Saturday, August 25, 2012

Truckasauras talk DANTASIA with Robin Stein

Truckasauras will be closing out Vibrations festival this year with a three-channel VHS  masterpiece: "Dantasia,"  which has only been performed once before at Vermillion to a small and unwitting crowd.    

Truckasauras continually push to the periphery of the expectations put upon them as Seattle band, or even the expectations of what it means to be a band. Having easily maintained a regional reputation as a raucous speaker-blowing analog-authentic outfit, and for their impromptu street throw-downs ;  Truckasauras' reach and identity has gone further - being featured recently in the exhibition Soundworks at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art) in London.  Bothell Trance -  their exploration of phasing in superimposed rhythmic structures - was featured as part of a companion exhibit to the ICA's staging of a major Bruce Nauman sound installation. Perhaps this pairing is just as appropriate as performing with Flying Lotus or Egyptian Lover. 

Dantasia is merely one portion of the multi-part unveiling of Truckasauras 2012, which is to culminate in October with the release of their third LP on the equally adventurous brooklyn-based label: The Journal of Popular Noise. 

I had Tyler Swan of Truckasauras to answer a few questions about what they are going to be doing on Saturday evening. 

Robin Stein: Can you explain what Truckasauras 2012 is?

Tyler Swan: Truckasauras 2012 is a series of local events we put together to exercise ideas that don't necessarily work in a normal tour type show. Culminating in the release of our new album.

RS: Can you describe a bit what you're going to be doing for Vibrations festival? What is Dantasia  and The Ultimate Beginners?

TS: For Vibrations Festival we are doing an encore presentation of Dantasia featuring The Ultimate Beginners which is an audio/video presentation done with two VCR's, a video sampler and three projectors. 

RS:  What was the process for composing these videos and songs?

TS: It's all made out of samples from an instructional music VHS series called The Ultimate Beginners. Chopping them up to make songs then matching the video sample to the audio samples used.

RS: What led you to working with The Ultimate Beginner tapes and what influences went into the process of creating Dantasia?

TS: Danbo [Dan Bordon] made a video back in the day by chopping up the vocal instruction tape and it kind of became a Truck classic. He kept finding tapes from that same series at different thrift stores until he had a whole stack. Keyboards, drums, bass, guitar, vocals. This gave Dan the idea to chop up and combine them to make a full band. We call this band The Ultimate Beginners.

RS: What's unique about using only The Ultimate Beginners series as source material for making music and videos?

TS: It's cool, it worked really well. All the tapes are like the intro first lesson for each instrument. They all teach the same stuff. It's all blues scales, open chords, C major, A minor type stuff. So they all went together really well with tempo and harmonics. It's like they were already playing together.

RS: Can you talk about the constraints of your equipment (synching VHS tape decks,   the midi video deck, only using a single source material…) and how it informs the way that you guys create this kind of piece?

TS: It falls into what the whole Truck thing has been. Limitations of gear creating a style. You can try out different styles and ideas and that limitation kind of keeps a cohesive thing. Also we have been experimenting with having no sync and the chance occurrences with that. The VCRs are cued manually creating a slightly-different-every-time type of thing.

RS: In the process of doing Truckasauras 2012, what are some things that you have gotten excited about (music, art, whatever...) as a product of this project? Things that might inform what you see coming up for you as a band.

TS: During all of this, Ryan has really gotten into building a modular [synth] and a lot of ideas have popped up with that. Also the Dingus and the Buttfucks[*] , live drum stuff has been inspiring.  

[* Dingus and The Buttfucks - an all live drums incarnation of Truckasauras]

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chocolate Grills & Bananas Arrangements: an Interview Between Erik Blood & OC Notes

With collaborations being something of an unofficial theme with this year's VIBRATIONS festival, we thought it would only be proper to curate a collaborative interview between two artists involved. So we had Erik Blood & Otis Calvin (OC Notes) hook up to pick each other's brains a little bit. Take a glimpse into the minds of two of Seattle's perennial musical geniuses, who just so happen to be making a record with each other! 

Erik: So you came up in the south end like me. Black mother, white father, like me (or is it the other way round?). When you make your music, you do it alone, like me (though I have my people who I rely on for drums and extra ears). Here's my question. Why haven't we started a religion together so that we can make some real money and stop living like poor people? I think we could bring a lot of peace to this world, no?

