“I am waffling shit, aren’t I?” Lee Broadbent asks. “I’ll try and speak with the best linguistic talent possible.” Waiting backstage having warmed up for a headline show miles away from their hometown, Cabbage are raring to demonstrate exactly how much they’re capable of. “I think what we’re doing is tapping into what a lot of people talk about in the pubs and in the streets and in the bedrooms,” the frontman ponders. “I recently watched a documentary that explains the internet’s algorithms…” he begins.
Delving into an in-depth description of media echo chambers and their downfalls, Cabbage aren’t ones to shy away from challenging the status quo. Having made their name with songs about everything from wanking in quiche to Communism in North Korea, that much has been evident right from the start.
“What the western world needs right now is for people to be outspoken,” Lee declares. “Musicians and artists alike should just team up, really open the world up. Instead of living in this trapped Facebook entity, we should be breaking free and speaking to people.” Sure, their morals may be idealistic, but their determination towards them is part of what makes Cabbage such a dynamic act to encounter.
They might have only been creating and performing together for a year, but the BBC Sound Of 2017 tipped outfit have rocketed to the forefront of attentions in record time – and the hype is catching on fast. The band, however, remain unfazed by the excitement as it continues to build around them.
“The only idea we wanted to do when we started was record an EP,” Lee recalls. Twelve months and four EPs down the line, the group were quick to say the project was “something worth sticking to.” “We’ve been completely taken aback by the sales, and even more so, the attitudes of the crowds,” they marvel.
“To get out in places that we’ve never headlined is a really fucking elated feeling. You don’t really expect it, do you?” Lee quizzes. “Especially when you’re just a bunch of drunk bastards from Mossley recording songs about Jimmy Saville and Tony Blair.” Put like that, the whole thing might almost seem like a joke, but presented with such a raw integrity, there’s no shirking from the fact that every move Cabbage make is one they firmly believe in.
“A lot of people refer to us as a breath of fresh air,” Lee depicts. “I guess it seems important to everyone else, but to me it’s just a creative output. This has always been my life. It’s just how I put it into an art form.” Driven by dissatisfaction and a desperate need for action, Cabbage’s music is a rallying cry for purpose built to shake the masses into motion.
“We basically get our Aleister Crowley on,” the frontman alludes towards their inspiration. “We get the occult table out, and one of us has to cut each other up and find little hidden gems inside our souls.” Right then. “It all comes out into a beautiful song at the end of it,” he assures, laughing.
“We spend so much time on tour that when we finally get to the practice room it’s like there’s this sombre existential pain to get rid of,” Lee offers, more seriously. “That’s where the songs come from.” Using all their spare moments on the road to scrap together demos, it’s when faced with the sobering glare of the day-to-day that Cabbage’s sound takes its shape.
“For me to have this message and to become a bit of a poverty-stricken artist, to spend my life on the road conversing with people…” Lee trails off in amazement. “That’s where the essence of Cabbage is, I think,” he concludes. While the band are quick to acknowledge there’s a certain romanticism in the struggle for success, they’re accustomed to the reality of where they find themselves.
“If we made a load of money in the future, God knows what kind of shit we’d be putting out,” they laugh, before stating that they’re “just a band that want to go out there and bring fucking joy.” “I don’t know whether life’s testing me and just putting me in this situation where it’s forcing us into being this essence of what Cabbage believe,” Lee mulls. “The essence of Cabbage is nothing more than that non-conformist message.”
It’s that active nature that Cabbage want to spread. “If you hear our music, you should take that and go do something else in your own art form,” Lee enthuses. “Not that I believe that art is the answer to all the issues of the world,” he adds. “I just think that if you’re involved in any form of creative output, that’s a good place to start.”
With four EPs under their collective belt, this is only the beginning. “Our intent as a band is to write an album’s worth of music a year,” Lee reveals. “Expect it,” he grins. As convicted by their own drive and proficiency as they are their beliefs, the outfit are ready to face the next year head on. “Hopefully, come February, we’ll come off tour in December,” the frontman laughs. “I hope so anyway.”
With the promise of more material built from “the emotions of how we feel about the western world at the minute,” and an abundance of live shows that combine “an element of disgust” with “a lot of violent nudity,” Cabbage are keeping everything turned up to eleven. They might be brazen, but there’s no shirking the conviction they carry. “I’m happy to rub people up the wrong way because I believe it’s for the better of man,” Lee proclaims. Sure enough, you won’t find another wake-up call quite like them.