10 Questions with…The Cairo Gang

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1. You guys are best known for supporting Bonnie “Prince” Billy (although, these new tracks seem to be challenging that). Tell us about how the Cairo Gang shifts between being a band with its own creative freedom and playing back-up for Bonnie “Prince” Billy.

The Cairo Gang has been an evolving project. Mostly in the past it has been just an outlet for my own songwriting. I have been working with Bonny for years and when we decided to write together it was just that. It’s less of an issue of creative control as much as as the band evolves, it takes on different personalities and it is expressed through the natural push and pull of collaboration.. When we were doing the Bonny/Cairo thing, it was a band in its entirety. Now there is a new version of The Cairo Gang live. The record, this newest one, was made entirely alone. It’s the first record I have ever done that way. I wanted to play something with a lot of energy and a I wrote the songs, I recorded them and I didn’t see the point in re-recording them.

2. Is the name of the band connected to the group of British intelligence officers who were killed by the IRA and ushered in the infamous Bloody Sunday?

It was named after it. The name has a ring to it. The meaning goes deeper and it is a long and very cool hung discovering how the name makes sense..

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3. For our readers who haven’t had a chance to listen to the fantastic Tiny Rebels, let them know what they should expect from the Cairo Gang.

Tiny rebels is a rock and roll record.

4. Enough about you guys, tell us a bit about what books you are reading?

Right now I am reading a book a friend of mine Dmitry Samarov wrote called Hack. It’s about his time as a can driver in Chicago. I just started it so I can’t say much more at the moment.. I been reading a few biographies. Full Moon about Keith Moon written by his personal assistant. It’s hilarious and sad, but written in the speak of the guy Dougal who was there with him all the time. It has a glossary of slang in the bak which is hilarious. I am about to start a Waylon biography. Recently I have been reading a few books of René Daumal. Mount Analogue which is great and A Night Of Serious Drinking, which I love. Along with some poetry. Also some stuff by Flann O’Brian. The Third Policeman and some journalistic stuff of his under the name Myles Na’Gopaleen.. I can’t recommend it more. He is great.

5. Is there an author out there that you guys would like to collaborate with on an album?

Alfred Jarry, but I believe he may be dead..

6. Our readers are primarily writers, tell us a little bit about your writing process?

As it goes, I have a tenuous trust relation with myself and so when I do have trust, things come and remain, things get more confusing the more skeptical I get. I enjoy spending the first couple hours of the day writing..

7. Where do you struggle as an artist?

My struggles are more about finding a home. When I don’t feel like I need one, everything is good. That can mean a bunch of things. I don’t necessarily need a location for that. In fact I feel better in my van than anywhere else..

8. Authors are entering into the age of digital downloads much like musicians did over the past decade, what’s your opinion of digital books? Good, bad, precursor to the apocalypse?

Everything changes and I can’t be too upset by it because I don’t think it would be spending my energy wisely. Maybe change is good. I still like books. And records. I think others do too. We are supposed to be creative people. Since when is it that we are completely chained to the material that which our work is rendered? Music is in the air. And literature is in the word.. We might be talking about money. If that is the case than I hope we stop talking about money..

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9. The majority of our contributors and readers are working on books for kids. Looking back to when you were younger, what book really hooked you?

I loved the one about the Chinese brothers that had the crazy powers. Or Where The Wild Things Are. I didn’t fully enjoy reading anything real until I first left home..

10. Favorite book?

The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy

Turn it up to…bonus…11. What’s next for the Cairo Gang? And what books will you be bringing along?

Making more music and trying to find our way to your town. I think I will bring books. I am going on a tour in a week and will bring the Waylon book.