Ah, January. The month of bleak post-Christmas blues – of no booze and no chocolate, new gym memberships and Instagram-ready new resolutions. It’s a tough one.
So it’s a strangely vindictive irony that for many creative, artistic, freelance types, January is also the time when we have to battle through our tax returns and the yearly tussle with technology and shouty arguments with the taxman. GREAT. If that’s a problem for you, at least a little new music might provide some respite – UK singer-songwriter Camilla Mathias has a quirky new video and single out this week that’s all about these 21st Century perils…if you’re into idiosyncratic singer-songwriters like Kate Bush and PJ Harvey, this glitchy folktronica is well worth investigating.
Check out our exclusive interview with Camilla here now.
Your new single is out this week – can you tell us all about it?
“Don’t” is a song for anyone who wants reclaim independence from their login name, automatic updates, mutual friends and tax return…it’s about the stress of modern day living; be it futile admin, tech malfunctions or diabolical customer service. With the song, I aim to simultaneously provoke, entertain and inspire; layering operatic vocals, confessional and charismatic lyrics and classical guitar finger-picking. Originally I co-produced the signature sound in Switzerland with electronic sound designer Rupert Lally, and then more recently created the “Rebooted Mix” in the UK with producer Pete Brazier (Vertical Rooms). It could be described as an “evocative and engaging journey of theatre, hip-jazz, fairytale folk and performance poetry”.
The video is really interesting and very topical – what’s the concept behind it?
I chose to shoot the video in Barcelona, as I was living there when I started pre-production, and wanted to use the stunning sea, mountain and forest visuals as a contrast to the protagonist’s disastrous journey with devices and desks. The story is based on experiences of admin and tech stress, those moments of frustration, panic and meltdown that can so suddenly appear when a screen freezes, network connection fails or we are kept endlessly on hold to a distant and unempathetic phone-operative. I wanted to invite people to go beyond the constraints of a screen, machine or internet connection, beyond the dependence on technology; to find that inner warrior, that can communicate and express more fully, get out of it’s comfort zone and know what it’s role on this planet really is.
Your music seems to draw on a mix of styles. Who are your biggest influences?
There are so many – I’ll pick Rodrigo & Gabriella, Edith Piaf, Manu Chao, Bach, Madonna, Tarrega, Brigitte Bardot, Kate Bush.
As someone who works in a range of creative industries and environments, how do you balance those different aspects of your life?
I love the cross-over between them all, and I find they feed into each other. I especially love incorporating my passion for languages in my work as an actress or singer – it never ceases to amaze me how it brings out a different part of my personality and soul when I change language.
I’m most inspired when I get to use a bit of everything in a project. For example, last year I was in an-award-winning London stage adaptation of Lorca’s “Blood Wedding”, in which I was actress, singer, guitarist and composer…and also got to speak spanish – everything I love to do! (Ok I didn’t get to paint….)
I find it essential to practice regular meditation and yoga, to ground myself in an ever-varied life. Plus I travel far and wide for inspiration and creative space, to connect across borders and cultures, and to regain balance and perspective.
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
I intend to record a great deal of new material this year, both solo and collaborations (including a vinyl-only album), and the next single I’m going to put out is a lot of fun! I shall also be doing live dates around Europe, and will be continuing work on a sitcom with my sister (author and comedy writer Lorelei Mathias). I am also really proud that my track “Time That is Mine” is going to be soundtrack to the forthcoming film The Litter Mermaid, coming out this year.
You can find more info, music and visuals on Camilla at camillamathias.com now.