Hey guys from Campfires In Winter. First of all: thanks for taking your time to answer some questions for ANEWFRIEND.
Could you please introduce yourself?
Hi! I’m Robert, and I sing and play guitar. And we also have Ewan on drums and percussion, Wullie on bass and backing vocals, and Scott on keys, guitar, cornet, and backing vocals too. He’s a pretty busy guy on stage. He should get paid more really.
You released your debut album „Ischaemia“ last year, in February, but have been playing as a band for almost a decade now. Why did it take so long to get a record finished?
We just wanted to get it right. We had released some singles and EPs but wanted to hone our sound so we were entirely happy and satisfied with the album. We started recording in late 2014, but didn’t get it out until February 2017. That was because we all have full time jobs, so recording sessions took place after work, through the night, finishing up just in time for work again the next day. Hence why it took so long!
Per definition, „Ischaemia“ is „a restriction in blood supply to tissues, causing a shortage of oxygen that is needed for cellular metabolism (to keep tissue alive)“. Why did you choose this medical term as the album’s title?
It’s not intentional, but the body and body parts tend to crop up in my lyrics often. Also, my dad has spent a lot of time in hospital in recent years, partly as a result of a stroke w while ago. So I suppose the word ‚ischaemia‘ was there in my mind and fitted with the recurring theme of bodies.
You recorded the album with Andrew Odell and Andrew Bush (The Twilight Sad, De Rosa, We Were Promised Jetpacks) at Unit 55 in Cumbernauld, a bit up north from Glasgow. Why them? And were there any specific reasons that made you choose this studio?
We’ve known Andrew Odell for a long time and had worked with him before. We work really well together and felt it was a great fit for the album. We just really like his studio, so that’s why we chose Unit 55 – it’s somewhere we feel comfortable, and Andrew is a big part of that. Andy Bush, we’d known for a few years as he mixed our single We’ll Exist. I also think De Rosa are one of the greatest bands to come out of Scotland and think they should be the biggest band in the world, so I jump at any chance to work with Andy. His work is outstanding.
Your band is originally from Croy, a small town near Glasgow. Do you think that there’s some unique „Glaswegian sound“ that connects you to other fellow rock bands such as The Twilight Sad, Admiral Fallow, Mogwai or Frightened Rabbit?
I think there might be something to that, aye! I can never quite put my finger on why it is, but there’s something distinct about the sound of Scottish bands. There’s a dark edge to it, something sinister lurking at the edges. Maybe we all write our music on dark, rainy, winter nights!
Many of the album’s songs got some melancholic feeling to it, which made me think of a quote from Glen Hansard (The Frames, The Swell Season etc.), who said that writing songs is pretty much like writing a diary – the pages stay blank on a good day. Would you agree with that?
I don’t know if it’s a case of the pages staying blank on good days, but I generally find happier songs less interesting. I’ll write them sometimes, to keep up writing if the good stuff isn’t flowing, but they generally don’t even make it to the ears of my bandmates. I seem to be able to tap into the darker stuff, even on a good day.
Though it might come up as a quite obvious question these days, especially for a Scottish indie rock band from Glasgow: How big of an inspiration were Scott Hutchison, the late Frightened Rabbit front man, and his band(s) to you? What did his unexpected death in May do to the scene? Did it change anything regarding the awareness of mental health issues?
Scott was a huge inspiration. I’d gotten to know him over the years, and anyone who met him will agree that he was a genuinely lovely, brilliant, and warm guy. He even once helped me get over a bout of writer’s block!
The scene was utterly devastated. What has changed is that it has got the mental health conversation going again, particularly in men. Scott was always very open about his own mental health struggles. Sadly, he wasn’t able to find his peace, but I sincerely believe that his honesty and openness on mental health in the past has inspired others to seek help, and to see that there’s no shame in talking to someone about how you feel.
As mentioned before, your album was released over a year ago. What are your next plans as a band?
We have some gigs coming up, we’ll have a single release soon, and we’re back writing new material – all very exciting!
Now, some more general questions to finish this short interview…
What’s your earliest musical memory?
I remember seeing Croy Silver Band play in my street one Christmas when I was around 3 or so. They’re an award-winning band, and performed on a few tracks on Ischaemia.
Who are your biggest „musical heroes“ or inspirations (if there are any)?
I have loads, but at the moment I think Annie Clark is untouchable. Pure genius. We don’t deserve her.
If you had the chance to go on tour or into the studio with any musician (dead or alive), who would that be?
See my previous question. I’d absolutely love to record with Annie Clark.
Name 5 records which would be your personal „soundtrack for the big city“…
Destroyer – Poison Season
Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
The Har-You Percussion Group – The Har-You Percussion Group
St Vincent – Actor
Sylvan Esso – What Now
…and 5 records for a „desert island“.