Last year, Cameron AG released with his first two EPs a handful of infectious, bittersweet, pop songs that reference being either lost or adrift, facing the road and trying to find some peace in that. With the fragility of his voice and haunting piano driven melodies, Double knot, Way back home and Lost direction stand out for their souly effortlessness; especially this last one, who’d put him in the spot before as it was labeled Hottest Record In The World by BBC Radio 1.
Cameron spent part of his childhood in El Salvador (no matter what other things the Internet may say, as you can read in the interview below). “I learned how to play the drum kit in El Salvador, so I guess it’s where it all started,” he says now from home, in Oxford. Though his recall of that period is not necessarily music related: “My favorite El Salvador-related memory? Getting home from school every day and riding my bike around the neighborhood with my pals.”
As we’re doing this over emails, can you please tell us where you are and what you can see around you?
I’m actually at home. The Simpsons is on and my cat is sat in the window.
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Some of your songs sound like they could be huge pop anthems, but you can still feel the simplicity of a bedroom recording in them: When/where’s your most inspired place to write a song?
Songs usually come when I least expect them. Weirdly, melodies often come into my head when I’m traveling, like on a bus or train or even when I’m driving around town. The song usually all comes together when I’m sat at a piano or with my guitar.
What’s your biggest influence when it comes to writing lyrics? Do they come from a much different place than the melody and the arrangement?
I usually get an idea for a song before I write any lyrics. The music can all come together quite quickly whereas the lyrics take a lot longer. You have to treat lyrics with respect, rushing them would be wrong. Lyrics give the song meaning. If I found out the songs I love had no meaning I’d be devastated!
Would you consider your experience in Nicaragua as an influence? Hablas en español?
It was actually El Salvador! I’m not sure how it got switched to Nicaragua! Haha. We moved there when I was six and stayed for three years so I was still pretty young. It was an amazing place to grow up and it’s a big part of my life. I was so young so all my memories are of riding bikes and playing football just like most kids. Sadly I’ve forgotten all my Spanish.
What’s your go to band to listen to now whenever you’re driving/riding/walking around?
I’ve recently got into the last Vampire Weekend record. Modern Vampires Of The City. I love all the odd sounding percussion on it and all the effects on the vocals. I’ve also just got into Daywave, I really like their first two Eps and I can’t wait for the album. Beck always makes me feel good, I love going back and listening to Odelay.
Let’s do a brief pop quiz. In which current tv show would you like one of your songs to be featured in? And movie?
TV show: Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Film: Jurassic Park
Dream collaboration (that doesn’t sound too impossible):
I’d love to work with Julian Casablancas from The Strokes. His melodies and lyrics are always really strong and he sounds dead cool on record.
Are you excited about your coming show with Blanco White in London? What’s your set going to be like?
I am excited yes. I haven’t played a show for a while and it’s going to be great to get my band back together. We’ll be playing some of the tracks off my two EP’s plus some brand new stuff!