Otis: Both of my parents are actually black, my grandfather was adopted in the midwest and there is a suspect unclear history on that whole situation.  Either his mother or father was white but we can’t get the adoption records so we will never know.  I dont care anymore.  All I know is that my light skin has been an epic headache in my life.  I’m hated on by whites and blacks, I’ve always felt like an alien.  Starting a religion has always been a back up plan of mine.    Growing up in church with a preacher dad I feel like I have learned the game.  No disrespect to the church but I’ve seen a lot of hustlin & hustlers in church, I think my church swag is pretty hard.  Reverend swag on a million.  I think we could have one of the most loving and effective churches in the game.  I’m all about love, peace, & taking care out your earth brothers and sisters.

 Erik: I'm right there with you. My whole life people think I'm trying to "pass for white" like it's the fucking 1950s or they're steadily trying to figure me out. Had a guy come up to me in a bar and say "what's a nice Jew boy like you doing in a place like this? I could tell by your nose." ?!?!?!?!?!?! But we learn to not give a shit. Just being is all we can do.

Not to bring up old shit, but when I first heard your record Secret Society, I though you'd been spying on my dreams. That track "Nowhere" is one of those jams that made me jealous as fuck. But since then, you've put out three more records (maybe 4?) and your sound keeps evolving. How the fuck do you make so much good music and never repeat yourself?

Otis: good question.  I enjoy makin music, I make music no matter what my mood is. I do it because i like it and its fun to me, it makes me feel good.  I dont like sounding the same.  I’m influenced by far too much sound to stick to just one sound.

Erik: Yes! No one should survive on a steady diet of one sound.

 Art=god. Music=my religion. For me, Prince=Jesus. Who's your Jesus?

Otis: The one from the Lebowski movie.  Him or ODB. Swag.

Erik: I know we gotta get back to work on our collaboration soon. But what's this thing you're doing for VIBRATIONS and what are we going to hear from you the rest of 2012?

 Otis: I guess I’m doing some sort of improvised collaboration with the white rainbow cat Adam.  Should be dope. He's a boss.  As far as the rest of 2012 goes, I’e got a record comin out entitled "pre future post modern love songs: aka alien booty bass" I’m very excited about the record. No samples, a lot of singing.  I wrote and played all the music on the record, I’m really proud of this one. That & our collaboration are the 2 things I’m most excited for this year.  I want to perform more this year outside of Seattle too. I can’t tell you too much though, next thing I know somebody in the town will start bitin.  Chocolate grills.

Erik: Can't wait to hear that new shit. And our collaboration is going to blow some minds. Honored to be working with you.

Otis: You’re in the top 3 nicest people I’ve ever known in my life, you’re also one of the most humble ninjas I’ve ever met. How did you end up meetin Shabazz and what was the first meeting like?

Erik: Aww. Thank you, sweetie! I met Ish through my good friend and mentor Bubba Jones while they were working on Cherrywine. I dropped my copy of Blowout Comb at his studio for Ish to sign for me and while he did that, Bubba played him my old band, The Turn-Ons, album "East". I didn't meet him in person until a Spiritualized show a few months later and I was a straight up starstruck nerd. He was a hero (still is) and he was so gracious and cool to me. After that we talked about working together for a couple of years until we started the first Shabazz sessions. 

Otis: You grew up in Tacoma durin the lawless 90's in its prime time.  What was it like growin up around so much gangsta shit as a spirit in the package of Erik Blood?  I feel like you would have gotten mad love from OG's since you’re such a genuine and unique spirit that doesn’t front, was it like that or am I totally wrong?

Erik: Tacoma was a strange place then. The violence was becoming not only commonplace, but admired by stupid ass kids. I had a gun pulled on me by a kid who "thought I was someone else", got hit in the head with a rock and my jacket stolen a block from my house, and had to be careful who called me by my full name in public. That said, I had people around me all the time who weren't into being a part of that shit. I just stuck to the sidelines, played video games, and made music. 

Otis: Were you in any bands as a youngster, if so, what was your first band, what instrument(s) did you play, & what kind of music did you play? Cover songs? Original tunes? Were they good or bad?

