Interview with guitarist Alfio Alivuzza of The Cairos

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It’s no surprise to us that Brisbane band Cairos won Triple J’s ‘Unearthed’ series a couple of years ago. The four-piece’s brand of infectious indie pop has earned them an extensive following, and since forming in 2008 they’ve already shared bills with the likes of Julian Casablancas (think: The Strokes), Powderfinger, Temper Trap, Jet and You Am I.

Hot off the heels of a series of dates throughout Asia, Cairos kick off their ‘Dream Of Reason’ album tour of Australia, with the first gigs happening in WA, before heading to NSW, SA, VIC and QLD.

Cream chats with guitarist Alfio Alivuzza about everything music.

 

We loved your EP ‘Colours Like Features’, especially the track ‘We All Buy Stars’. Can fans expect similar dreamy soundscapes on your debut LP ‘Dream Of Reason’?

The writing and recording process for ‘Dream of Reason’ was a breath of fresh air for us. We spent a lot of [time] writing and demoing at Alistar’s [vocalist/guitarist Alistar Richardson’s] farm out of town. We acquired a bunch of gear with mics, new computers, etc, and did it all ourselves. We ended up with over 100 recorded songs and had to narrow them down to a final 12. It was the first time we could be honest with what we really like without being influenced by the radio and what was happening around us. There are still elements from ‘Colours Like Features’ but there’s a lot more happening and we’ve matured a lot as song writers and wanted to make honest music rather than three-and-a-half-minute jangly guitar music.

 

 

Narrowing down 100 songs. How on earth did you pull that one off? It must have been mind-racking…

Well we were all generally writing every day. Myself and Ali both have different recording set-ups and spent the most part of an entire year writing. In the end the songs that made it just seemed to fit. It was sad having to let some songs go, but in the end it was evident [which] songs just seemed to fit.

 

 

Nick DiDia was on board as producer and mixer. Rock music lovers might know his production and mixing style from work with Rage Against The Machine and Bruce Springsteen. Did you worry that critics would expect a far rockier sound from the album?

Does that mean critics don’t like rock? Ha ha. We knew when Nick came on board that we were going to have a real professional experience. Right off the bat, Nick responded to us in a real positive manner. He gave us the confidence to perform at our best and, most importantly, he became our friend as well as a mentor. There are moments on the album where we do utilise his knowledge of rock but there were moments where we would add layers and textures that he usually had strayed away from. So I think it worked well both ways.

 

 

There’s also a DiDia/Powderfinger connection there; and Ian Haug of Powderfinger also features on the album. Have you guys been friends or associates for long?

Ian is like the Godfather of the Brisbane music scene. From when we first started out he was always there for advice in the good and the bad times. Having Ian play on the album was an experience we’ll never forget. He also shreds a mean solo!

 

 

With all of you contributing to the song writing, surely there must be some arguments? Have any of you started out writing a song and then seen it totally change in theme by the time the other three have contributed to it?

Absolutely. That generally happens any time a song is brought to the table. We aren’t session musicians; we’re all involved in this as a collective, and if our own efforts individually change the music, it’s generally for the better.

 

There are a broad range of themes on the album, from obsession to madness to, finally, resolve. Are we really living in mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up times?

Yes. And I love ‘Game Of Thrones’.

 

Speaking of mixing things up and being subjected to information overload, what do you think of the new digital media as a means of getting your music out there?

Music definitely has been the most accessible than it’s ever been to date. In turn, the simplicity of how music can be put out and heard means an overload of bands being created weekly because it just seems too easy; and making a fresh band now and doing something people want to hear seems even easier. It’s created a formula now: fashion, bedroom, internet, radio. Music makes the world wonderful, so the [digital] means of releasing music is great for those who are genuine about writing music, otherwise in a way unfair for the little guys that tour constantly without being popular online [who] get left behind.

 

 

 

Final question, and a cheeky one: You guys have a bit of a ’50s meets ’80s look going on. Do you ever get flak about the tucked-in t-shirts and long, long hair (Reuben in particular)?

Not at all. Sometimes when we are on the road and have to stop off in a country town in the middle of nowhere we surely get looks. But it’s 2014; people should be able to wear whatever they want, and however they choose, without getting hassled. Plus Reuben gets all the girls, so surely he’s doing something right.

 

 

 

The Cairos’ debut album ‘Dream Of Reason’ is out May 9 through Universal Music, and available on iTunes.

The band will tour Australia in June (dates and ticket links below).

Alfio Alivuzza is pictured far left in the band, top of story.

 

 

THE CAIROS ‘DREAM OF REASON’ TOUR

 

THU 12 JUN | THE BRIGHTON, MANDURAH WA

FREE ENTRY

 

FRI 13 JUN | THE ODD FELLOW, FREMANTLE WA

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

SAT 14 JUN | AMPLIFIER, PERTH WA

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

WED 18 JUN | SOSUEME @ BEACH ROAD HOTEL, BONDI NSW

FREE ENTRY

 

THU 19 JUN | THE GREAT NORTHERN, NEWCASTLE NSW

Tickets available from www.bigtix.com.aucairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

FRI 20 JUN | TRANSIT BAR, CANBERRA ACT

Tickets available from www.moshtix.com.aucairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 GET TIX | All Moshtix Outlets

 

SAT 21 JUN | GOODGOD SMALL CLUB, SYDNEY NSW

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

SUN 22 JUN | THE BRASS MONKEY, CRONULLA ACT

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 02 9544 3844 | All Oztix Outlets

 

THU 26 JUN | HERITAGE HOTEL, BULLI NSW

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 02 4284 5884 | All Oztix Outlets

 

FRI 27 JUN | PIRIE SOCIAL CLUB, ADELAIDE SA

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

 

SAT 28 JUN | DING DONG LOUNGE, MELBOURNE VIC

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

SUN 29 JUN | BEAVS BAR, GEELONG VIC

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

 

THU 03 JUL | THE NORTHERN, BYRON BAY NSW

FREE ENTRY

 

FRI 04 JUL | ALHAMBRA LOUNGE, BRISBANE QLD

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

 

SAT 05 JUL | THE SPOTTED COW, TOOWOOMBA QLD

Tickets available from cairosnovaheart.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets

 

 

SUN 06 JUL | SOUNDS OF SUNDAY @ BROADBEACH TAVERN, GOLD COAST QLD

FREE ENTRY

 

SAT 12 JUL | SOLBAR, MAROOCHYDORE QLD

Tickets available from www.oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545 | All Oztix Outlets