An Englishman, an Irishman and a Swede walked into a pub. No, not the start to a very bad joke but instead one of the possibilities of this years Camden Rocks Music Festival. GIGsoup found out what Camden means to Paul Howells, guitarist with up and coming Leeds based rock band Fizzy Blood, Adrian McAleenan from Northern Ireland’s Screaming Eagles and Jennifer Ahlkvist from The Franklys (and Sweden).
When did your relationship with Camden start?
(AM) About 15 years ago when I was walking through the area and hearing loud rock n’ roll pouring out of the bars, it was filthy and fresh and the sort of place our band should play some day.
(JA) Camden was the first place I went for a night out when I moved to London 8 years ago. It was back when I was obsessed with indie music and me and my friends went for an indie night at the Underworld. I remember I was dancing to all my favourite songs that night, feeling ultimately happy. The place in Sweden where I’m from didn’t have any kind of music scene so it was like heaven for my 19-year old self! Camden became a favourite for me there and then, especially as there are so many places to go for good music and gigs.
(PH) My relationship with Camden started when I got my first ever gig in London and it happened to be at the Dublin Castle. I was 16 and I went down in my friend’s red Mini, with my knees up to my chin to make room for our equipment. The prospect of going to play a gig in ‘the big city’ seemed really exciting and I hoped I would see someone famous as I’d heard from friends who’d been to Camden before that they would spot bands who graced the NME cover just having a casual coffee. I remember feeling like it was this magical place where opportunity was thick in the air…I was only 16 remember!
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Have you played in Camden before?
(PH) We’ve played a tonne of shows in Camden from venues ranging from The Monarch and The Black Heart through to The Barfly and KOKO.
(AM) No, this is our first time, it’s going to be mayhem…
(JA) Many times. Probably not many venues in Camden that we haven’t played actually! Roundhouse is still on my bucket-list though.
What was your reaction when you knew you would be playing there this year?
(JA) Very happy to be back! We played the festival 2 years ago at the Hawley Arms. And psyched to hear that The Damned will playing as well. They’ll be a nice tick off our bands-to-play-with-list!
(AM) Bloody brilliant, bring it on!
(PH) I’m excited go back as Camden rocks has a really good ‘street party’ community vibe. It’s one of the few times that being in London feels like you can strike up a conversation with a stranger without being mean mugged off the face of the earth.
From the initial announcement of bands who are you looking forward to seeing?
(AM) Stone Broken are definitely up there, I’ve heard a lot about them and looking forward to catching them live.
(JA) The Damned, as mentioned before. And really looking forward to seeing The Urban Voodoo Machine
(PH) I’ll probably go watch Weirds. We did a show with them in Cheltenham last year and I thought they were class.
Have you been to Camden Market, what did you buy?
(JA) I used to go to Camden Market pretty much every weekend for a few years. Unfortunately since I moved out of London last year I don’t make the trip as often anymore. They definitely have the best vintage in London! And I have a favourite stall for second-hand records in mint condition.
(PH) I do like a good browse in the market. One thing that I always buy is the dodgy street chicken, I like to live dangerously. The weirdest thing I’ve bought is an african tribe mask; for some reason I thought it would make a good gift for a family member.
(AM) Yeh, I bought a candlestick and an old Chas n Dave LP
Which Camden venue is the best to play at?
(JA) We’ve had a few sweaty ones at The Good Mixer in the past. The stage and sound hasn’t been the best, but they’re always a lot of fun. My favourite one is probably Barfly, or Camden Assembly as it’s now called. The sound there is always wicked!
(PH) I think every venue in Camden has its own personality and quirks, so ‘best’ for me is quite subjective. Having said that, I loved playing at KOKO because it’s got a nice, roomy stage and the fact it still looks like a theatre give the whole gig a sense of occasion.
Why should I as a gig goer make an effort to see you guys at Camden this year?
(AM) Because it will put a massive smile on your face and we will have you singing, clapping and rockin’ along with us, you will have no option.
(PH) Because we might die during or immediately after the gig and you’ll forever be someone who wasn’t at the gig where Fizzy Blood died.
(JA) Because you won’t be expecting it. People take one look at us and think we’re gonna be a girly funk-pop-whatever. But we’re actually screamier and sweatier than most men.
Tickets available HERE