“All your worst dreams rolled into one” an interview with Summer Camp

Originally published on Londonist October 29, 2011

Summer Camp’s timeless indie-pop is a rare treat indeed. Often alt-pop has a bland 60’s feel, a disposable modern hipster edge or the cringworthy quirkiness of a dating site advert, so when Summer Camp bust into our hearts in 2010 it felt as though our dreams had come true. Here was a girl-boy duo with sprightly guitars and tickling keyboards to make the indie kids swoon, straight from a John Hughes movie.

Their career to date is a real life coming of age movie: Elizabeth Sankey a drama student at Goldsmiths and Jeremy Warmsley a frankly brilliant solo artist, meet up at a gig and build up a friendship, through sharing mix-tapes they eventually fall in love, then secretly form a band under the ruse of being Swedish which sent blogs and the indie scene spiralling with joy. As their identities are revealed and their beautifully polished pop stole hearts and minds, Summer Camp become the band everyone wants to be.

Fast forward to October 2011 and Summer Camp are set to release their debut album, Welcome To Condale   a record oozing with romantic synth-pop which could equally soundtrack High School prom dates or open top road trips along the Californian Coast. Recently married and officially the nicest people in indie pop Welcome To Condale is Jeremy and Elizabeth’s gift to a public eager to be part of their 80’s teen dream.

Describe your musical philosophy to us
We don’t really have one. We just try to write really good songs and make them sound nice.

Who has influenced you?
Fleetwood Mac, our parents, Freaks and Geeks, Zach Morris, Kate Bush, Cocteau Twins, Blur, Radiohead and each other.

You’ve used Pledge Music to fund the album, why did you go through this channel?
We were in a position where we wanted Steve Mackey to produce the album, but didn’t want to ask a label to fund it because we wanted to retain control. Michael from Moshi Moshi had the excellent idea of using Pledge. We met them and they were brilliant and super-enthusiastic and we loved the idea. It’s an amazing way to have a connection direct to the people who like your music, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received. It makes a lot of sense – you can get people who like your music to pre-order your album and use the money to make the album. Ta-dah!

How has your area of London influenced Summer Camp’s music?
We grew up pretty close to each other in south-west London, but didn’t know each other. Although we’ve since worked out we were at the same gigs on occasion and used to hang out in the same town. We now both live in North London and are very happy here. Big cities are amazing because you have so much on your doorstep but at the same time it’s easy to make friends and have your area feel like a little village.

What’s the London gig circuit like for bands starting out and is it good to grow in?
There’s a little circle of really crummy venues that basically exist by charging bands’ mates for drinks. Apart from that it’s great, people are very supportive and there’s always lots of opportunities.

That said it’s not like it is in towns like Leeds or Norwich where there’ll be a really tight-knit community of bands who all know each other and play gigs together. Here you have to really work to get to know people I think. People don’t go down to venues or nights just because they’re there, they go when there’s a band they want to see playing. what do Summer Camp sound like in a sentence?
Like all your worst dreams rolled into one…..

Continue reading here

Welcome To Condale is released October 31 on Apricot recordings/ Moshi Moshi. A plethora of Summer Camp goodies, including a jump suit and brownies are available through Pledge Music.

Summer Camp play Efes Pool Hall 17B Stoke Newington Road , Dalston N16 8BH  on November 17. Tickets £8, and Relentless Freeze Festival, Battersea Power Station October 29.

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