If you haven’t yet heard about Summer Camp, this is your lucky day. Their music is a delectable blend of nostalgia and electro, incorporating classic ’80s/’90s romantic teen film samples and lyrics that could be lifted from the dialogue of any one of them. Their music actively embraces a rose tinted spectacled view of the past. Yet they’re very much a band of the moment, blogged about extensively before either had fully embraced the idea of being a band proper. Here Jeremy and Elizabeth tell us a bit more about themselves, how My Bloody Valentine is the perfect sleep aid for Jeremy and that grilled haloumi cheese should never be considered a guilty pleasure.
There was a mystique surrounding your identities/nationalities when you first started out. I understand this was a conscious decision on your part. Do you think this worked in your favour?
Well we started the band in October 2009 entirely by accident. We recorded a cover of ‘Only Have Eyes For You’ because we loved the song, and then set up a Myspace as an afterthought. “Wouldn’t it be funny if…” We assumed
that if we put our names on the profile and people we knew found it, they’d find it hilarious. And we weren’t sure our egos could take that sort of wild laughter and pointing, so we kept it anonymous. People started blogging about it and things started happening, and as it grew we thought it made sense to keep quiet about who we were. It gave us a bit of privacy and also meant that we could develop what we were doing without people having expectations. It wasn’t some big marketing ploy, it just happened.
There is a strong nostalgia element to your music, highlighted by samples from ’80s teen movies, which immediately appealed to my tendency to over romanticise the past. Do you feel this is indicative of your own
Nostalgia has always been currency for artists, as long as there have been artists. The first cavemen artists were probably accused of ripping off the previous aeon. For us, drawing on our favorite things about the past was more about reaching out to something that probably never existed – those golden impossible days you see in movies and read about in books but no-one ever actually seems to live through. It’s pure escapism.
The clever editing for the Ghost Train video makes it appear that the footage was made specifically for it and visa versa. How did the concept come about for the video and where did you source the footage from?
We can’t claim any responsibility for that! We’re friends with a very talented young director, Paddy Power, and one day he sent us the finished video, asking what we thought. He’s amazing and has nearly completed a video for our next single, which is exciting.
What prompted you to cover The Flamingoes track?
We both love that song. Elizabeth put it on a mixtape for Jeremy, then we decided to record a version of it. We both love how it seems both old and new at the same time. It’s really just a cheesy old jazz number with what was then, in the ’50s, really futuristic production. Great sound, great song.
The Guardian described your music as ‘Chillwave’. Your thoughts on this? How would you describe your sound?
It’s a label, it makes it easier for journalists to describe how they hear us really quickly. It doesn’t bother us, but we hope we’ll have a chance to grow past that easy categorisation. It’s not important though really, everyone is going to be labelled something, so there’s no point worrying about it. At least it’s not ‘Rubbishwave’.
How are you finding the live shows?
It’s always great fun to throw ourselves around a stage in front of people. We love it. We feel like we’ve had to grow as a live band very quickly, as people were already reviewing our first ever gig. There’s been a lot of pressure, but we don’t worry about that too much, we just try and make the shows good and fun.
Musically and otherwise, what have been/are your greatest influences?
For Elizabeth – coming of age stories and films, for both of us – synth-pop and Kate Bush, and for Jeremy – falling asleep with My Bloody Valentine on really loud. We’re also both really into Britpop.
Where do you see things progressing with the band?
Who knows. It’d be amazing to make a record and tour a bit, but we’re just taking things one step at a time. This has always been about creating something together that we enjoy doing, so we will keep going as long as it’s fun. After that we’ll probably open a pet shop and start speaking in a made up language no one else can understand. You know, the usual.
When were you happiest?
E – Right now, answering these questions. It’s all downhill from here.
J – I’m still looking forward to that moment.
E – All and everything by Garth Nix, David Mitchell and Stella Gibbons.
J – Anything by Jonathan Coe, David Mitchell, Iain (M) Banks.
We don’t believe in guilty pleasures. No pleasure should involve guilt – if you like something, be proud. We love Abba, Fleetwood Mac, Tiny Fey, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and grilled haloumi.
The band have announced they are releasing a 6 track EP, entitled ‘Young’ on 13th September through Moshi Moshi Records. Their current single, ‘Round the Moon’ which also features on the EP is out on 6th September on 7″.
Check out http://www.moshimoshimusic.com/
Here are a few Summer Camp tracks, including the very new ‘Jake Ryan’. They score mega Brownie Points for referencing to ’16 candles’. We all secretly wanted to be Molly Ringwald in that film (us girls at least, and maybe some of you boys as well).
Jake Ryan – mp3