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Cairo Knife Fight - Cairo Knife Fight tear it up with Shihad, Airbourne and I Am Giant

19 Nov 2014 // An interview by RYAN KERSHAW
 

You have just finished up your Australian leg of the tour with Shihad, Airbourne and I am Giant. How was Aussie?

Great. Its easy to forget that we think of Shihad as ours but Australia feels a similar way, they have a following over there that’s pretty dedicated and they come out to see them in good numbers.

The guys from Karnivool (great band) lent you some gear on the recent Australian tour. Did you come across any other Aussie bands that you haven’t heard of before?

There’s not much time for getting out and seeing anything and the tour tends to become a motorised cocoon that doesn’t let much in. The guy playing guitar with me on this tour has another band called The Occupants that was the only other music I heard outside of the tour. They’re a really interesting band I think will be all over the radio soon.

You guys are playing some mint venues on this tour - The Mount, Matakana, Cathedral Square – sounds like a road trip most of us would like to take. Which venues are particularly looking forward to, apart from all of them?

Cathedral Square in Christchurch for NYE, without a doubt. It’s my hometown and we haven’t played there for quite a while.

Your latest single/video Rezlord was released in late July/Early August. It’s nice to see a band doing well whose players are good at their instrument, and who aren’t overproduced. How have you felt that track has done in your live set?

It’s gone over very well. Both of the new singles have actually. It’s a great feeling to see new music fitting into the set, especially when some of the older stuff goes back a few years now.

A lot of artists like to ‘leave the song open to interpretation’. Sometimes there is symbolism or metaphor and sometimes it’s just a fucking song and should be listened to without overanalysing. There’s probably quite a range of opinion of how the vid relates to the music, but how did you come up with the title Rezlord and can you give us your thoughts on what the video says to you

The song and the video are about power, who actually has it and who is under the impression that they do. Karl from RedYeti did a great job of demonstrating that through the images he chose to use in the video. The title is meaningless; it was a working title that stuck. I like the way it sounds. Seems to suit the sound of the track.

On the playing side of things – Nick, do you think that drummers who are beginning to learn or be in bands can benefit from trying vocals as well, even if it’s just for backing vocals? How do you go about practicing the two? I guess it depends on the song in the end?

It’s probably fair to say that the best drummers in NZ are all making music of their own, and doing it very successfully. This goes to show just how many musical ideas would be lost should those characters simply sit behind a drum kit exclusively. Singing is one way of adding to those gifts and if you’ve got a decent voice you probably should try and develop it. Having more skills and more options to create is never a bad thing.

As far as practicing it? Doing it is the only way really.

As well as playing it pays to know a bit about the business side of things. Have you experienced some negative events as a band that you have had to overcome or learn from?

Oh yeah, absolutely. Every band has those moments if you stick at it long enough. We’ve some crazy things go down. Probably best to keep them to myself for now and write a book or make a documentary in the future.

You have separate management for Australasia and the US/UK/Europe. How did that evolve and how do you find having management for separate areas?

If you’re endeavouring to work in territories that far apart, you’re going to need people on the ground to make things happen. Tom Larkin looks after us in Australasia and Kirk Harding in the US etc.  Both of them know their territories well so there’s no point having too many cooks getting in each other’s way.

Kirk came on board after seeing us play at NYC’s CMJ festival a couple of years back. Tom feels like he’s been around forever but it was probably at the same time.

As mentioned before a lot of musicians appreciate Kiwi's like yourself who have done well while still remaining true to your sound. As well as management, bands can benefit with booking agents. Would you mind giving some advice on how to approach or work with an agent as an originals act?

Agents are vital, I think so anyway. Some people do the whole thing themselves. If you’ve got a following and the time to dedicate to it without it getting in the way of the work, then you should exploit that opportunity, but that’s not for me.

Generally you need to start things off yourself. We did loads of touring ourselves (booked entirely by me) before anyone else came on the scene. If you’re making good music and getting out there around the country, agents will hear about it and probably find you at some stage. If that doesn’t happen then the best thing you can do is simply get in touch with an agent who’s doing things you like. It’s a small country so it’s not hard to find people.

Respectful approaches by bands that are serious about what they’re doing and have put in the time and effort for 1-2 years with a track record of performance generally don’t get dismissed easily.

Back to the tour in NZ– what are you looking forward to the most?

Just getting there and getting it done. I’m a pretty simple guy at heart.

Is there going to be some room for jamming on stage or do you stick to a pre determined set?

There’s always a little room here and there but we don’t have hugely long sets on these tours so there’s not much room for getting too carried away.

The other bands that you are touring with – have you seen them all live before or is there a band that you haven’t seen that you are looking forward to checking out?

We’ve toured with Shihad and I Am Giant before so it’s more a case of catching up with mates there. I’ve never seen Airbourne before and I’m intrigued, I really do want to see what they get up to live.

Any words for the fans that are getting amped for the shows?

Get there early! We’re first of four bands so hopefully there are enough of you there to help us get things going!

 

About Cairo Knife Fight

Cairo Knife Fight is Nick Gaffaney, a man who has drummed his way around the place for many of New Zealand’s leading songwriters, and George Pajon Jr, a Grammy award winning songwriter and guitarist who has worked with some of the biggest names in the international music business including The Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Carlos Santana, Macy Gray, John Legend, Sting, Nas and Damien Marley. Forming as a duo in 2009 Cairo Knife Fight try to redefine what two musicians can create live with Nick combining the responsibilities of playing drums, keyboard bass, creating live loops and lead vocals with George’s seemingly limitless guitar soundscapes and incendiary riffs. The bands long history of dedication to pushing the boundaries of music video content has also seen them achieve viral status with their 2014 single Rezlord being viewed more than 11.7 million times.

In short order the band shot to the attention of the public after gaining a standing ovation from a packed Opera House in Wellington following their support set for UK act Gomez in late 2009 and being hand picked by Them Crooked Vultures to open for their New Zealand tour in early 2010 July 2010 saw CKF release their self-titled EP. The first single This is Love was included on the NZ Radio Hit Disc for mid 2010 seeing it rated as one of the songs of the year. The EP went on to be nominated in the 'Best Rock Album' category at the New Zealand Music awards in 2011. 2010 also included a trip the NYC to perform during the CMJ festival (while not actually a part of CMJ the band came to the attention of several members of the team and found themselves on a CMJ bill at the Bowery Electric) and touring Australia.

2011 was an extraordinary year for CKF. It began with a NZ tour with NZ's rock hall of famers Shihad in January before Them Crooked Vultures front man Josh Homme once again requested CKF to be the opening act for his Queens of The Stone Age NZ tour in February, which was disrupted by the deadly earthquake in Cairo Knife Fights hometown of Christchurch. While dealing with the aftermath of such an horrendous event the band took solace in recording the follow up EP II, released in August 2011 to 5 star reviews and top 40 chart placing’s, and to appear as special guests of the Foo Fighters for an earthquake benefit concert in Auckland, NZ. CKF rounded out the year by again joining the Foo Fighters onstage at Western Springs in Auckland, New Zealand in front of 45,000 people for the band's Wasting Light tour. The concert is considered one of New Zealand's biggest ever stand-alone shows.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Cairo Knife Fight

Releases

Seven
Year: 2017
Type: Album
The Isolator
Year: 2015
Type: EP
The Colossus
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Cairo Knife Fight II
Year: 2011
Type: EP
Cairo Knife Fight
Year: 2010
Type: EP
Iron
Year: 2009
Type: Album

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