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Nonstop to Cairo Blends Ska, Hip-Hop, Funk For a New Long Island Sound

Nonstop to Cairo, a Long Island ska, hip-hop and funk band carries on a long tradition of unique Long Island performers. (Photo: Band)

Nonstop to Cairo, a Long Island ska, hip-hop and funk band carries on a long tradition of unique Long Island performers. (Photo: Band)

Nonstop to Cairo is quickly emerging as one of New York’s premiere bands. They bring to their music, a unique blend of ska, hip-hop and funk, and have already built a dedicated fan base up and down the East Coast.

The group has performed alongside an impressive array of acts including The Wailers, Dirty Heads, Galactic, Matisyahu, Fishbone and Redman.

Their debut album, Dabble Heavy is set for release in January (Marigold Entertainment). Several of their songs, like, “Influenzska,” Skip” and “Get the Girl,” have already drawn terrific response from the media.

Denis McNamara, from Long Island’s legendary radio station WLIR said, “New York’s never had a Sublime or 311, but now they do.”

With Long Island roots, the band continues a proud musical tradition of local artists that includes Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Joan Jett, Blue Oyster Cult Debbie Gibson, De La Soul, Mariah Carey and Vanilla Fudge.

They’ve also engaged legendary “My Father’s Place” Michael “Eppy’ Epstein to coordinate the management.

We caught up with the quintet–Nick Diamond, August Harris, Andrew Joseph, Alex Turner and Matt Ezzo–during rehearsals for an upcoming show at The Brooklyn Bowl.

Improper: We listened to the album and were just dazzled by the music and the production. How long did the production take on the album?

Nick: We began the recording process for Dabble Heavy at Blokhed Studios Dec 2015 in Long Island. We, along with our Producer/Engineer Tom Stiegler knew right away that we had something special with the songs we had collected together.

IM: How did you hook up with Eppy?

Matt: I was at my day job one afternoon and was tired of the music that was being played at the time. If I recall, it was some 1980’s top 40 track or something. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but how many times can one listen to ‘Come on Ilene’ in one day? I changed the station to a reggae station; I think Toots and the Maytals came on. After a moment, a larger than life, older gentleman walked up to me and said ‘good choice with the music selection. Reggae music saved my life, now get back to work.’

At the time I knew of My Fathers Place and Eppy’s name, but I didn’t know what he looked like, so I just went back to work. A few days later, he was back at the store. I walked up to him and welcomed him back. We got into a conversation about music and the local scene. He said he owned a club once and that I should look him up. It’s funny that I spend half my life pushing the band, performing all over the country, so I can pursue the band as my career and give up the day job, and I meet a powerhouse like Eppy at my day job when I wasn’t even looking. Such is life.

IM: Our favorite track is “(I Don’t Like) Chicken In My Oatmeal” … tell us about that track.

Nick: Chicken is all about the natural insecurities and uncertainty that come with being human. Waking up every day to face the challenges of life. We all cope with it in different ways, and sometimes more productively than others.

IM: What are your influences?

Nick: Anything and Anyone with passion, heart and soul!

IM: What are you guys currently listening to?

August: Honestly we have been in the studio for nine months putting our album together. Our only focus has been our music. Now that Dabble Heavy is finally finished, we’re already jamming on new material. The creativity right now is incredible and we are not taking our foot off the pedal.

IM: You’re part of Long Island’s musical fabric now; what do you think of the music artists the Island has produced?

Nick: I think the Island has long been underrated as a hotbed for hungry and talented musicians looking to push the boundaries of genre and sound. We are so lucky to be part of such a strong scene that craves fresh and original music.

IM: What are the initial touring plans?

ALEX: The plan is to hit New York City/Long Island hard, and spiral outward. New York is so diverse with venues and other groups we feel we can play with virtually anyone. Once we have that run, the tri- state and the eastern seaboard will be our focus.

IM: Who would you like to tour with?

Andrew: That is a vast and endless wish list, but I feel that touring with some of the other bands that represent this Long island scene is an adventure within itself. The diversity and talent here is unmatched, and representing it through our scenes’ camaraderie on the road would truly leave a lasting impression in people and today’s music.

IM: Denis McNamara, from the legendary WLIR, is a fan. How did you meet him?

Nick: We met Denis through Eppy. It was really great to hang with him and hear his thoughts on the album. He was so essential with bringing a new sound to the masses and giving people something different to listen to. It was very humbling to have him speak so highly of our tunes and the arrangements in particular.

IM: We think it’s going to be a quick ride to the top for you; what are you most looking forward too?

Nick: I think for me it’s the chance to travel to new places to share our sound and the passion and madness behind our live show.

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