Monthly Archives: March 2016

An Interview With: Magdy, Cairo Son’s guitarist and vocalist.

Inbetween The Screams (ITS): First off, congratulations to you guys on the release of the new album, Storm Clouds, it’s a stunning album.  You have to stand back and be proud of that but it must be great to finally get it out there, it’s been a while since Heart Against The Feather? How’s the album being received?

Magdy: Thank you very much! Yes we are definitely very, very proud of ‘Storm Clouds’ and we are delighted to see how much love we have been receiving from everyone about the album…it’s a great feeling for sure!!! It’s been a long time coming, the last album was released back in 2012 so it’s great to finally bring something new into the world.

Cairo Son 1 @gaynor9876

ITS: A new line-up since then too, with Rico and Dave coming in. How did you find them and what have they brought to the Cairo Son table? Guitarists can be notoriously difficult to work with. What would you say the other guys would pinpoint as your best and worst traits?

Magdy: Yes it’s a new line up since the last album. Rico joined in the summer of 2014, originally together with another drummer. I met them at a Harley Davidson event and they were playing in another band on the same bill…I guess you could say I head hunted them ha ha!!! Things unfortunately didn’t work out with the drummer and he left. I had met Dave a while back and then bumped into him after our drummer left. We started talking and it turned out he was a drummer so we got him into the studio and things have been going strong ever since. Ha ha yeah, I’m definitely not the easiest guitarist to work with but I’d like to think that they both saw/see something in me. Worst trait…I’m a perfectionist. Best trait…I’m a perfectionist!!!

 

ITS: Is it fair to say that Storm Clouds is a departure from the first album, Heart Against The Feather, sonically? To me Heart Against the Feather wears a very strong blues hat whereas Storm Clouds is a lot dirtier with a real overdriven vibe, definitely Jerry Cantrell on this compared to Richie Sambora on the last. Is that a conscious change or just a natural evolution in your playing? Who lights your six-string fire at the moment?

Magdy: Yeah I think that’s fair to say. I have been inspired and influenced by so many different styles of music, bands, singers and guitarists that I just let whatever comes out, come out!!! I’ve always been into the heavier side of rock music and it’s just evolved that way I guess. Having Dave and Rico now in the band has really shaped our sound nicely…it’s awesome. Both of them are great musicians and I think we have something great together…Cairo Son is finally a band!!! I couldn’t tell you at the moment who is my top guitar player cos I’m always learning from everyone. I recently went to see Eric Bell and I learnt a lot just from that one gig!

 

Cairo Son 2 @gaynor9876ITS: The Les Paul Custom is a real cornerstone of rock history. I see there’s also a 335 in there too. Is this a Gibson thang……? Anything else lurking off-stage hoping for a return to the six-string spotlight? How and when did you pick the Les Paul Custom up? I see you have also embraced the Blackstar range of amps? Is that for the flexibility in the modelling available? It’s hard to leave the Marshall family though, yes? Is it always Marshall’s for gigging?

Magdy: I love my LP Custom, I picked one up sometime in my early twenties and yes there’s a 335 in my arsenal but it’s not necessarily a Gibson thing. I love guitars and play a variety depending on what’s needed. I still love my fenders, first guitar I bought with my own money was a fender strat. I have a very good friend, John Chapman, who has built me an awesome strat and is currently building me a tele…his brand is called ‘Chapter’ guitars! Amp wise, sorry to correct you, I’m not a Blackstar Amp user…not sure if you’ve seen it in the background somewhere in a photo but I’m a Marshall man…always have been. But I also use fender amps too. The bigger the gigs we do the more amps I’ll be using on stage ha ha…I’m looking to get a good Orange amp too, think they are awesome and it does suit our sound for sure…just waiting for Orange to give me one if any reps are reading this ha ha!!!

 

ITS: Gareth Johnson is the constant between the two albums, as producer. Tell us about your history with Gareth. Are you easy to work with in the studio or is there a perfectionist demanding control? Did you record live as a band? There’s a real ‘live’ feel to both albums.

Magdy: Gareth and I go back years, we are the same age and met back in 2001, something like that. We have a great working relationship when it comes to recording and stuff. We have the same musical taste and influences, plus he’s an artist in his own right! Me as an artist, I have to be able to have faith and trust in the person who’s producing our songs and Gareth is the kind of person who I would trust with my heart if I had to take it out and ask him to take care of it!!! Gareth is a legend….plus, if he’s good enough to work with The Who then he’s definitely good enough for Cairo Son!!! I am a perfectionist in the studio but again I listen to what he has to say and it becomes a collaboration between us and him. We did record live but with the obvious recording method of getting drums and bass down first with me playing along and then me tracking all the guitars and vocals afterwards. However, ‘Storm Clouds’ was a one take…drums, bass and electric guitars. I then again tracked the acoustic guitars and vocals later on. That was definitely something that the boys and I are very proud of…10 minute song in on take!!! Yeah we were very happy with that!!!

