Edmund Cake (aka Edmund McWilliams) is a bit of a cult figure in New Zealand music. Most local music fans would be familiar with his most famous group – the bizarre but super-poppy Bressa Creeting Cake. Others might know his later solo material under his own (fake) name or as subsequent releases as Pie Warmer.
Cake has always been a dab hand at creating generally humorous and thoroughly eclectic pseudo pop music that spread-forth into many different stylistic directions. From banging a drum-kit in the garage with tree branches as Egz, to scoring a bFM student radio hit as a 13 year old with The Gutter Wizards:
Eventually McWilliams formed Bressa Creeting Cake with his school friends Geoff Maddock and Joel Wilton in 1991. The group were very popular on the bNet college radio circuit, and on New Zealand’s youth-orientated TV shows like Ice TV. The videos for ‘Papa People‘ and ‘Palm Singing‘ were everywhere circa 1996-1997.
Eventually Bressa Creeting Cake went their separate ways, with McWilliams finding himself more and more in demand as a studio engineer and producer. He worked with both Tim and Neil Finn, Bic Runga, and The Clean – though some unlucky moments threatened to derail his career.
McWilliams found finding a home for his solo full-length debut (a tight pop package called ‘Downtown Puff‘) quite a hard effort, despite working alongside Neil Finn on the soundtrack to Christine Jeffs critically lauded film ‘Rain‘. Thankfully after spending two years in limbo the newly established Lil Chief Records (home of contemporary popsters such as The Brunettes and The Nudie Suits) came to the rescue.
The album featured contributions from both former Bressa Creeting Cake compadres (Geoff Maddock and Joel Wilton – also members of Goldenhorse), along with a plethora of others in a small capacity. It’s a brilliant record; full of little details and a real warmth. For me the highlight is the upbeat ditty ‘Oh Baby Bear‘, – full of kiwiana and quirky vocal harmonies, but the albums got something for everyone.
McWilliams followed the album with more high profile production work – an album each for Don McGlashan and Anika Moa. Unfortunately during Moa’s recording sessions the studio he was working in almost burnt down due to an accidental fire, fraying McWilliams nerves, which were only compounded by negative label feedback about Moa’s recordings.
Though McWilliams suffered a breakdown, he was soon back on the creative path with a new duo called Pie Warmer (partnering Tamasin Taylor of The Nudie Suits). The duo released their debut ‘The Fearsome Feeling‘ on Lil’ Chief Records in 2009.
- Edmund McWilliams (Egz, The Gutter Wizards, Bressa Creeting Cake, Rik Starrr, Pie Warmer, guitar / bass / drums / vocals / production)
- Downtown Puff (2005, Lil’ Chief Records, LCR006)