Interview: Fraser Harvey of Cameras (Sydney, Australia)


So out of the Cameras trio (made up of Fraser, Eleanor and Ben) I understand that two of you share both songwriting and vocal duties. Which two would that be, and could you give us a bit of insight as to how this process goes down?

This is true – Eleanor and myself (Fraser) both write and sing in the band. Normally one of us will come up with
an idea and then we’ll throw ideas back and forth until it builds into a song.
We tend to read each other’s minds when it comes to what we like and don’t
like in sounds, so that helps keep the peace also!

The video for your debut single “June” is an
incredibly striking clip. Where’d you film the outdoor scenes, and how did the
basic concept come about? (I understand, too, that Triple J Unearthed helped
make the video happen in collaboration with NIDA!)


Thanks very much. Yes last year we won, alongside a few other Sydney bands, the opportunity to make a video
to one of our songs through JJJ and NIDA. Luckily we were assigned Paige
Rattray to Direct, whom we worked really well with. We had similar ideas and
just wanted to make something that really complimented the song ‘June’. The
outdoor scenes were actually filmed in Centennial Park,
mostly at dawn so we could catch the early light.

You’re about to light up the Playground Weekender
stage… what can those attending the festival, who may be otherwise unfamiliar
with your tunes, expect from your live show?


We like
to be loud so you can certainly expect that. Some of our tunes can be quite big
and a bit pompous, so it’s a bit ridiculous in that respect also. There
may also be a Pet Shop Boys cover which we’ve been talking
about. I’m quite clumsy so you can probably expect me to fall over at
some point too.

I assume you’re all rather excited about the show,
too? Is this your first PW?


We are MOST excited!
This is our first PW experience so it will be fun to check out. There are a few
bands I can’t wait to see which always helps too, but we also can’t wait to get
onstage ourselves.

What’s been one of your most memorable shows to play
to date?


We’ve been lucky to play some really cool
shows. I think though our single launch late last year was the most fun. It was
sweaty and loud and claustrophobic which are the three ingredients that guarantee a good night.

Scoring and playing live for the NIDA play
“Motel” was certainly ambitious task, and something which personally
I’d love to see more of Sydney’s
finest try and do. How’d it come about, and are you happy with how it was
received in Sydney?


It actually came about after we did the video with Paige. Scoring film or
theatre had been something we’d been talking about wanting to do since we
started the band. Paige loved the theatrical sound we kind of have, and
approached us a couple of months after we made the video and asked us if it
might be something we’d be interested in, which we immediately said yes to.

How different was the process of making the score to
making your records? What sort of freedom did you have for the production?


play is quite dark so I think it gave us a lot to work with in terms of our
musical approach. It’s a completely different way of going about writing
though. We are there simply to compliment what is happening on the stage
so it was more a case of being able to read into what was happening and trying
to enhance it a bit more.


You’ll be performing it next as part of the Adelaide
Fringe Festival… will there be any changes to the score, or will you be
sticking to what you’ve done thus far?


I think it
will stay the same for the most part. I’ve actually started to write a song
comprising of elements of the score which is doing my head in.

Your track “Deafeatist” got a
spot on the MTV show “The City” – should we expect to hear any other
tracks pop up anywhere anytime soon?

Yeah that was really
strange! I first heard of that from my Sister who lives in Amsterdam. She was watching it (which was
difficult for her to admit) and called me about it. We may possibly have our
music in a couple of other things but nothing is confirmed yet.

A bit of a cliched question for you now – who do you
all look towards for musical inspiration?


are loads of bands we could say for this. Autolux, David Bowie, The
National, Grizzly Bear, Muse, Velvet Underground etc etc etc etc


If you were to be asked, “What or who do you
sound like?” – how do you respond?


We were told
that we sound like ‘a mix between Cat Power and Interpol with a
touch pompousness thrown in’ so we’ll go with that…


And finally, it seems like 2009 was
a ridiculously busy year for you guys, and it doesn’t look like the
momentum has any chance of slowing down anytime soon. Aside from the PW and
Fringe shows, what else can we expect from Cameras in 2010?


We’ll be recording an EP shortly for release later this year so that’s our
focus at the moment. We’ll be writing for the next couple of months,
and playing a few shows to try out some new things.

Don’t miss Cameras when they perform at the Playground Weekender Festival 2010 next weekend, and at the Adelaide Fringe Festival scoring the NIDA play “Hotel”!

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.