 

ITS: Let’s go back to the beginning. I am a firm believer that music isn’t just a passion, it’s more of an amazing addiction, you have to constantly feed it because it will never let you sleep for long, it will always be tugging at you to play. It can take you to the highest high, it can help you through the lowest lows and it will always be right there with you. How did your addiction with music start? Any family influences, musicians in the family? Why guitar and what was your first? Who would you say your main influences are, musically?

Magdy: I have to give credit really mainly to my mother. She introduced me to The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton and a whole bunch more. My father too deserves credit, he was a big Cat Stevens and Bob Marley fan plus all the Arabic music he listened to when I was a child. Neither one of my parents are musicians or play any instruments but they both have supported me from a very young age. My first instrument was the piano but then I got into Guns’N’Roses at the age of 9 and remember wanting to be Slash. My father bought me my first electric guitar and amp, which I still have! A Dean Markley amp and a Yamaha RGX312. I am heavily inspired by bands like Soundgarden, Chris Cornell being my favourite singer, Alice In Chains, Down, Alter Bridge (Myles Kennedy is fucking amazing), Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin but I also have roots in blues and it was actually Richie Sambora who inspired me to go for it as a career. I guess I just have this massive cocktail of influence that makes me who I am today as a musician. But I do have to start making more of an effort to find newer, fresher bands of today cos last thing I want to be is ‘dated’.

 

ITS: So where does this journey take you next, Magdy? What’s on the horizon for Cairo Son? Is the Troubled Man satisfied and is there a bright new horizon behind those Storm Clouds? Storm Clouds

Magdy: Hmmm, good question. Well, band wise we just want to move forward and continue doing what we love which is creating new music and playing them live to an audience. That’s where my strengths lie…I’m a performer and I love being on stage. Not because I’m a show off or need the attention, quite the opposite. I hate people knowing my business, even though my lyrics are honest and from the heart as I’ve been told. But I am a musician and I have something to share and if folks want to hear/see it, great. If not, they know where the door is! Hopefully ‘Storm Clouds’ will make some noise and we can tour it before we start recording a new album but we really, really just want a chance, just like any other band…we are no different to anyone else! If you’re asking about me as in myself…who knows.

ITS: Well thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule Magdy, it’s been a pleasure chatting. It’s great to get behind the music and let people see what inspires and motivates the bands creating a buzz. We are looking forward to catching up with you on the road soon.

 

Storm Clouds is a self-release on Cairo Son Records and can be purchased via the bands website www.cairoson.com

You can follow the band on Twitter here: @Cairo_Son

On Facebook here: Cairo Son Official

On YouTube here: Cairo Son YouTube Channel

On BandCamp here: Bandcamp

Many thanks to Gaynor @Gaynor9876 for the pictures taken at the Storm Clouds album launch.

Lead Image  by Real Gig Reel with no rights implied: Link

Cairo Son – Storm Clouds album review.

I’m a musically eternal optimist, forever hoping the next track that I listen to will blow my mind; the next band I see will create a defining moment in time; the next contact on social media eliciting a plea to listen to their bands new single that’s set to ‘take the world by storm’, will at least be palatable enough to get beyond the first chorus. Sadly and frequently, eternal optimism can be crushingly disappointing!

There’s such a tidal wave of music out there ethereally vying for aural attention that sometimes it all just blends into a beige cacophony of nothingness, grand statements of sterility, voluminously vacuous………………… but still I live in hope for salvation, of enlightenment.

I follow many bands who get in touch and will usually engage with most initially, often with no real expectation of progressing any further than number bumps on the followers scale. But sometimes it’s a worthy exercise and you find real gems, niche artists, bands deserving any promotion they can get. And so, proudly waving my ‘fortune favours the brave’ flag, last week I opened a Twitter message from a band who had recently followed me called Cairo Son who were throwing out a ‘Hi and thanks for following us!!! Check out our video for our new single ‘Devils Tongue’’ message replete with a link to their new single via their YouTube channel. My curiosity was piqued but my expectations were held in check.

London based Cairo Son are a band who instantly look like they belong. Whether it be ripping apart Barfly or owning the Saturday night headline slot at Download, they LOOK like they were put on this earth to fulfil a clear objective, rock and fuckin roll.

CairoSon promos - 2015

And rock and fuckin roll they certainly do!!

