Eigentlich wollten wir schon im letzten Jahr ein Interview mit Camille Bright-Smith führen. Doch manchmal ist der Weg über den Atlantik nach wie vor weit und es kommen diverse Dinge dazwischen. Pünktlich zur Veröffentlichung ihres neuen Albums "RENT" hat es jetzt doch endlich geklappt. Camille konnte uns einige Fragen zu ihrem musikalischen Werdegang, ihrer Website und dem neuen Album beantworten.
[Optinal Mittelgrund] Hi Camille, you recently moved from California to Colorado. Was this a hard decision for you and your family? What about your children? Do you regret it, at least a bit?
[Camille] Regret is not one of my forte’s. Although I’ve had many things happen in my life which I could regret, it doesn’t appeal to me so I just chalk it all up to life experience. I MISS California a lot though. I miss my Cali friends. The twins are three years old so they don’t really get the distance thing, but they miss their brother Ryan and his wife Jami and our other friends. It wasn’t a hard decision because I love Colorado so much and I am close with my family. My brothers and parents are here and there is nothing better than being with them!
[OM] Tell us something about your background; growing up, studying and meeting your husband John.
[Camille] I grew up at 8,500 feet west of Golden Colorado. My childhood was idyllic in many ways although I already had the heart of a creative as a young child so things could get pretty dramatic and even traumatic. My brothers and Dad were into being outside, fishing, identifying plants, flowers, and birds. I loved that and we all got along great sloshing around in the rivers and putting worms oh hooks and gutting fish and stuff. I liked being the girl that enjoyed that stuff.
My Mom was pretty much the perfect Mom. She got me. From a very young age she began to actively support my desire to be different, to stand out, to be a little rebellious. I always like to tell the story of the Principal of my Jr. High calling her in 8th grade regarding my ripped up "Flashdance" sweatshirt (with bra-strap or tank top hanging out on my shoulder). He had me in his office, sitting there nervously. He called and put her on speaker phone and said: "Ma’am, don’t you think what your daughter wore to school today was a little inappropriate?" There was a pause. Then Mom said: "If I had thought it was inappropriate I would not have let her wear it." And I felt the most joyful surge in my heart! Mom and me against the world! Thanks Mom!
[Camille] I left Colorado in a hurry for LA after High School and studied music at several different colleges. I learned theory, Opera Singing, and composition. I joined a band with Carl Syberg (R.I.P.), Chris Pumphrey and Bill Barrett in probably 1990 and then everything changed. I have my friend Grace to thank for that! Those guys really taught me to sing live and helped me understand what I had. Then Carl introduced me to John Bright and we started Dali Danger which became GUSH.
We sashayed up and down Sunset Blvd. for five years trying to be rock stars and loving every minute of it. It was big fun. Big, messy, dramatic, wild, grown up, silly fun.
[OM] I somewhere read about Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos and Air being big influences for you. While I can see an obvious connection to most of them, you might comment on French band Air and the guys from Radiohead. What do you think about their latest albums?
[Camille] Well, I love Air because of how sensual the music is and the gorgeous simplicity of their melodies and the diversity of music they compose.
[Camille] In terms of production and creativity Radiohead kills it for me when it comes to rock bands. I love the soaring, rich vocals and guitars set up against the dirtiest wall of grungy sound. I love that kind of relational difference happening in music, in the same song, in the same moment because that is how life makes me feel. Dissonance is good.
[OM] What was your initial musical experience?
[Camille] Mom playing piano and singing hymns, Dad playing Hank Williams on guitar and my little brother playing Spoons while I sang. Then my older brother Barr bought me Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young to play on my plastic record player. Then church choir and piano lessons. Then Bell Choir. In 6th grade I was the star of Mary Poppins on the cafeteria stage! Then many more choirs and musicals and good friends and great parties and I was hooked!
[OM] Now let us talk about your current project, the BloginSong website.
[Camille] BloginSong.com has been around for one year now. It’s a marriage of my leftie activism and my need to write music all the time. I write songs about current events, blog style. The songs are written and recorded quick, while the issue is happening.
[OM] The music and lyrics seem to be a bit more aggressive and feminist than on your last album, right? Also, of course, a bit more direct, because a lot of the songs still are demo recordings.
[Camille] Yes, "The Great Divide" was really personal and took a long time to write and record. It explored my growing away from California and back toward Colorado - and me becoming a solo artist as opposed to a part of a band.
[Camille] BloginSong is all about being quick and dirty. Its indie, indie, indie. The way I write and record the songs is part of my activism. Why do we need to have all our music toiled over and perfected and ironed out completely before we can listen? Music is supposed to bring us together by touching our deepest emotions and commonalities. So lets all agree that we like some of our wrinkles, our raw emotions, our crooked smiles and faded tattoos. The songs are all about real expression of music and ideas in the moment.
[OM] You are working again with the great Travis Dickerson, who I had the pleasure to interview a few months ago. Who else can be heard on your new songs?
[Camille] Besides the GREAT Travis Dickerson you can hear his brother Lindy Dickerson on guitars and bass and DJ Bonebrake on drums. I am so lucky to have Travis Dickerson in my life. He is such a great musical partner and producer and always brings out the best of my songs.
[OM] Are you still active in the National Organization for Women? By the way: Are you related to writer Susie Bright aka Susie Sexpert or is this just coincidence?
[Camille] I love and adore Susie and she is more like Family of Choice. I like to drink champagne with her, watch the sunset and talk politics, porn and breastfeeding. I was lucky enough to meet her in Big Sur years ago. She and her partner Jon have been real mentors with me in life and with BloginSong.
NOW is still part of my life but these days I spend more time with 9to5, the Denver B Cycle System and The Wilderness Society.
[OM] What became out of the "More Sex, Less Violence" project? Or in other words: When can we expect another album?
[Camille] I still stand by that statement "MORE SEX LESS VIOLENCE!" but the album never came to be. My new album is just released and it's called "RENT". It’s a good old fashioned Rent Party, but online. You can buy the album, which is 10 songs making up the best of BlogInSong’s first year, for $5 and help me pay my rent. I am pretty desperate. Back to being a couch surfing starving musician if this doesn’t work. Anyone have a couch big enough for me and my twins?
[OM] Is there anything else you want to tell us?
[Camille] YES I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for finding such interesting musicians and helping get good art out there.
We thank Camille for taking the time to answer a few silly questions and we will always have a spare couch for here available here in Germany. ;-)