Behind the scenes of their debut album

Earlier today (June 22nd) ClashMusic brought you the news that Summer Camp are working on their debut album.

Charming us with a handful of singles and some very special live performances, the London duo have been recording with Pulp guitarist Steve MacKey for an LP to be released on their own Apricot Recording Company. Close to completing the album, Summer Camp have opted to allow fans to assist the release by purchasing it early on PledgeMusic.

As a bonus, Summer Camp are offering a variety of gifts. Aside from the obligatory sparkling jumpsuit you could also walk away with a batch of home cooked brownies, a bass guitar and a movie night programmed by the duo. Straight on the phone to enquire about the jumpsuit, ClashMusic borrowed ten minutes from singer Elizabeth Sankey to talk about their forthcoming album…

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Where did the impetus come from to use Pledge Music?
Well we went in and met with the guys from Pledge and they were just so enthusiastic and they seemed to have a brilliant approach to putting out records and involving fans. It just seemed to match perfectly with our own ideas about how we wanted it to work. We like being able to talk to people who like our music and this just seemed like the perfect way to do that, I guess.

Why choose to release the album on your own label?
I think both of us have some experience in the industry – Jeremy obviously was signed to Transgressive and I’ve been in that world as well. We put so much into writing the record, and working with Steve MacKay who produced it, it just made sense to us to approach it in a fresh way. The industry has obviously changed a lot in the last few years so if you need to fund an album it is not possible to ask fans to do that in advance rather than getting that money from a label who have to invest in you when nobody knows how it’s going to do. It just made sense for us to do this, given the way we see the world and the way the business is going.

How far has the album progressed?
We’ve recorded like 99% of it. As we’ve been working we’ve recorded a few songs we wanted to put on there, but we’ve got a few songs to finish off. It’s pretty much good to go.

Have you recorded it in one burst?
We were kind of going in with Steve from November last year, and we did a solid session then. About a month, I guess. We worked really closely to the demos that Jeremy and I recorded. Steve is just amazing, I mean he would mix something and we’d go in the next day and be like ‘wow, this is brilliant’. It happened like that. It was a really lovely process – Steve was so receptive of the fact that we’re control freaks and was really conscious of how we wanted it to sound. We wrote constantly – because you have to – so there’s been a few songs which have emerged in the period when Steve’s been busy with Pulp.

Summer Camp - Around The Moon

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You are promising to give fans a jumpsuit – where did you get it from?
I can’t remember. I got it from somewhere really random, like a charity shop. I wore it at Reading and Leeds, and we were filmed for BBC2. I hadn’t actually realised that it would be the jumpsuit I would be wearing on television. I think looking back that if I had known then I probably wouldn’t have worn that one - if I had really thought about it. Why didn’t I go for something simple rather than a sequined jumpsuit? That said: it is amazing.

A film night – what does this involve?
When we started writing songs together we would always write in a context, from our own little world. A lot of it was inspired by John Hughes films, these 80s teen films. A lot of the songs that we wrote were about those characters and that world. With the album we’ve kind of carried that through… and this other thing that (sighs) I’ll tell you about another time. The songs were definitely based on going to the cinema and watching films. I’ll think we’ll just get some of our favourite films and make everyone dress up.

Perhaps in the jumpsuit?
Yeah! If they can find one. Maybe everyone can just wear that. But in turn.

I am really into cooking and especially into baking. I used to be a fat kid, basically, and this is my way of dealing with it – by baking things and forcing other people to eat them. I love tweaking recipes. This is a recipe which I have had for about five years and I have gradually tweaked it. They’re triple chocolate brownies and I’ve got to say… three different kinds of chocolate in them. Chocolate chunks. If you’re on a diet then don’t bother. They’re like fudge.. just so gooey.

You are asking fans to send in photos, what are you looking for?
To be honest, people send us in a selection and then we pick one of them. It’s uncanny. Before we went on tour with Wild Beasts we asked people to send us in photos of themselves when they were kids, so we could put them in our slideshow. There were ones from people my age, but they were just timeless. There’s something about photos taken on a film camera, an analogue camera that just look amazing. So nostalgic. I’m really up for that one I think it’ll be really cool.

There is a theme of nostalgia running through your material.
When we started the band it was an accident, it was all unplanned - those were just the songs which came out. Personally, I have always been into the idea of how important everything feels when you are a teenager, that you build your personality when you are that age and the things that are important then will always have a special place in your life; it’s such an amazing time for everyone, it’s universal. I love that. Looking back to my own teenage years it seems that there’s a link which runs through every decade when they are a teenager. I do think the 80s did it really well. The real 80s though – like frizzy hair and blue eyeliner and short shorts. Not like retro 80s – luminous green legwarmers. It’s just not real.

What was your big teenage band?
Mine was Blur. Pulp were a massive one as well, so it’s amazing to be working with Steve. We’re playing with them at Wireless and I actually had a dream last night and in it I was hanging with Steve trying to be really cool and then Jarvis Cocker turned up so I got to meet him. He also had a pet monkey though, which I don’t think is true – but if it is… no judgement. I’m not going to tell him who he has to be.

It’s not out-with the realms of possibility.
It’s really not. Which is what is so amazing about them. I can’t believe we’re playing at their own little festival. They’re just amazing and Steve – we both fell completely in love with him, he’s so funny and clever and wise. I can’t wait to see him onstage as I know him now as our producer, so I can’t wait to see him rocking out!

Summer Camp are set to release their debut album later this year.

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