AN INTERVIEW WITH CAMP HOWARD
From their laid back tunes to the forefront of the high energy DIY Richmond scene, Camp Howard is unstoppable. Composed of Nic Perea, Wes Parker, Brian Larson, and Matthew Benson, the four piece have solidified their status as one of Richmond's best bands on their latest EP Juice. Clear cut and glowing with energy the band demonstrates the more aggressive “Fucked Up” to the somber chillwave “I Will.” I had the opportunity to talk to the band about their latest release and the influence of diy culture.
THE EP IS NAMED AFTER THE TITLE TRACK “JUICE.” WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS?
Juice seemed like a fitting title for the whole EP for several reasons. “Juice” is the strongest track on the EP and ended up being the single. We knew we wanted to name the EP after one of the tracks and it made sense to name it after the best one. Conceptually, “Juice” also has a refreshing element. In a way this EP was meant to be a refreshment after our first record. The overall sound of the EP and the quality of the recordings felt crisper and sweeter than our last record as well.
YOU HAVE SOME SPANISH INFLUENCES ON JUICE THAT MANIFEST ITSELF IN “MISMO.” WHAT DOES INCORPORATING THE SPANISH LANGUAGE INTO YOUR MUSIC SIGNIFY?
The Spanish influence comes from my family and my background. I was born in Mexico and have a Mexican father and Spanish mother. Writing/singing in Spanish is a way to preserve and embrace the culture/language that I come from. I think writing in Spanish gives me a bit more creative freedom as well.
YOU ENDED JUICE WITH “I WILL.” WHAT WAS SIGNIFICANT ABOUT LEAVING THAT AS YOUR FINAL THOUGHT?
“I Will” ended up being the last track on the EP because it was the least popular among the band. There was talk about leaving “I Will” off the record during the early process. Really it’s just a slower/sadder song and I think the other guys didn’t feel it as much, which I get. It’s a bit of a downer. So really the reason it’s the last track is just because we decided it was the last track we wanted people to hear on the EP.
WHAT PARTS OF YOUR DEBUT EP DID YOU CARRY OVER TO JUICE?
I don’t think there was much intentional carryover from the last record. If anything I’d say we learned from our mistakes of making the first record and were able to approach the EP with a bit more experience. The only intentional bridge that I can think of is that “Haircut”, the first song on the EP, was the first song we wrote after we put out our first record. So in that sense there is a linear carryover if you see it as a timeline.
“SHE DOESN’T MIND” HAS A PRETTY PESSIMISTIC VIEW. HOW DO YOU CONVEY THAT PERSONAL PAIN WITHOUT IT COMPLETELY CLOUDING THE WHOLE TRACK? WHAT’S THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE SUBJECT MATTER AND ACTUAL SONG?
I admit that there’s a disconnect between the lyrics and the music. Part of that is due to the fact that I put off writing lyrics a lot (usually months), which means I come back to the original piece of music with a new inspiration. I think sonically the song is fairly pleasant/catchy, so that itself balances some of the lyrics. I wasn’t worried about “clouding” the song though, I just wrote what came out.
YOU ONCE SAID YOU WORK A LOT OF YOUR SONGS OUT BY WRITING THEM PRETTY QUICK AND JUST SEEING HOW IT GOES LIVE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THIS PROCESS THAT’S SO APPEALING? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT ALTERS THE END RESULT?
It’s appealing to have new material to play frequently. We get a high out of playing new songs because we can really feel them. It’s a rush to be able to show a room of people how you feel at that moment. In the end it prevents us from recording songs we may not care about and decide which ones we really like. It also means we occasionally throw a half finished song into a set, but that’s alright with us.
YOU CAME TO SOUTH CAROLINA RECENTLY AND PLAYED A SHOW AT MAKEOUT REEF. HOW DO YOU THINK HOUSE VENUES LIKE THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC SCENE? ARE THEY CHANGING THE WAY WE EXPERIENCE + ENGAGE WITH MUSIC?
Makeout Reef is a lot of fun. I think house shows are a good way to reach people who don’t know about you. People tend to loosen up a bit more at house shows too. One of the most valuable aspect of house shows is that they bring people together in a more comfortable space.
WHAT IS THE RICHMOND, VA MUSIC SCENE LIKE?
The music scene in Richmond has a really nice respectful community feel. We’re lucky to be a part of it. There’s a lot of great artists in Richmond and we’ve made some good friends in the past few years.
LISTEN TO CAMP HOWARD HERE
interview by SAMANTHA SULLIVAN