In the spotlight – Camens

In the spotlight – Camens

In the spotlight – Camens, honest indie rock and roll from Stoke-on-Trent. The band members, Luke Brightmore (drums, backing vocals), James Corbishley (lead guitar) and Josh Egan (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), all met through lead singer/bassist Todd Powell. The band was originally formed around his solo project LayeEye, but quickly became its own entity. The band changed their sound and name in 2017 and became Camens.

What dynamics do the members bring to the band?

“We’re all very different people with different interests and different backgrounds, but we all meet in the middle of a peculiar Venn diagram of musical taste, stupid humour and a will to make great music.”

How did the current band name come about?

“There’s no great story other than we wanted something simple to remember and unique so that people could find us easily. We had a big brain storm when rebranding and Camens stuck out. Google it! Nothing else comes up for about six pages!”

You rebranded in 2017. Was there a special reason for the name change and switching to a more heavier sound? Do you think your sound will change in the future?

“The band formed around Scott and his old stage name ‘LayeEye’. At first it was just three musicians learning the other guy’s tunes, but pretty quickly everyone else’s influences started creeping in and it turned into something new and different. If that hadn’t have happened I think people would have got bored and moved on.”

“Our sound definitely evolves. I don’t think we would write a song quite like ‘Redolence’ or ‘Violent Video Games’ again now, but that keeps things fresh and exciting. We’ve been working on a lot of new stuff and I think it sounds quite different again which is cool.”

How would you personally describe your sound?

“At the end of the day we’re four lads with guitars and drums, so we’re hardly avant-garde. But we try to do what we do with honesty and integrity, and we just try to write great songs that we’d listen to ourselves, that keep things interesting in terms of lyrics, ideas and structure. We call it “honest indie rock and roll”.”

What and who would you say are your main musical influences? 

“As mentioned earlier, we’re all quite different people and that goes for our musical tastes too, but again we meet in the middle with several mutual influences. The centre of that Venn diagram includes bands like The Strokes, Weezer, The Kinks, Red Hot Chill Peppers, Paul Simon…a good dollop of that good indie stuff with a few hints of pop punk, and a splash of classic pop and rock.”

I always love hearing about the song writing process. What can you tell me about yours? Does it come together in rehearsals or is there a primary songwriter? How much do you bounce around ideas with each other?

“It took us a good while to figure out what works best for us, but we’ve definitely become more efficient these days. Most ideas start with Scott, or occasionally a riff from Corbo. Lots of phone recordings get chucked about and the ones that make it past that stage will get kicked around in the jam room where everyone’s influences seep in. Sometimes it works right away and other times ideas are ripped apart and put back together multiple times over weeks, months or even years. It’s always collaborative though, which can be tricky, but we think it makes for more interesting records.”

“Bouncing ideas is essential. Often Scott will have an idea but it doesn’t really go anywhere. Then we get in a room together and a riff might crop up, or a drum beat or vocal idea and the rest of the song is unlocked there and then. It takes a lot more work to reach the finished product but often sharing ideas can spark big breakthroughs.”

How does the collaborative process with your bandmates compare to the feeling of performing to an audience?

“They’re two very different animals. Taking a song from a small idea to a finished record can be an arduous process, but incredibly rewarding. Playing live is an adrenaline rush and a good gig can be truly reaffirming and a reminder of why we all put so much time and money into this daft little hobby.”

What do you feel when you walk on stage and what is your favourite thing about playing live shows?

“I can’t speak for everyone, but I think we’re all a bit different in this aspect too. Personally, I have a lot of gear to set up, often in a small amount of time and under pressure, so that’s his biggest stress, but once that’s sorted it’s all about enjoying the moment and putting on a show. It can be pretty cathartic. I think I do speak for all of us though when I say that the feeling you get during and after a great show – people singing back your songs, dancing, packing out a sweaty room and having a great time to songs you’ve written – that’s what keeps us coming back; that’s the dragon we’re always chasing.”

The song we are most excited to perform live is…

“We all have different favourites, but I think we all get a pretty big buzz from playing ‘Slept on the Sofa’. It’s a big tune and we’ve played it enough times to feel comfortable really going for it now. ‘Poltergeist’ is headed that way too…”

Most memorable day as a band?

“There are a few, and not always in a good way! We’ve survived car crashes, trips to A&E, tech issues, but I think great gigs stick out the most. Opening for Scouting for Girls in packed out O2 venues at the end of last year has to be up there.”

What should we expect from your next release?

“We’ve just had some mixes back and that’s always exciting. It definitely feels like there’s something new and fresh to the way these sound, but without losing those Camens quirks and idiosyncrasies.”

Any plans for the rest of the year?

“We’ve some great gigs and festivals coming up over the summer, from Deva fest in Cheshire to our Y Not festival debut in July. Then more new music before too long…”

“Our next show is in Chester at the Live Rooms on June 30th with The Lilacs and Dirty Blonde.”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“There’s a TON of great stuff, but I think I’d have to say ‘Flee’ by Jack Hyphen. Close harmonies are something that have always resonated with us. We love breaking down our songs and working out three-part harmonies. They don’t always make it onto the records as we can get a bit “Disney” if we’re not careful. But Jack nails it on ‘Flee’ and keeps it both tasteful and cool.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track and why?

“It’s a little more electro-pop than indie, but it’s certainly indie in the sense of being an independent artist/band. I’ve followed Portuguese band Vaarwell for a few years now and love what they do. Their new release ‘don’t burden me with a call’ is just so good. Again the vocal harmonies are a big attraction, and the song feels fresh but also warm and welcoming.”

More about Camens:

Camens set up a Patreon during lockdown which helped the band survive a very difficult time. Become their Patreon supporter and get access to extra material and content! Check it out here.


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