Camera Obscura

Cam 20/09/2006

Camera Obscura have been making music for the past 10 years or so, the band's third album, Let's Get Out of This Country was released on June 6 via Elephant Records and it's a great pop record filled with unforgettable melodies and graceful lyrics.
GIITTV had the pleasure to interview Traceyanne from the band, whose new single (also titled "Let's Get Out Of This Country") is available now.

Hi guys, what are you doing today?

We're leaving Glasgow to fly to Spain for the lemon pop festival which is in Murcia.

What books have you been reading lately?

I just finished Bullet Trick by a Scottish writer called Louise Welsh.

What have you been listening to lately?

This morning I listened to Sunshine lady by Dion. I've been listening to that every morning for about a month or so. I've also been listening to demos of Victoria Bergsman's (The Concretes ex vocalist) new solo project Taken by Trees.

What films have you been watching recently?

Last night I couldn't sleep so I watched a film Carey bought me for my birthday a few months ago called Embrassez oui vous voudrez (summer things). I also went to the cinema the other day and watched Snowflake, a film about a woman with autism. I want to see the new Almodovar film next.

(I'm starting to sound like the guy from The Holy Grail, so let's get on with other questions)

What can you tell us about your new single, what are your expectations?

It's the title track from our new album Let's get out of this country and it was released on Monday. It's very good you know. I guess these days releasing singles is largely about trying to get airplay but we care a lot about our B-sides so it's also a chance for the fans to hear some other stuff we've been doing.

For a band with a vintage sound, you seem to be well aware of new music, how do you see the present in music compared to the past?

I think new music is important and it's rewarding to make the effort to find the good stuff. It's easy to get tired and frustrated with the rubbish that is constantly championed in place of a wealth of interesting smaller acts without the huge marketing budgets but there is so much brilliant music around to be discovered.

I think your website is quite a nice place, how much work do you put into it?

I'm glad you like it. We're really pleased with it although there's always a sense of guilt that it isn't updated more regularly or whatever. As a band we do make a big effort to communicate with our fans through the website and the blog and through myspace, so long as its manageable, people deserve a response. It's supposed to represent us and I hope that's what it does.

Maybe it's just me, but there's a certain colorfulness to "Let's Get Out Of The Country", from the cover of the record to the promo videos, was this done consciously?

That's an interesting one. If you watch the video for the single its pretty colourless, a grey tribute to the unpredictability and soggy inevitability of the Scottish weather. It demonstrates where the desire to escape comes from whereas the cover, which is a really sunny photograph, captures how beautiful Scotland can be. The song itself contains that paradox too, the music is pretty much summer pop but the lyrics are about frustration and unhappiness.

You've been getting much more attention from the US than from the UK lately, why do you think that is? Would you like to be more famous over here?

I'm not sure if that's true and in any case it's hard for us to judge. We don't pay too much attention to what the press think. It's also quite difficult to compare the British and America media. In America, college radio exposure is very important for non-mainstream bands and we've had a lot of that. In Britain it's pretty amazing that people like Mark Radcliffe can choose a lot of the music they want to play on a mainstream national radio station. I don't think that would ever happen in America.
With the last album we were definitely shocked by the positive response we got in America but things are picking up in the UK for this album and hopefully more and more people can get exposed to our music.

You went to Sweden to record this album, and the title pretty much says it all "Let's Get Out Of This Country", now, why exactly do you want to get out of this country?

It did seem fitting that we left the country to make the album, and we were desperate to get away from Glasgow and familiarity to work but the ethos of the album is a lot more general than that. It's about feeling the need to get out of your situation and take control of your life. It also about the way Glasgow is seen as a musical Mecca to so many people whereas the grimy reality of living here can be a lot less glamorous. We've also been lucky enough to see a lot of different places and countries while we're touring and you always wonder if it would be nice to live in those places.

How was it working with Jari Haapalainen?

It was a really good experience. It was the first time we'd worked with a producer so we were nervous about some aspects of what it would mean to hand over control to somebody else. However, he is a great producer. There were difficult moments and times when it felt like he disagreed with everything we thought but we trusted him and it turned out good.

What's your current relationship with Elefant Records?

Elefant are still our record label. We have a great relationship with them. They are really good people who have a genuine love for our music.

The influences on "Let's get out of this country" seem to be quite
extensive, do the things that inspired you in the making of the album are still inspiring you today?

Yes. I can get inspiration for songs from many things; the weather, people, overheard conversation, moods. All sorts of everyday things.

And, the mandatory cliché question: Any plans for the future?

To make more records, to fall in love, to go to Rome, to learn to speak Swedish.

That's all, good luck and thank you very much for making the music you make.