Raising Up the Empire State Of Sound – Interview with CAMU
By: Lauren Dix
LD: Wow, where did those 8 years go? Hard to believe how fast time goes by. Can you tell us what happened with your band NAKED?
CAMU: During the last few years of the band’s existence, we seemed to be taking one step forward and two steps back. We had released Double Down in 2010 which was, in my opinion, by far our best album, the songs were great, the production was great and the band sounded awesome. We poured everything we had into that album, I actually thought it was good enough to break the glass ceiling we had hit. At that point we had been around for a while so we weren’t exactly a “new” band in Scandinavia, we had also gone through all the trials and tribulations that bands go through by then, the frustration was building up and we found ourselves trying to figure out what was wrong with the equation. The excitement level was medium towards us as a band. We were wondering what we should do to push forward. I had met Bill Aucoin, the legendary manager for KISS, he came to see us and loved what he saw and heard. We started planning a US tour. Unfortunately, he passed away right as we were about to start that next very exciting chapter of NAKED. We decided to do the already booked tour, followed by a second leg a few months later. During the last show in NYC I knew it was to be the last one. Instead of burning out we faded away haha.
LD: The decision sometimes to pull back happens for many reasons. It sounds like you took some adventures during that season of your life.
Do you regret that decision at all?
CAMU: No, I wish I had taken some distance to the band years earlier, that might have helped to prolong the inevitable in retrospect. I was so fully emerged, dedicated, band logo tattooed on me, 247 breathing NAKED, I wasn’t able to be very objective in regards to the lack of bigger success. I am wiser today than back then. That also had to do with the life experiences I have gathered in my life post-NAKED. I wouldn’t change a thing. The last 8 years of my life have been epic on any scale.
LD: Moving forward you have a beautiful family now, what is life like currently for you in Hawaii?
CAMU: I have two sweet and savage kids haha. They keep me busy being high on life. I also run a business that my wife and I have built up from scratch the last 3 years. It’s expanding. I record and write music at night if I’m not working on editing videos. It’s fun and challenging, I am definitely very grateful for everything in my life.
LD: Each day brings with her I am sure many new inspirations. Where is your go-to spot for finding those moments?
CAMU: I can get inspired at any weird moment of the day. Once I get a new idea in my head I cannot stop hearing it until I record it. I love when the music starts playing in my head but it can also be a major distraction if I have to function in a normal setting haha, I usually completely zone out and keep rocking in my mind. With that said, anything can inspire me to start on a new song. For me, the music always comes first btw.
LD: Talk to us about the single “Empire State of Sound” it really looks like you had a blast filming the video.
CAMU: It was a totally new experience for me. When I started making the video I had no clue how deep into the “empirical” rabbit hole I was about to plunge. Having gone from actually having two different guys lined up to make the video to directing and editing it myself without ever having done that before it was challenging, but it became very apparent to me it was all for a reason. I learned how to do it and I was able to make it exactly how I wanted it to be without compromising my vision. My friend Kevin ended up filming most of it and he was great. I then took all the footage and put the video together.
LD: Who all did you work with on developing this song and video?
CAMU: I had written and recorded the first version of Empire State Of Sound while living on St Marks Place in the East Village. Once the idea of releasing new music popped into my head last winter, after telling myself no for years, I started to go through a lot of songs I had recorded over the years. Empire had really stuck with me over the years and but the original version didn’t sound like how the song had developed in my head. I started recording the current version I had playing in my head of the song. Once it was done I sent it to the guys in NAKED and they overdubbed their parts. The song is about my experience living in NYC so it was a no-brainer to shoot the video there.
LD: It is feeling like this song might be part of a whole story in development… can you share?
CAMU: Originally we were just going to record one song. That snowballed very quickly. What is being released, to begin with is a video trilogy of the story of my life for the past 8 years. It’s a cool and challenging project that is very authentic and personal, this is also the reason why it is being released under a whole new name, CAMU.
LD: What can your old fans and new fans expect next?
CAMU: The trilogy songs are all very different. They represent different time periods, different thoughts and different sections of time in my life. They will undoubtedly showcase different sides of me and us on a musical level. The next song was inspired by attending Tom Petty’s last show ever. Once it became apparent we needed a second song I didn’t want to go back and dig for songs, I wanted something fresh, so I wrote the second track of the trilogy and then we replicated the recording process of “Empire State Of Sound.” We are actually recording the song right now while I am making the video for it and writing the third song. It’s all kind of happening at the same time. Very unconventional for me at least.
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