Erik: I did a lot of bedroom recording as a youngen. For a very short time I made shitty beats for my friends who rapped. I had a short lived hip hop crew called Young, Gifted, and Black that was...of a time. Middle school. Picked up a guitar after hearing Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine when I was 16 and retrained my brain. No bands until I was 21 when I joined Mountain Con and was their DJ/producer. That's my sorted past. 

Otis:  I listen to your records all the time, I feel like you make the music that I hear in my head but I have trouble getting it out. Your sound is lush as fuck, your arrangements are bananas. How do you manage to make it all happen?  Is it difficult wranglin up musicians to play your music & do you have trouble sometimes gettin cats to figure out the parts to your songs?

Erik: Again, thank you and right back at you. I don't know how it happens. I sometimes hear a complete song in my head for weeks and then I just put it down piece by piece. Usually it's not exactly what I had in my head originally, but that's how it goes. Other times I just sit down and let shit come out. I've worked with so many cool cats who play music really well, so I just try to get them to play with me. My whole band is poached from bands I've recorded. Sometimes it's a little hard to get people to learn my shit, but the folks I fuck with are the real deal so they get the hang of it. I'm eternally grateful to them. 

Erik Blood and OC Notes are playing Cairo's VIBRATIONS festival on August 25th at Volunteer Park! Thanks for your time guys. IKJ

Interview with Vibrations Band DETECTIVE AGENCY!

One of the many awesome bands playing at Cairo's Vibrations Fest is Detective Agency, a local four-piece band inspired by 1960's girl groups, ABBA, and Elvis. 

The band stopped by Cairo the other day to drink champagne, answer some questions, and try on some sweet gear. Check out their photos and read their interview below, and come see them perform TOMORROW at Vibrations! 

 Nate, Gwen, Uli, Amy

Have you ever played a festival before? 
Yes! We've played SxSW twice, and BeachTreat 2011, up at Golden Gardens. 

What was your best tour memory?
Uli-- I liked it when we played in Vancouver at 3:30 AM, at this place when everyone was on drugs in a big warehouse. It was so sweaty and it smelled like garbage. But it was really fun!
Nate-- my favorite memory was going to this random dude's apartment-- he said it was a "business", but really it was a guy sitting on the couch watching Point Break. nice guy tho. 
Amy-- I liked playing Bellingham. It was in a house of people I used to know and a lot of new people. I really like playing in houses. 
Gwen-- Probably when I played with you guys for the first time at SxSW. I was trying to be all tough wearing all black and playing keyboards, when I didn't really know what I was doing. 

Biggest individual music influences? 
Uli-- I really like ABBA. Madonna's first album. Teenage Fanclub. 
Nate-- Elvis, The Anniversary's second album. That's when I started wearing tight jeans. 
Gwen-- Don't say that, it's so cheesy! I love Gun Club, The Clean, and The Normal. 
Amy-- I really like 60's girl groups. I listened to The Cure, The Pixies, and The Smiths growing up. 

How did you all meet and start? 
Uli--We started as a real detective agency! We were a detective agency because I really wanted to solve some crime. We all lived in Ballard and it was such a small neighborhood and we just wanted to solve mysteries. We wanted to put ads in Ballard in little newspapers and actually get cases. 
Amy--We started as a band here at Cairo! We added the name on the band map and decided to start playing music. 

What are your signs? 
Amy-- Sagittarius.
Uli-- I'm a cusp of Scorpio Sagittarius. 
gwen-- I'm a Taurus.
nate- Libra!

First concert? 
Nate-- Less Than Jake 
Amy-- David Bowie at the Tacoma Dome 
Uli-- I went to The Lemonheads. They opened for Soul Asylum. 
Gwen-- I don't wanna talk about it. I'll tell you about the time I snuck in to see Joe Strummer play at The Showbox, when I was 18. It was the first time I used a fake ID. 

What are you most excited about for Vibrations?
Uli-- To play outside and hang out with cool people and all the cool bands that are playing. 
Nate-- I am excited about all the good vibrations. 

What is next? 
We are playing with Dead Ghost, then take a break and record. We'll be playing more shows in late fall. 

Come watch Detective Agency tomorrow afternoon at VIBRATIONS in Volunteer Park! See you then!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


With VIBRATIONS snapping at our heels, its time to start thinking about packing your bag for the festival!

