30 Seconds: Channel Cairo

Born into an artistic home without a TV set, Channel Cairo's lead singer Joshua Bowyer learned to entertain on the piano from an early age. He moved to London with friend Hamish Murtagh and began piecing together a folk group from open-mic sessions and recording studios across the capital.

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 11 May 2012
  • min read
Born into an artistic home without a television set, Channel Cairo's lead singer Joshua Bowyer learnt to entertain on the piano from an early age, spending much of his childhood summers travelling around Europe with his father’s folk group. He built a large repertoire of musical ideas in the long nights spent sleeping on the road, inspired by the early greats of the 60s and 70s that made up the repertoire of his father’s band. As the years passed those ideas lay dormant until a move to London with long term friend and musical counterpart Hamish Murtagh would see them began piecing together a group from open-mic sessions and recording studios across the capital.

The band recently performed at PRS for Music's showcase event Almost Famous in March. Lead singer Josh Bowyer answers our 30 seconds questions here:

How long have you been making music?
Pretty much as long as i can remember. We had an old Pianola in the house, you'd plug in these antique rolls of paper and start pumping the pedals and it would start playing these beautiful classical pieces. The keys didn't move but if you put your hands on them they flickered with the notes as if a ghost was playing. One of my earliest memories is following along with the flickers on the keys. I learnt to play all my favourite reels that way until one day a man came to fix the piano and the ghost stopped playing. I had to start making it up from that point on.

What inspired your latest album?
2011 was a very rough year and my head was in a mess. I couldn't sleep and playing the piano was the only thing that I could make sense of. I disappeared for months drinking heavily and playing for days at a time. My family decided to intervene and brought me back home and I took a break from playing but started listening through the recordings I had made and taking notes. Our debut album is a refinement of that chaotic struggle for inner calm.

What process do you go through to create your music?
We invest a lot of time improvising around ideas at home, It's got to have a serious vibe when we're playing it live or we quickly lose interest and move on. We work and rework until we hate them and each other. Then we know they are ready.

How would you describe your sound?
Propulsive Piano Dreampop...

What would your dream collaboration be?
Scoring a soundtrack for Wes Anderson.

Where can we catch you performing next?
6 May, Bank Holiday All Day Festival @ The Old Queens Head, London
25 May, This Feeling @ Queen of Hoxton, London
The launch of our next single is at the Camden Barfly on 21 June.

www.channelcairo.com
www.facebook.com/channelcairo