Synth camp! Friends camp! I mean: Summer Camp.
The night before I left for Le Guess Who? and actually got to see them live, I had a short talk with Jeremy and Elizabeth – the duo and couple behind Summer Camp.
So, your band name. I used to love going on summer camps back in the day. With us you were mostly taught a ‘skill’ (ranging from horseback riding over street style dancing to journalism and animation) in 5 days. Do you have them in the UK? Are they similar to the US ones? (who are much longer)
Elizabeth: it’s not the same as in America. It’s more like the Belgian one you mentioned.
Jeremy: yeah I did drama camp once and it was drama in the morning and then miniature football or grass skiing in the afternoon. Stuff like that.
Elizabeth: that sounds fun!
Jeremy: yeah, it was!
Elizabeth: I used to get really, seriously homesick on camp. It was awful. Just crying all the time and writing my mom letters. (in really convincing dramatic, crying voice) “PLEASE I just can’t do this anymore!!”. And I’d write down really philosophical thoughts like “If I was a bird I could fly home” (still in dramatic voice). I’d write that in the letters and then drip tears all over the ink. And they wouldn’t send them home because of that. So when my mom came to pick me up I’d be all “WHERE WERE YOU?!” (return of dramatic voice). But now you could just email I guess.
Yeah. It’s not as good now though. I didn’t even have a cellphone back then!
Elizabeth: me neither. I had a pager though.
Jeremy: I had a pager too.
No way! That’s hilarious. I never had a pager.
If you could organise your dream summer camp, what would it be like?
Jeremy: synth camp.
Elizabeth: I’d go with friends camp. Where you can just hang out with all your friends – cause I don’t get to do that too often.
Jeremy: and watch Friends?
Elizabeth: yeah. I’d quite like there to be free clothes as well. And baking!
Jeremy: and bacon.
Elizabeth: like an amazing baking course. And a sushi course. The dream.
Can you explain the idea behind the zines? I loved that, personally.
Jeremy: it’s like a little scrapbook. Where you get to know the characters from the songs better.
I guess you could say Condale (of Welcome to Condale, their album, ed.) is like a fictional American town. I don’t really see it as a British thing.
Elizabeth: yeah, that was definitely our idea. Though I do think it could’ve been about Britain as well.
I guess in Britain it’s just more you get what you see, whilst in America people are more like “hey how are you? Awesome!”. Faking it, often.
Jeremy: yeah. Wehenever you meet an American touring band, they’re always really really happy.
Elizabeth: like Givers today (who they were playing with in Brussels, ed.). They came in and sat down and chatted with us.
Jeremy: a British band would NEVER do that!
Elizabeth: British people have this really weird thing where they’re very contained, and then they get drunk. I think it’s a major form of repression. National repression.
If you had all the money in the world for stage props, then what would you get?
Elizabeth: I don’t think I’d change my set-up that much. Maybe I’d get more change-overs though and have more dramatic outfits.
Jeremy: I’d like an ego ramp (that long piece of stage that stretches towards the audience, ed.). And walls and walls of synths.
Elizabeth: and a massive amp, that goes up all the way to 13 (makes sound that kinda goes like “brrroooooooooo”).
Jeremy: and have a button we could press. A massive, flashing red button right in front of the audience. And sometimes we would press it but not always. But if we pressed it, everything would sound a thousand times better.
An Amazing Button?
Elizabeth: oh my God, do you know what I’d do? I’d make it like a house, a massive doll house. You would have a front door and loads of rooms and at the intro people would kick out and you’d see all these characters. Then it’d revolve and you’d see this amazing house and it’d have all our equipment set up. You’re in the house, sit on the sofa, get a snack from the kitchen. That’d be nice!
PledgeMusic has been really important for Welcome To Condale (they raised funds by selling, among other things, homemade brownies and living room gigs, ed.). If a band you liked had a page then what would you buy from them?
Jeremy: Radiohead and letting me be in them. That’d be pretty good.
Elizabeth: I don’t know. The bands I really love, I wouldn’t want that kind of relationship with them. I like the fact that they’re untouchable. Maybe I’d get something from Damon Albarn though, actually.
(and then their tourmanager comes into the room to let me know I have to round up)
Thanks Summer Camp for being so nice and grateful! I got to swap zines with them at Le Guess Who? and you already know I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them play so that’s that.