Here's what we came up with:

  • Protection from the sun. Stop by Cairo for a hat and shades, and bring sunscreen. 
  • Cash. Bring some dolla-dolla billz for buying snacks, treats, and goodies at the festival!
  • Disposable Camera. For making memories.
  • A Friend. For making memories with others.
  • A Smart Phone. For instagramming, recording live bands, texting yer friends to come to Vibrations, and Googlemapping the closest bathroom to the festival grounds. ;)
  • Snacks. We will have healthy and delicious food options for sale, but it doesn't hurt to bring some apples and nuts in case you're feeling a bit peckish!
  • H20. Durrr, bring water, 75 degrees and sunny ALL DAY.
  • Blanket. Bring a blanket. We have them for sale at Cairo. It's going to be a long day of fun, so stop and rest awhile!
Stop by Cairo before Saturday to bask in our excitement for the festival, or bring your own to VIBRATIONS at Volunteer Park! Hurrah!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

CAIRO TAPE CLUB #2 gets release during VIBRATIONS 2012

Cairo is proud to bring you the 2nd volume in the Cairo Tape Club series. In conjunction with the Vibrations Music Festival, the tape features live recordings from Mark McGuire, White Rainbow, Spencer Clark, and a special collaboration by U.S.F/Secret Colors. All songs were recorded live at Cairo by Dylan Wall and are limited to 100 copies.  

Stream it now, or PRE-ORDER yours today.  We'll have them on hand at the Cairo booth during Vibrations!  

Cairo is also offering a free download of the sold-out Cairo Tape Club #1The tape features live recordings from Expo 89 and will only be free for one day only. (August 24th, 9am-9pm PST which is when the "cost" of the download will go from $500 to FREE).

Friday, August 17, 2012

VIBRATIONS 2012 Mix #2 by Witch Gardens

We're pleased to present HOOP, the second Vibrations 2012 mix by one of our most-loved acts, Witch Gardens. "It features a selection of our favorite songs mixed with deep archival footage from the WG Vaults. Please enjoy! We love you & see you at the festival!" 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

new retail experience PRISM in BALLARD by cairo

Cairo is introducing a new curated retail experience in Ballard. Please visit for more info.

WARM UP for Vibrations 2012 with this new mixtape from Jason Baxter of U.S.F.

Burning Chrome is a Vibrations 2012 Mix curated by Jason Baxter from Seattles' electronic duo U.S.F.  In addition to being half of U.S.F, Jason is also the full-time publicist for Sub Pop sister label Hardly Art, a freelance music journalist, and co-author of comic book series Trip Fantastic.     

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Interview with August Artist, Photographer Timothy Rysdyke!

Announcing the newest exhibition at Cairo, featuring “I Think You’re so Famous: Hillebrity Superstars” by photographer Timothy Rysdyke. The show features a collection of new and archived photographs of local public figures displayed on Timothy’s photo-expo Hillebrity. It will mark the one-year anniversary of the Hillebrity website, as well as the debut of the photographer’s Andy Warhol-inspired “screen-tests” of selected hillebrities, which will be on display for the opening on Thursday, August 9th
I had the pleasure of interviewing Timothy on Seattle's one day of blistering heat last week, which was conducted inside after a failed attempt to bear the hot sun. Tim and I discussed self portraits, family life, and study drugs. Check out photos and his interview below! 

Holding a self portrait

What were some of your inspirations for your first show?
Andy Warhol. I came up with the idea of this because I was talking to a friend about Andy Warhol and the whole Factory scene, I don't know who I love more…Andy Warhol or Edie Sedgewick. They had a really interesting, complex, volatile relationship. I have also been really interested in feminism and gender roles lately, so I've decided to only include women in my show.

What was the impetus for Hillebrity?

Hillebrity started because I am such a little party kid. I love running around at bars and talking to everyone. And I love photography. It started so I had an excuse to go up to strangers at a bar and say, "Hey, can I take your photo?" It kinda just happened. I was always in a bar and always had my camera. And, I am personally obsessed with Capitol Hill.

Where are you from, and how does it affect your art?

I'm from upstate New York. I didn't really like the people that I grew up around in my town. I mean, that's a generalization, but there weren't a lot of interesting people or unique people or free thinkers, or people who dress quirky or any of those things. Now I'm in a place where I look around and everyone is themselves, and I find it so interesting.

