Frightening But Awesome

3 July 2012 | 7:03 am | Tyler McLoughlan

“Watching these other bands and how they interact has really made us aware of the battle between all of these bands to try to get people to stay for the main act...”

Touring usually goes something like this – travel for kilometres, cut sick on stage, revel, sleep, repeat. And one wouldn't expect anything too far different for Brisbane pop rock specialists The Cairos, who have been preparing for their first full-scale national headline tour this month by accompanying Bluejuice, Mutemath and Deep Sea Arcade on the road in consecutive months since April. However, the four-man party brigade has recently discovered the importance of also packing some extra-curricular fun into their touring schedule.

“Instead of driving and sitting around in hotels or friends' places, this time we've been very active about planning activities. It's very, very mature of us,” says bassist Reuben Schafer, tongue firmly in cheek. “I've actually worked out a way to fit a fishing rod in my bass case so I can fly around the country and float a line whenever I want… We're proper bush men,” he laughs, though tales of cooking freshly caught bream on their touring adventures and cave exploring with Bluejuice in Western Australia suggests a hint of truth.

“It was just wild, like the crowds that they bring – they're such party guys, partying afterwards every night. It was pretty great,” Schafer expands on Bluejuice's antics, before frontman Alistar Richardson adds his thoughts on Mutemath. “They were just one of the best bands I think I've ever seen just in terms of being such good musicians and they put on a show for hours… they just seemed to keep going from gear to gear…”

Their pre-season touring has put The Cairos in fine form for an eight-date national headline run in support of their Colours Like Features EP, their first release since signing with Universal imprint Island Records.

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“We've learned watching these bands that we need to put on more of a show,” says Richardson. “We usually just get up there and play our songs and it's like, 'Yeah, done,' but I think watching these other bands and how they interact has really made us aware of the battle between all of these bands to try to get people to stay for the main act...”
Having released two EPs, Lost At Sea and Summer Catalogue, The Cairos were encouraged to use the label machine to connect with a wider audience with the EP format again, rather than rushing headlong into an album. And Richardson can already see the strategy paying off.

“Just listening to [the singles] on the radio makes you really excited especially and a lot of people are singing along to the songs live and stuff – it's a strange feeling 'cause we never thought it would happen. It's just been like friends and friends of friends at gigs for years, so it's like these people – strangers – that actually know us. It's frightening but awesome.” He adds that the momentum has also resulted in their gaining manager Ted Gardner, co-founder of Lollapalooza and previous manager of Tool and Jane's Addiction.

Despite such solid wins over the past year, The Cairos are still just four good-time Brisbane lads living large on the road and finding inspiration in the everyday, which sometimes involves ex-girlfriends copping off with a best mate.

“Yeah it was one of my oldest friends since I was about six as well, so it was pretty shit. But I mean, we got this song [Shame] out of it,” Richardson laughs in good spirits. At the suggestion that perhaps more friends should make off with his love interests to maintain songwriting fodder, he's clear: “I don't think I want that… She reminds me every time she hears it as well, like, 'Did you have to tell everyone it was about me?' I'm like, 'Well, you shouldn't have done it'… Shame, shame on her!”