By Sebastian Mackay
I thought this day would never come... in fact, I'm so shocked by it I'm using it to justify this little preamble to my chit chat with the main man behind Cairo Knife Fight, Nick Gaffaney, (feel free to skip ahead). I'm about to intro this article with an AC/DC quote. Unfortunately, it ain't no clever quip about hitmen, murder, or indeed, knowing you must have let go of the Rudd-er to think you could pull that one off (see what I did there? Yeah...) in good ol' Godzone.
So here it is: "It's a long wait to the top if you wanna rock n roll!"
And Nick knows a lot about rocking, rolling and clawing his way to the top (more than the tooth brush bristle I just found in my mouth... hey, friendliness is next to cleanliness!) Cairo Knife Fight (CKF) has seen many incarnations but none of them quite like this.
No Longer Silent "was written about 18 months ago around the time that Obama was getting flak, I think it was from the Bengahzi thing, and it's about learning that people aren't what they seem and that political leaders will do and say whatever they can to keep their leadership."
Nick admits, in the next sentence, that it's a grandiose idea for a song, but fuck me, it's a pretty rad one.
"There's that grandiose side but there's also the other side, which is contemplating my own life. It's important for us all to think about, did you really want to say what you said? Why are you doing this with your life? We all have those moments and it pushes you to have an intellectual and emotional honesty."
Speaking of honesty, there's something he, and countless other people, have been noticing all over the place: honesty seems to be disappearing from music. If you sprayed your chocolate milk all over the screen, bear with me. With Nicki Minaj's hit song being about buggery and countless comments aimed at bands fromArchitects (UK) to Nick himself about how their music is better than the pop malarkey, you surprisingly, can't still avoid a gawuff.
"It's [contemplating the whys and hows of his life] affected my creative honesty and it's had an impact because there always seems to be people saying there's no honesty in music anymore, but that's all there is in the music I listen to. Lorde talking about never having seen a diamond or thinking she'll never be one of those people struck a cord with a lot of people." *Cough* irony *cough*.
"There's a big disconnect between the mainstream of music and rock music." And he's not wrong, guys like him and Justin Townes Earle, are eclipsed by the likes of Lorde and Nicki Minaj, especially when it comes to those big flashy European music awards. He puts it down to two tracks in music, the pop spectacle of booty and anacondas and the people busting their booty to play to 500 people, you just have to find the honesty.
As always, in this wonderful world, there'll always be someone somewhere that comes after that honesty with the vigour of a pumped upprofessional wrestler and claims that it's all just self serving but Nick, well, he flat out doesn't get it.
"I don't really understand what self indulgent is about. I come from a jazz background which is about doing the biggest thing you can and, with an intellectual grounding, it's not just balls out. That may be self indulgent in rock music but it isn't in jazz. Music's not self indulgent, it's people putting themselves out there. It's noble to put yourself out there. I think self indulgent has become part of the fabric of how we communicate, it's like the term PC, it doesn't really mean anything anymore."
Nick's got an album coming out as well as the tour with Shihad, I Am Giant and Airbourne this summer but in someways, he's already looking beyond that. He's built a life around collaborating with as many people as possible and each of them has something to give (there aren't any disaster stories, I asked) which could be a disaster or, y'know, it could not be.
"It's [CKF] evolved that way and maybe one day I'll find a guy that is perfect to do it all and maybe this isn't the best way to do it but it's easier to come up with ideas when someone else is looking at you from the other side of the room and not someone you've been writing with for five years."
He leaves with a few parting words, like Master Splinter, or Master Yoda: "Even out of the biggest train wreck, there is always something. There is opportunity with all disasters."
Summer Tour - Shihad, Airbourne, I Am Giant & Cairo Knife Fight
Saturday December 27th: Station Village, Lower Hutt
Sunday December 28th: Coroglen Tavern, Coroglen
Monday December 29th: Butlers Reef, New Plymouth
Tuesday December 30th: Riwaka Hotel, Riwaka
Wednesday December 31st: Cathedral Square, Christchurch
Friday January 2nd: Brewers Field, Mt Maunganui
Saturday January 3rd: Matakana Country, Matakana
Tickets on sale via Ticketmaster, venues and usual outlets