One of the most head-turning orchestral pop bands from Canada, Cai.ro has been on a steady rise in the indie music scene since 2011. Their band was described as a “must-see” in Toronto’s 2011 Indie Week. Lomography Canada got the chance to meet Dante Berardi, the guitarist and the vocalist of the band, and he shared his desire to document his concerts with the La Sardina camera during their performances at the North by North East with us!
Please tell us more about your band and how it first got started!
The band started as the brainchild of our singer Nate Daniels, started off as a solo artist but got bored with the “singer-songwriter” stigma. He’s said numerous times he could hear in his head what the songs could become with a full band around them. Over about 3 years he scoured the internet (and Toronto music scene) looking for the right players. After much trial and error the band was formed completely through Craiglist adds. From there the chemistry did the rest and as a group Nate’s songs were revamped and grew naturally into the cinematic songs of Cai.ro.
How did you come up with the name?
The name came from the collective stance that the group needed a name that represented the sound we were creating. After three heated brainstorming sessions someone read a word similar to Cai.ro from a travel dictionary, I believe the word that was said was “Cara”. At the same moment 2 of us said “Did you say Cairo?” It was the first time in the sessions that we all felt good about the word and felt like it was something that represented us. It also came out that in a journal entry earlier that year Nate wrote about his word of the year being “Cai” or “to conquer”. It felt right and there was a great energy around it, which is hard to achieve with five people all with different opinions.
When did you first hear about Lomography?
Each of the band members has ties to the store and brand, but the main one is Shane Fester. Through band members and band members significant others we had come to know him as a friend. He came to a few shows and shot some pictures of us playing and ended up bringing us into the Lomography Galley Store in Toronto for an in-store performance. From there the relationship grew until finally we broached the subject of working together on a project.
When did you get interested in analogue photography in general?
I think that everyone in our band has a strong tie to analogue photography. We all grew up with film and actual photos floating around. Loading cameras and developing film, the excitement of waiting to see what shots were produced. This somehow got lost along the way and it is quite depressing. The excitement and enjoyment of the process is what brought us back. That and the boredom of iPhone photos.
The La Sardina was definitely the easier of the two. There is versatility and so many things that you can do with it. It’s a very user-friendly camera. The Diana F+ was a lot of fun as well but every photo I took with it I had a sneaking suspicion I did something wrong. It definitely takes more planning and a steadier hand.
Which one did you prefer?
Which of your songs were playing in your mind when shooting the photos?
If anything I would say our softer stuff was definitely bouncing around in my head during the process. Songs like: Addict, Seventeen, and Lullaby. There was something very calming about using those cameras and I have similar feelings in relationship to those songs.
If you could only listen to your top 3 favorite music bands, who would they be and why?
Foals – Their songs are huge, ambient, epic and danceable. A little bit of everything. I could never ever get bored of their songs.
Grizzly Bear – Impeccable harmonies, amazing instrument voicing and interesting songs structure. Also, they couple their music with amazing art in the form of music videos, photos and CD booklets. Can’t ask for much more.
Radiohead – Because nothing is like them. Also because of the progression of their career and sound. So natural and truthful.
Describe the Diana F+ in 5 words.
Light, Fragile, Frustrating, Amazing, and Challenging!
Describe the La Sardina in 5 words.
Sturdy, Options, Fun, Easy, and Colourful!
Golden Cup It is a little off the beaten path of “commercial sound”, but strong with a solid sense of identity.
What advice can you give our readers when shooting with the La Sardina?
Be scared. In the beginning, I was scared (at least for the first roll of film). Then I just started shooting, and trying things like light leaks, double exposures, and all that stuff. That’s the fun of not being able to see the image. You never know what you’ll get. Some shots come out and some don’t, but they were gems.
Which was one of your favorite times playing at the NXNE?
The Thursday night at the Piston was incredible. It was packed and it had great energy. However our Sofarsounds Show on Wednesday night was the most perfect musical experience of my life. The crowd was there to hear and appreciate music without knowing who was playing. Also the complete silence during the performances was amazing. It showed the most respect I’ve seen for music in my life. It was an honor to be a part of.
Please tell us your up-coming travel/tour plans, and your dream Lomography Camera you would like to take a long!
We will be playing shows around Toronto and the surrounding cities. We hope to venture out to Montreal, and Ottawa. We will continue to play interesting venues and create interesting art to go along with our music and shows. I will take the Diana F+ with me. Like I said I like a challenge and I know how to control it better after seeing the films from my first run.
The Diana F+ is a new twist on the ‘60s classic cult camera. Famous for its dreamy and soft-focused images, the Diana F+ is now packed with extra features such as panorama and pinhole capabilities. Available in our Online Shop.
Get ready to sail the high seas with our new La Sardina collection! These 35mm cameras are equipped with spectacular wide-angle lens, multiple exposure capabilities, and a rewind dial—everything you need for fun-filled and thrill-soaked escapades. Get your own La Sardina camera now!