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[AltWire Interview] Summer Camp: “Everyone Has Darkness Inside That They Can Tap Into”

Summer Camp are an English indie-pop band signed to Moshi Moshi and founded in 2009. We previously featured Summer Camp on our independent music series “The Spark” (read our feature here). After having their latest self titled release on repeat for the last few months, we reached out to Summer Camp band members Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley to get more information on what makes them tick. Read our interview below for details on future touring, what inspires them and more!

AltWire [Emily]: This is coming a few months late, but congratulations on the new album! It’s phenomenal! You guys are definitely one of my favorite artists of the last couple years. This is a big honor to interview you!

Elizabeth Sankey and Jeremy Warmsley [Summer Camp]: Thanks so much!

AW: A lot of artists feel like there is a certain stigma with releasing the dreaded “sophomore slump” album. You guys didn’t seem to have a problem but was there any fears/anxiety with releasing your second full-length album, Summer Camp?

Elizabeth: Good question! It seems like such a long time ago now that we were writing the record that it’s a little hard to remember.  I think we definitely had a few moments where we grappled with the idea of what the record should be,  but we got through it! There were a few fairly heated arguments…

AW: You’ve worked with two notable producers (Pulp’s Steve Mackey and Blur’s Stephen Street), How did you first approach them about producing Welcome to Condale and Summer Camp respectively?

Elizabeth: In both cases we had lists of people we were interested in working with,  and we went to meet them and chat about it.  We actually met Stephen around the time of the first record but it didn’t happen for whatever reason.  Actually the next time we met him was at a Blur gig at Hyde Park which was pretty crazy for us, lots of intense feelings around that!

AW: My favorite part about your music is how you are able to seamlessly create such a catchy-upbeat song while sticking to some emotionally darker lyrics, where does your inspiration for some of those lyrics come from?
 
Elizabeth: I think there’s something so appealing about upbeat music with dark lyrics.  That juxtaposition of sadness and beats that you want to dance to, it’s great.  Everyone has darkness inside that they can tap into and we like to do that as much as possible as it’s so relate-able.

AW: Elizabeth, you contributed to one of my favorite websites (thetalkhouse.com) a review on Pink’s album, “The Truth About Love”. Despite me thinking I’m cooler than cool (I’m not), I recently saw Pink in concert and it was probably the best live show I’ve ever been to. However, I do agree with your observations. It seems that a lot of artists are looking for more approval/validation from blogs and other media websites than actual sales or a review in Rolling Stone. Why do you think this is?
 
Elizabeth: I think it’s the new currency for bands, as sales are dwindling it’s your reviews that make the difference as they lead to more live shows.  Also print is sadly suffering as well all live online more and more, so websites are massively influential.

AW: If you could cover an entire album, which album, or albums, would it/they be?

Jeremy: Before we formed the band I had a solo project. I once actually covered OK Computer in its entirety at a particularly poorly-attended solo gig. (I skipped Fitter,  Happier…)

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AW:  Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Elizabeth: Nothing springs to mind… oh our drummer William has these hilarious alter egos he entertains us with. My favorite is Keith, a lonely 40-something divorcee whose only passion is his car.

AW: Mr Warmsley, according to your Wikipedia page, you placed in the 26th Annual Hastings Fish Pie eating Contest. A preliminary google search provided no real answer. Please tell me this is true

Jeremy: Alas not.

AW: Is there any chance of touring the US in the near-future? I would probably be front-row center!

Elizabeth & Jeremy: Definitely! We are planning a tour right now!

Summer Camp’s latest work, the eponymously named “Summer Camp” EP is now available on Amazon. Listen to  “Fresh” from their new album below:

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