CAMENS (from l-r): James ‘Corbo’ Corbishley (lead guitar), Scott Powell (vocals/guitar), Luke Brightmore (drums), Josh Egan (bass)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Camens are an indie rock four-piece from Stoke-on-Trent.
At the end of 2015, under their former guise of LazyEye, the band were all set to make a massive breakthrough, having released a highly acclaimed EP, as well as getting interest from an American record label, but unfortunately for them, things didn’t go to plan.
The interest led to nothing, and their former manager sadly passed away, following a long bout of ill health.
However, now, the quartet are back, under a new name, and everything is looking positive for them once again, with an already well-received single under their belts.
I caught up with the band after they performed an intimate set at the Your City festival in their home town, and this is what they had to say:
How did the band get together initially?
SCOTT POWELL (vocals/guitar): We morphed from a previous band called LazyEye, and that was around two years ago.
We all got together like any other band, really. I was gigging some songs with James and Josh, we realised we needed a drummer, and that’s where Luke came in.
How did the name Camens come about?
SCOTT: The label that’s releasing our new stuff told us that there were other LazyEyes in the world, so we had to change the band name.
LUKE BRIGHTMORE (drums): You were watching Planet Earth II, weren’t you?
SCOTT: Yeah, the David Attenborough show. There was a scene in it where a caiman crocodile was attacked by a tiger or leopard, and that served as inspiration for our new name. Basically, we are a band that gets eaten by a tiger! (laughs)
In your own words, how would you describe your sound?
SCOTT: Upbeat, feel good indie rock ‘n’ roll.
What are the band’s musical influences?
SCOTT: Most of our songs start with me, so personally, bands like The Beatles and The Kinks, all good guitar music really.
I think they were my first loves, and then when I first really got into music, I fell in love with the great guitar bands, such as Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, but they’re not really big influences on us. Also, I like good songwriting.
LUKE: I think me and Corbo are more into the American side of things, pop-punk and all that, but we both also like a lot of British stuff. Josh is more into music that is acoustic and melodic, like Simon and Garfunkel.
SCOTT: I think we find our sound when the four of us are all jamming together, and we kind of all meet at Paul Simon, which our stuff can sound like at times.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
SCOTT: Erm…lengthy one! (laughs) No, a lot of our songs will start out as a verse and a chorus, which I will then take into our practice room, show the rest of the band, and it will either get a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
If it gets a thumbs up, then we can start to take it forward, but I think if I didn’t turn up with a verse or a chorus, then we would have a riot on our hands! (laughs)
LUKE: One or two of our songs in the past have started off as riffs or basslines, but generally, Scott will bring an idea in, and then we’ll work on it.
If it’s going somewhere, we’ll carry on, if it isn’t, then…
SCOTT: I’ll get told!
LUKE: We’ll say: “Go again, Scott!” (laughs)
The band have been a fixture on the Stoke-on-Trent music scene for a while now. What is your opinion on its current state?
SCOTT: It’s doing good, man. I think the hardest thing for any music scene is just that, I mean the Your City festival is great, but there are other places where the music scene is just amazing.
I think with any band who are trying to get somewhere, if you can play ten times a month in many different venues, like you can in places such as Manchester and Liverpool, you can be ten times the band that can only gig once or twice a month, because you only have a few venues, so events like Your City are brilliant, as they give local bands more opportunities to perform live.
LUKE: I feel the music scene in Stoke has definitely grown in the last year or two. There seems to be more going on and more people interested.
SCOTT: It’s just the domino effect, isn’t it? I mean, you get one success from an area, and that then draws attention to the place where they’re from, so there’s some great stuff coming out of Stoke at the moment, the Staffordshire and Cheshire Music Awards, Your City, all sorts going on.
Your debut single as Camens, ‘Boys Will Stray’, was recently released. How is it different to the music you put out as LazyEye?
SCOTT: I think the LazyEye stuff, the last single we put out as LazyEye was ‘Katie Jones’, which was a very acoustic pop song.
Now, we’ve definitely plugged in and turned the volume up, as the new single is much more riff based.
LUKE: This is the first single that we’ve released with the current line-up, so I would say it has drawn us all together, as we have put all of our influences and sounds into it.
SCOTT: LazyEye definitely felt like I would write the songs and the other lads would learn them, but with Camens, all of the stuff we have written so far, the sound and everything, has all been done together, so everything that comes out now is much more of a group effort, everyone gets involved.
LUKE: Our producer, Andy Gannon, who’s part of Fears Chella, has helped us out a lot with getting our music to sound as it does.
How has the reaction been to the single so far?
SCOTT: It’s early days yet, but we have already had Gideon Coe of BBC 6 Music saying how strong a debut it is, and that was a really nice thing for him to say.
Will the single potentially lead to an EP or album at all?
SCOTT: Yeah, that’s the plan. We have basically spent the last six, seven months recording and trying different things, some have worked, some haven’t, and we have now got to the point where we have a good batch of songs ready to go. Our new single is already out, so in around eight weeks, we’ll have another one ready for release, we can then build up the momentum, and then hopefully start to build a proper, solid fan base.
How is it for the band playing live?
SCOTT: That’s the reason we do it, isn’t it?
LUKE: Yeah. We’ve got a busy summer ahead of us, we’re looking forward to playing some more gigs and festivals, really getting back into it, because it’s been a while.
We try to not take ourselves too seriously on stage, we try to play the best we can.
SCOTT: It’s a really great process, I think, of constantly trying to make every gig we do better than the last one.
As it’s Camens, and because it feels like everybody’s band, there’s definitely a feeling of we can’t wait to get out of the practice room, and put on the best show we can. That’s got to be a good thing, for sure.
Is there anything else you’ve got lined up for the near future at all?
SCOTT: Other than the gigs and releases, we’re going to be working really hard in between, putting content out, such as acoustic videos and all that, so our main aim at the moment is to be as busy as possible for the rest of this year, gain as much momentum as we can, and put out all of the songs that we have been writing, that have been sat in our practice room for the last six, seven months.
LUKE: We’ll be supporting The Ordinary Boys on May 12 at The Exchange in Hanley, we’re very much looking forward to that, as it should be a fun gig.
SCOTT: We’ll also soon be playing Scarborough, Lichfield, all over the place.
What is the band’s long-term aim?
SCOTT: I’ve always said that I hope we can get to the point where playing our own original music pays the bills. I’m not really that bothered about fame or excessive wealth, but if given a choice between doing this full-time or working a normal daytime job, I would choose music every time, and it would make me a more fulfilled person. Everything above that would be a bonus.
Anything else anybody would like to say at all?
SCOTT: Yeah, just a shout out to James Corbishley, our lead guitarist, and Josh Egan, our bassist, because they seem to have vanished! (laughs)
Also, check out our new single at Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, everything that’s anywhere, and there’s also a video for it on the way.
FOR FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND, CHECK OUT THESE SITES: