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Feature Interview: The Cairos

the cairos

Brisbane based pop band The Cairos have been making waves since the release of their track ‘Obsession’ from their up and coming record to be release early next year through Island Records. Currently in the so called intermission between part one and part two of their current Australia wide tour in support of their most track release ‘Obsession’, The Cairos took the time to chill out and speak to AAA Backstage about their new record, their recording process and returning from one of the more exotic tour locations.

It’s 1 pm and I’m running around Woolongabba in the blistering sun trying to find the location where I’m to meet Brisbane pop rockers, The Cairos. On my hand the ink from the scribbled down address is dwindling and fading fast as sweat covers my entire being. Flattering.

Eventually the address given to me leads me to a radiator and automobile repair shop.

“Ok, I’m definitely in the wrong place” I think too myself as I slowly and disconcertingly enter the business’s office

“Ummm hey…” I unconfidently verbalize, “I’m from AAA, I’m here to -.”

“Are you Zac?” Asks The Cairo’s bass player Reuben; lounging out in the office and looking much more relaxed than a sweating and panicking me.

“Hey man it’s really great to meet you! Thanks for coming to do the interview man!” Reuben says beaming with enthusiasm that really knocks me off my feet.

Sweet relief.

From there I meet the remainder of The Cairos, with the exception of the illusive drummer Jacob Trotter, and the shoe gaze, pop loving, super charming lads show me their home and their studio space; nestled in and around this auto repair shop.

“It’s a great space really. Because it’s in an industrial area we can sort of be as loud as we want and practice whenever.” singer and guitarist, Alistar, mentions as we stroll through the factory.

It’s and odd but an equally enthralling image: amongst half deconstructed cars and workbenches; mattresses and beds litter the unoccupied space. Instruments are scattered around and have to be stepped past as I am given the grand tour of The Cairos own personal haven. Sure it may be a little cluttered but the space reeks of creative potential and opportunity. Honestly it shouldn’t be any other way. 

The location where I’m meeting The Cairos though just happens to be one of many they have available to the band in order write, experiment and draw inspiration. While within the shed, the lo-fi, less refined charm of a functioning factory may influence their sound, Alistar and guitarist Alf note how several tracks from their upcoming album were inspired by time spent jamming on farmlands both on the Sunshine Coast hinterland and at Alistar fathers farm, south west of Ipswich. 

“ It [Alistar’s Father’s farm] was the perfect isolated farm environment.” Alistar explains. “Though the demos we made their came a back a little country-ish.” the singer jokes.

Though their soon to be released debut album may elude the country-ish sounds born in such environments, it’s clear through such enthusiasm they discuss these spaces that they have had an integral part in developing the band that The Cairos is and how they define themselves within the Australian pop scene.

 “It’s always been really great having these big open, spaces available to us.” Alistar concludes. 

Returning the conversation back to cluttered cityscapes of Brisbane, we walk through the shop; Alistar and guitarist Alf explain to me their writing process.

“Because we have a computer upstairs and one downstairs we can sort of be working on two things at once.” Alistar notes as he points out the bands tiny jam room.

As I’m shown their ready to go recording gear and current instrumental set ups, Alf opens up the impressive and equally complex recording programs the band use while Alistar explains to me the true beauty of their pseudo studio set up.

“Just having the gear set up and the mikes all there and ready means that whenever you have an idea you can just sort of make the whole thing happen. You can just spend a whole day on it and make the song happen.” Alistar mentions.

It’s fairly apparent that the set up has suited the band to a tee, allowing them to explore and experiment any source of inspiration they find. There’s no stopping them and The Cairos are a creative run away train with a red-hot engine and broken brakes.

Discussing the writing over a year long process for what is to ultimately become their debut album, Alistar and Alf note that the difficulty wasn’t in making music, but in choosing which of their songs was good enough to make it onto the record, to make the cut to put it, ironically, bluntly with a choice of over one hundred and twenty complete tracks composed. 

“We can show you! We have the evidence!” Alistar adds.

As the tour continues I’m shown the sights: The sound proofed dungeon where they band jams and records earlier demos, the kitchen/living room/bedroom hybrid. Upstairs I’m taken to small bedroom room that overlooks the entire factory floor. The room is astoundingly rustic in it’s sensibilities and could very well be mistaken for a Colonial American cabin, were it not for the impressively shiny Apple desktop sitting in the corner.

Call it the perks of the job but The Cairos are a generous group and play some new, yet to be released footage from their most recent overseas short but sweet tour through Singapore and Vietnam, a sort of prelude, or pre tour for their current Australia wide Obsession tour. It’s a beautiful montage of a journey that was a little too quick for the band but illustrates the key experiences The Cairos had as they explored South East Asia – their live shows, the long bus rides, the time spent waiting for flights, exploring Hanoi’s densely populated and claustrophobic streets, witnessing the vast and torrential seascapes of Ha Long Bay.

It’s an interesting place to tour, one that few Australian bands and much fewer international acts have the opportunity to visit.

“The Australian Embassy had some interest in us going over to do some stuff at an [The Blue Dragon] Orphanage as well as play some shows.” Alf says, while Reuben sits and quietly strums away at an acoustic bass.

“It was great. We got to have a white board and write up the chorus of one our songs and teach them how to sing it.” Alistar explains nostalgically. “And they sung along and beat drums and played guitars.” 

The band reminisces fondly about the experiences they had only their incredibly short taste of South East Asia. The experience was deeply rewarding for The Cairos. To them it was surreal yet unforgettable experience that not only served to further the good nature of the bands members, but also signaled as a hallmark for The Cairos and how far they’ve come in their five years together making music. 

The Cairos were originally expected to perform at the annual CAMA Festival, the nations most renowned music event, however due to unforeseen circumstances the festival was cancelled within the eight and a half hour plane trip between Australia and Singapore.

“The festival we were meant to play was cancelled because the General [Vo Nguyen] Giap passed away.” Alistar says. “And so there was this week of mourning when we were meant to play and the gig got cancelled.”

Still despite the unfortunate deaths of National Heroes, the Brisbane boys made the best of an awkward situation, playing sets in Hanoi they well worth the hours in Transit. 

Alistar smiles as he thinks back to the shows played overseas.

“The night was so good.” Alistar exclaims. “It was so well set up and they put it on really quickly… it was just the perfect way to start the [Obsession] tour.” 

Though The Cairos are back on home turf after a very quick run, they’re very excited about the prospect of returning overseas for a more substantial tour noting that they have met some great friends and connections that they hope will help them to return to Asia. Still despite all the longing to travel overseas, the prospects are looking good for The Cairos in preparation of part two of the Australian Obsession tour, which we the band playing almost everywhere including the Northern Territory, which the Brisbane boys feel doesn’t get enough love. That’s the sort of friendly people The Cairos are.

It’s incredible but before long I realize that we’ve been talking for twenty minutes. It’s been a majestically humbling time and before I know it I’m making my way back down stairs, past cars and guitars, past workbenches and keyboard. The Cairos, just like their music, are a completely inviting, warm and humble people, a group I am incredibly thankful to have had the opportunity to meet.  As I thank them again for the interview they in turn thank me for taking the time to talk to them. What a bloody pleasure it was.

The bands have big things on the horizon and will almost certainly strive to achieve greater things as they continue down their incredibly promising path. Obsession, if this interview is any indication at all, illustrates just how capable and deserving The Cairos are in everything they have achieved and will go on to achieve. Their debut album comes out early next year and will undoubtedly be on my most anticipated albums going in to the New Year.  

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