Interview with Mark Robertson of Cairo

A brief question-and-answer session with Mark Robertson, the main architect of the progressive rock band Cairo.

How long have you guys been together?

About four years.

How would you describe your song writing recording process for Conflict and Dreams?

Well, the band all has ideas that they write on their own. After a period of time. Jeff and Alec will get together with me and show me the ideas they have come up with over, say, three to six months, and they both have much different ways of doing it. At that time I will take the main points or ideas that seem to fit with something I am working on and then incorporate the idea with my already existing song. Or I will take a main idea of their's and start a song and build around it. This process is always different and then we get together and arrange the songs as a group, work on vocal melodies and then Bret will write the majority of the lyrics. Then we will start recording tracks starting with basic keyboard tracks then drums, bass, guitars, etc.

Are there any plans for a tour of the US?

This is something we are working on but not as yet.

What do you think of the current music scene?

Well, it is not exactly my thing. I listen to mostly classical music, I think the young kids definitely have more of a scene of there own.

Why do you think it is difficult today for progressive rock to gain mainstream acceptance? Do you think it has anything to do with the music itself (length of songs, use of keyboards, complex rhythms and harmonies, etc.) or do just think it's a matter of marketing?

I think all those things that you mentioned are true. People don't have time to listen to anything to complex or mindful these days. Hopefully that will change.

What is your relationship with Magna Carta like?

We have a good relationship with the label. Sometimes there hands are tied as well trying to promote this kind of music but, we are gaining more fans and sales every month so I think it takes a while for the music to get out there but once it does there is quite a few people surprised to here a band like this and they dig it and then buy it!

What's your favorite music? That is, what music does the band listen to and currently like? Who would you cite as influences, particularly for your keyboard work?

My favorite is classical piano and symphony works. I love Franz Liszt, Chopin, Beethoven etc. In the 70's I listened to all the great progressive groups, ELP, Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant and so on. I am not that sure what the other guys listen to.

What are your future plans and where do you see yourself in the year 2000?

Hopefully several tours, many more CD sales, and a few classical piano records and a sound track or two. Not too ambitious, right?

Music ram-blings || Ram Samudrala || || May 14, 1998