This is not a band who mask a lack of substance with a calculated ‘on-brand’ style. If vocalist and guitarist Magdy, bassist Rico and drummer Dave look like they could be staring off the cover of the latest issue of Rolling Stone, they carry a heavy, riff laden punch that would knock most pimped-up, preening pretenders clean off any stage. There is a tightness to their sound, a heavy Cantrell-esque expanse of brutal savagery, interleaved with melodic heaviness that leaves you questioning whether you missed an announcement that a new post-grunge super-group had been born from the ashes of bands that defined your life. I’m sure there is a story behind them but right now, with the launch of their new album Storm Clouds, the solid follow-up to 2012’s stunning Heart Against The Feather debut, the headlines should start to write themselves.

This is an album that should take centre stage in any ‘repeat play’ line-up. From the dark intricacy of the opening riff and hook of the first track, Lost In The Shadow, this album demands the spotlight. Vocally, Magdy has the ability to emote on a very engaging level, imploring you to believe that he has lived every tortured moment of the sublime lyrics. This isn’t a band devoid of experience. Second track, Lion In A Cage, and the following track and latest single Devils Tongue, define just how cohesive this band are. They create a sonically surging powerhouse of a sound with a rhythm section that drives relentless pillars of power that allows Magdy’s guitar and vocal to deliver that killer punch. You can’t pull a standout track from the six on offer with this album. Each instantly hook you in and mainline straight to your brain. Give Me Strength, the penultimate song on Storm Clouds is a stunning, pulsing beast that builds melancholy layer on melancholy layer to a fevered climax but it’s the closing track Storm Clouds that elevates this to a ‘MUST HAVE’ album for me. It is one of those tracks made for the intimate gig but with the menacing latency to devour a festival crowd.

And in that sentence resides everything that should have Cairo Son as a name that trips off your tongue when discussing your favourite bands, gigs that will forever remain in the emotionally etched memories of ‘I was there’ moments. This band rock, REALLY ROCK. They are not pretenders. To me, this band are the downright clearest example of how the music establishment is so fucking lost because, while the mainstream rock music stations are airing the bland and banal there are bands as good as Cairo Son who are not getting the attention they deserve and this desparately needs resolving.

So go out and rectify that right now…… buy this album, go see them, contact your favourite venue and implore them to book these guys, request songs by these guys from your favourite station because ROCK MUSIC needs them and YOU need them……Seriously, if you only buy one album from a band you haven’t heard of before, make it THIS ONE!! Stunning, absolutely stunning.

10/10

Gary

ps.. checkout the acoustic set from The Whisky A Go-Go on YouTube (see below). Incredible!!!

Storm Clouds is a self-release on Cairo Son Records and can be purchased via the bands website www.cairoson.com

You can follow the band on Twitter here: @Cairo_Son

On Facebook here: Cairo Son Official

On YouTube here: Cairo Son YouTube Channel

On BandCamp here: Bandcamp

Images by Real Gig Reel with no rights implied: Link

Calling All Astronauts: Anti-Social Network – Review

Let’s be honest right from the start, if you have any past exposure to Calling All Astronauts, either live or in any physical or digital recorded format, you will know what to expect and ultimately, are unlikely to be disappointed by Anti-Social Network. This album has David B’s influences waving their flag and stomping their DM’s all over it. Sometimes this can be a distraction, but on the whole influences are there because you have a passion for their origins, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, it’s what attracts an audience to an artist and holds them.

For those new to the CAA arena, imagine a glorious orgy of post-punk, industrialised goth, infused with techno, and some dance music where Andrew Eldritch sings with a Johnny Cash sneer over a sea of infectious melodies and that’s what CAA’s new album delivers.

And whilst David B emotes his 21st century visions he is ably abetted by J, piling on the sonic onslaught on guitar and Paul McCrudden interweaving bass lines through the orchestrated aural foundations that underpin CAA music.

Standout tracks for me are Time To Fight Back, a track up there vying for the attentions of Prodigy and their newcomers, and the last track on the album, Divisive, a sure fire live monster in the making.

However, for me this album is a slight deviation from past work, in that there is at times a sparse, bleak undercurrent to it and as a result it appears more deconstructed, less crushingly relentless than debut album Post Modern Conspiracy. Where the sonic vista almost appears too sparse it is pulled back from the industrial abyss with hooks that pin your attention back on the sneering vocal. What this temporal release does bring is a roller-coaster ride through the album, defined peaks and troughs, like a wild chemically induced ride. Personally, Living the Dream wouldn’t have been my opener, I would have gone for the more representative Empire or Hands Up.

In all, definitely worth a listen if you are curious what the bastard offspring of an industrialised, punked up union of Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy would be like and undoubtedly it is a worthy addition to your collection if you are a fan of any of CAA’s previous work.

Anti-Social Network is released on Friday 11th March 2016 and is available via the usual outlets.

More details on Calling All Astronauts  via Facebook or the prolific Tweeting @CAA_Official or subscribe to their YouTube channel Via YouTube