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Davis, California

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A slice of cake

Whatever happened to music that not only made powerful statements but also created an impact on its listeners? Obviously, it’s been in Sacramento this entire time.

Renowned alternative rock band Cake was formed in 1991 and consists of singer John McCrea, trumpeter Vince DiFiore, guitarist Xan McCurdy, bassist Gabe Nelson and drummer Paulo Baldi. Cake has released six studio albums so far; their latest being Showroom of Compassion. Their music incorporates numerous genres such as country music and Mariachi to create a unique sound.

Today and Friday, they will be dropping by UC Davis to give a blowout performance at Freeborn Hall.

MUSE sits down with Vince DiFiore for an exclusive interview.

Will this be your first time performing in Davis?

DiFiore: We have performed in Davis before. We played at the Whole Earth Festival and at a wine store before. However, it’s been a long time since we’ve had a show near Sacramento.

How does it feel to play at a university where the demographic of fans were probably two or younger when you guys first started playing?

It’s great. It’s funny how fast time passes and your orientation in music changes. Our orientation with the audience has not changed, though. We’ve always been about winning over the crowd. Our music is relevant to whatever’s going on. People may be born during different times but songs are songs and music is music. I try not to get shocked at the changes. It’s less and less of a generational gap, especially when we all show a common world view toward current events.

What is your greatest thrill about performing live? Can you share your greatest memory of a live show?

I like the energy of the crowds and being among a group of people who have their energy raised. It’s my job to meet that, to create a one of a kind experience you can’t find that anywhere. And you really can’t find that kind of feeling anywhere else. Greatest memory? That’s kind of hard, but a recent show in Mexico City would be a great example. Mexico is our neighbor but it seemed so foreign. People don’t go there much and most would rather go to Europe. But Mexico City has so much pride in their city, their country. We may have better living conditions but they seem so happy with their lives that it’s just like, wow.

What is your favorite song to perform live?

I always like to do “Frank Sinatra” – which we frequently do. It resonates well with the crowd and the band. There’s also “Federal Funding” off of our new album. It has this great dark, moody feel. There’s this great dark energy which ends up making it a very funky song.

What is your process of composing music like? Do you create melodies or lyrics first?

Lyrics are written first and then melody comes naturally. We work on it together – write hooks and everything else. It’s arduous and cumbersome but we constantly keep working on it until it gets finished. The process is very hard to tell. Sometimes it’s a couple of months or it may even take up to a year. Our latest album took three years to finish.

What were the sources of inspiration for your latest album, Showroom of Compassion? And how did you come up with that name?

It’s sort of about the difference between the life you’re living and the life you’re feeling. That’s what the title means. A lot of the songs are about people’s perspectives toward their love relationships and how commerce affects us, influences us the way we are. It’s not just a guy’s relationship to a girl but it’s also this general attitude to the world out there. It reflects a certain amount of personal responsibility.

Cake has a lot of ongoing side projects? Can you tell us more about your project, Federal Funding March?

I’ve become a spokesperson for the Federal Funding March and I’m excited for it. Bands who want the music sheets can download it for free. Just Google it and I’m sure you’ll find it. We recently came up with an idea to make it more fun. Bands who submit the best rendition can have their own music video shoot and even Yamaha is thinking about donating instruments to the winning band. We’re currently looking for celebrity judges who were involved in high school marching bands and having them choose the best submission. So, look out for that real soon.

What are some words of advice to college students who are currently in bands?

Enjoy it! That’s really the only thing I can think of. Everybody I know who’ve been in bands say that they had the best time of their lives. They make long lasting friends and it’s an experience they’ll always remembered.

What can fans expect from your upcoming performances?

I think they can expect more of a group even than they’ll realize. It’s something that will add identity to the audience attending, which will be more than they expect.

Any last words?

Yes! Check out our website, cakemusic.com or like our Facebook page to keep up to date with us. On our website, we’re always posting things such as where we are when we’re touring. We also post interesting current events that catch our attention. We really put thought into what we put on our site so it’s not just random things that you’re reading.

One can purchase tickets at Freeborn Hall. Tickets are $37 regular, $42 day of show.

MICHELLE RUAN can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.

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