Interview: Cairo has Come, Sung and Conquered


Life is interesting these days for Cairo vocalist and primary lyricist Nate Daniels. When he’s not residing cairo-1in a poorly built Portuguese-style residence with no fixed lighting, or being sent home from work to deal with band business, Daniels is busy revealing his inner-workings when discussing Cairo’s stellar debut, A History of Reasons.

“I’m an emotional guy!” exclaims Daniels about midway through his conversation with

“Writing music is a very personal process for me,” is what Daniels explains to us. “I don’t do well in group writing situations, because I just don’t flow that way. Music is a channeling process. I’m not somebody who sits down and writes lyrics before the music. For me, it all happens at once. So for that to happen, there needs to be quiet and calm…it’s a meditation. Like any meditation, is has to be completely focused without the interruption of other ideas, opinions and ideas. My strongest material comes out of being alone in my room.”

Right now, there is a lot of noise surrounding Cairo. A History of Reasons has been very positively received by critics in an age where it’s easy to pick on a band that’s sound is audaciously orchestral, yet still melded with enough pop fuel to keep a diverse field of ears open and at attention.

“One of my biggest worries when making this album was whether if I was being too melancholic or whether I am being too idealistic in my song choices,” notes Daniels. “As a song writer, I tend to write ballad-like songs and I knew this album had a lot of that. I often wondered if I was writing peppy enough material, or if I was creating an album that was well-balanced…one that has movement and feeling. With this album, I had to let [those feelings] go, because the material that we were working with was strong.

“I do care what people think,” he adds. “I want people to enjoy it, because that’s why you write music…you do it for other people. As much as I want to say I write music for myself, that’s just never been the case.”

For Daniels, a lot of what led A History of Reasons to where it is today is the balance in which he and Cairo bandmates – Matt Sullivan (percussion), Caitlin Grieve (violin, vocals), and Dante Berardi Jr. (guitar, vocals) – displayed while finding a sonic and lyrical direction they were comfortable taking, all the while ensuring a high standard of quality control.

Although Daniels primarily uses his surrounding environment as fodder for his writing, that doesn’t mean he drowns out the breadth of material inspired by the challenges of being both a realist and an idealist. That said, it took him a lot of time to get comfortable doing this, not to mention grow into a better man and artist.

“I wanted to conquer my fears of my own creative self; my ego; love; and I wanted to conquer my fears about being a musician. All of that came together in one little and convenient pile when we decided to do this album,” confides Daniels.

“When it was finished, I literally felt like I conquered all of those things. I faced up to my fears. Going balls out and doing a full-length album and facing my fear of joining a label and performing in front of larger crowds…those all made me anxious. Those were huge hurtles that I had to overcome and having this album in my hands proved that I did it.”

-Adam Grant

Please be sure to follow us on Twitter @riffyou and at Home