SUMMER CAMP. PHOTO COURTESY OF KISSINGER TWINS
Summer Camp has a knack for stirring up a sort of imagined nostalgia amongst its listeners. While the popular project’s hopelessly starry-eyed, beguiling tunes and washed-out sound may call to mind your most memorable of high-school romances, Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey, who met each other a few years back through the London music scene, have far more of a flair for cinematic fantasy then the realities of yesteryear’s youth. Originally releasing their memory-triggering material incognito, Warmsley and Sankey have quickly become blogosphere darlings thanks to tracks like the shimmery, synth-heavy “I Want You” and “Round The Moon,” a fuzzy piece of power pop overflowing with innocent charm. Now the band is ready to take another step towards anti-anonymity with a new video, “Down,” which centers around a Halloween hoedown gone awry (captured entirely in digital flipbook-esque GIFs, no less), and a new album, Welcome To Condale, available in North America starting today.
ODD JOBS: [Sankey:] I was a journalist, briefly. I only wrote about four bands—I mostly did lifestyle stuff before that, so I don’t know if I’d call myself a music journalist. But before people knew who we were, NME magazine over here [in London] actually asked me to write a piece on our band. I told them “No, I don’t think I can, sorry.” I was editing an online lifestyle magazine at the time, but I only wrote about bands I really loved, and as soon as we started the band, I didn’t feel like I had the right to say who was good and who was bad. It was a never a dream of mine to be a music journalist, so it wasn’t really a painful thing to have to give up.
ON CONDALE: [Warmsley:] Obviously everything is rooted in something real, but we generally talk about writing from the point of view of characters, rather than our own experiences. The album is actually supposed to be about these snapshots of this town we made up called Condale, and kind of follows the lives of these four characters in the town. So the songs aren’t really that autobiographical at all. We created an online zine centered around the town so we could create a little background on Condale and the people who live there. The first track on the album, “Welcome To Condale,” came out of making the zine and talking about the people who inhabit the town. It’s kinda like how John Hughes has a world where all his films are set—we thought it’d be cool to have a town where all our songs are set.
TEENAGE LIFE: [Sankey:] My friend has just sent over loads of pictures of me when I was like 15, and I just can’t believe some of the stuff I was wearing. 17 was a good year for me… it was when I grew up and had a boyfriend and things like that, but before that I was nerdy. I had cool friends, but I definitely wasn’t cool—I would always be the one on the stairs, consoling the hot girl and helping her decide what boy to pick. I really loved being a teenager—I had the best time. But I definitely wasn’t the English version of a cheerleader.
THE STORY OF THEIR SAMPLES: [Warmsley:] We like the idea of using images that maybe weren’t designed to be used with the music, in the same way we use samples from old films and stuff with our music—it puts an atmosphere on it that you can’t really get any other way. We have a policy of not saying where we get them from. Hopefully someday somebody will stumble on them by accident, and be like “Hey! Isn’t that from..?” But people always ask us, and we never tell.
ON NOSTALGIA: [Warmsley:] I think we’re less about nostalgia and more about escapism—it’s the idea of having a world that was probably never real, somewhere magical. It’s kind of like Midnight In Paris, if you’ve seen that film—people are always nostalgic for another time. For us, it’s about finding something that we think is cool and having a go at it in our own way. It’s not about re-creating it or wishing we’d been alive then.
SUMMER CAMP’S WELCOME TO CONDALE IS AVAILABLE NOW. FOR MORE ON THE BAND, VISIT THEIR FACEBOOK.