Interview with Alistar from The Cairos
Veteran indie-rockers The Cairos have been off the grid for a little while now, but are back with a vengeance this year. From tour dates to brand new releases, we’re about to get a whole new dose of twanging guitars and hard-hitting lyrics. I caught up with vocalist and guitarist Alistar to talk past, present, and future.
Anna: You just played Valley Fiesta – how was that experience?
Alistar: It was pretty nerve-racking. It was our first show in quite a long time. We’ve been a band non-stop for years and years so for our own sanity’s sake we needed to take a big break to write music and have a bit of a different approach. So it was nerve-racking but it was awesome. We were so glad to get back into it.
Anna: Are you hoping to get back into more live shows after the break?
Alistar: Definitely. I love playing live, that’s just the best feeling and the best way of translating something that you’ve written. It’s like the real thing, you know, when you get to play live. Yeah, I can’t wait to do more and more shows.
I love playing live, that’s just the best feeling and the best way of translating something that you’ve written.
Anna: You’ve been around since 2007 – how do you think your sound has changed?
Alistar: I guess the older you get, the more you play, the more you start creating your own sort of identity. When you’re younger, you’re exposed to a bit less and it’s more of a scene thing. A lot of it is about friendship groups, almost, like who you’re associated with when you’re younger, whereas now I think we’re happy to be whoever we are and confident in our ability to do it ourselves.
Anna: What’s your songwriting process? Does everyone have a specific role?
Alistar: There is definitely no process to writing songs for us. It’s always been different and I think it always will be different. We’ve never really been a band to force out a song, it’s usually just about capturing some sort of moment, whether that’s if we just have a guitar or just a keyboard somewhere, if we’re jamming, if it’s all of us, if it’s three of us, if it’s any of us. It’s always a different process and I think it’s been something that we’ve always really enjoyed doing.
For me at least, when you have a really structured approach, you think about the end too much and you think about “is this good enough?” or “is this what I want?” which can get really frustrating. I’ve tried it a couple of times and it just definitely doesn’t work for me.
Anna: What are you most looking forward to about Jungle Love?
Alistar: I’ve got a few friends who have played it before and they just said it was the best experience. It has integrity, you know? It treats the bands really well, the crowds are really great. It’s one of those festivals where it’s a real event and a real occasion, rather than just bunching up as many people together and charging them crazy amounts of money. It’s really about local music, bands that are in it for the right reasons and promoters who really just want everyone to share a great weekend. That’s what I’m really looking forward to.
There’s the great mythology of bands from like twenty years ago being absolute rockstars and millionaires but I think our generation, at least the creative section of it, doesn’t really live that kind of lifestyle – music isn’t about that any more.
Anna: Do you think Brisbane fosters that kind of intimate music scene?
Alistar: We’ve always had such a strong music scene in Brisbane, since I’ve grown up at least. It’s always been a real community. There are just so many Brisbane bands that can be put together and really play so I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more often, but there’re definitely a few really good boutique festivals like Red Deer Fest and Jungle Love coming up. There are even more opportunities for local Brisbane bands to play, so yeah, it’s a really good strong scene.
There’s the great mythology of bands from like twenty years ago being absolute rockstars and millionaires but I think our generation, at least the creative section of it, doesn’t really live that kind of lifestyle – music isn’t about that anymore. I guess because there’s not as much money in the music industry, it’s just about all the people that are in it. The best thing about it is being able to connect to people and sharing ideas and stories — it’s so much better that way, I reckon.
Anna: What else can we expect from The Cairos?
We’ve been working for the last six months writing lots of new material, and we’re going to put our single out in the next few weeks. We’ll definitely announce a tour to play with the single and then we’re going to be putting out an album around mid next year. We can’t wait to get back out there, we’ve got the hunger and the excitement again which is good.