just can’t seem to get rid of ‘The Blue Feather’.
Maybe it is all part of a Russian hack?
I did actually get deported from Russia once, from Moscow.
They took one look at me and sent me back. Cabbage’s first exploit into Russia! I had a page missing out of my passport so they arrested me, fined me £20 for travelling to another country without having the correct identification and they sent me on a flight home after sixteen hours in a Russian cell!
That’s the story of Cabbage. Wait until the documentary comes out I tell you!
Is a documentary on the cards?
We had a couple of people follow us around and film us for probably the first year and a half of the band, but now he’s a councillor so he hasn’t got time.
Where are you looking forward to playing most when this is all over?
We always have choice cuts to be fair. Anywhere like Brighton, Bristol, Liverpool, obviously Manchester’s number one and definitely Glasgow as well.
Thanks for your time Lee.
Thank you, it was great talking to you.
Cabbage have since announced their 2021 tour dates including stops at Leeds, Manchester and Nottingham.