Do you have a favorite book?

I'm going to have to go with Dave Eggers' "You Shall Know Our Velocity!" That or Miranda July's "No One Belongs Here More Than You."

So much of your work has to do with style; do you have a style icon?

Like, someone I look up to because of their clothes?

Do you have someone that you look up to?

Miranda July. For three reasons. 1. She's funny 2. She's a weirdo 3. She does everything. She's a writer,  filmmaker, performance artist, and she's a visual artist. She's a renaissance woman.

Tell me about your column in The Stranger.

It's called What You're Not Wearing. Recently I got an email from someone that was asking about my column, and subject of the email was,"help me settle a debate between me and my friends". Then they asked me if "what you're not wearing"  is whether you should be wearing it, or shouldn't be wearing it. I just stop people on the street that I think are wearing something interesting, but I never give my opinion about the clothing. I more so think of myself as a documentarian. Sometimes I'll take photos of something that is much different from my style: I would never wear it, but I still find it interesting.

How did you get so obsessed with Andy Warhol?

I think it's because we kind of share a lot of the same traits. Andy Warhol was a very obsessive person. Warhol just liked people, sort of, maybe. I really like people. We both just like really beautiful or weird looking people, or just weird personalities. I think we have some of the same artistic style, but I probably learned most of mine from him, honestly.

Tell me about your taco summer.

I am eating 500 tacos from summer solstice to the equinox. I take a picture of everyone one so I can keep track. There is a bunch of people that do it. Someone invited me to do it through a Facebook page. I was like this is the coolest thing I've ever heard. I just decided on the spot that I was gonna eat 500 tacos this summer. AND I WILL.

What is next?

I am  planning a Hillebrity drinkable gallery. I am making drinking glasses out of recycled bottles with Hillebrity photos on them, so everyone can drink out of these cups at the party.  It's drinking out of my artwork in a way, so essentially Hillebrities drinking out of cocktail glasses that have other Hillebrities on them, while I take Hillebrity photos of Hillebrities drinking out of Hillebrity glasses. I have to pee.

Describe your artistic style in three words?
Lost fucking boy.

See you on August 9th!

Friday, August 3, 2012

VIBRATIONS Saturday August 25th in Volunteer Park

SO HYPED to announce Vibrations 2012, the second annual Music & Arts Festival in Volunteer Park.  9 Bands, Art & Video Installations, Readings on the lawn, Vending by the best local artists, food, coffee, FREE popsicles, random tent building, and much more.  Over the next month we'll be releasing a series of mixes and interviews involving all of the artists you see below.  Check back often, or friend us on Facebook to keep up to date.  SEE YOU IN THE PARK!

Cairo is proud to Present Vibrations in Volunteer Park, sponsored by Whole Foods, KEXP, The Stranger, and Land Management

2012 Band Line-up:

Dantasia (a special project by Truckasaurus)
King Dude 
Night Beats
White Rainbow & O.C. Notes (special collab set)
U.S.F. & Secret Colors (special collab set)
Witch Gardens
Erik Blood
Detective Agency

We will have Video Installations again by I WANT YOU (formerly Dumb Eyes).  Check out their video round-up for Vibrations 2011

Memories of Vibrations Festival from Dumb Eyes on Vimeo.

We are very excited to announce the addition of Max & Graham this year, who'll be providing some epic art installations.  More visual artists to be announced in the next few weeks.

Also new this year will be a series of readings on the lawn between bands hosted by the fine folks at Mixtape Readings & April.  Full author line-up forthcoming....

Come chill in Seattle's most gorgeous setting, bring a blanket and some cash, we'll have vending by Cairo, Prism, &. Co JewelryPatty Pan GrillAnalog CoffeeWave BooksHigh Five PiesCMRTYZggnzla RECORDSHighfives and Handshakes Records, and many more.

ALSO available for the first time EVER will be the second edition of the Cairo Tape Club, a limited edition cassette series (numbered to 100), featuring three of the artists performing at Vibrations 2012 (U.S.F., Secret Colors, White Rainbow) as well as never before released 20 minute epic jam by Mark McGuire.  All sets recorded and mastered by Dylan Wall.

You can stream Cairo Tape Club #1 here:

Or buy one of about 10 remaining copies from our website