Last week saw West Australian act Camarano release their debut album, Where Am I Now?.
The album is the band’s first major release since their EP Shadow Calling in 2019. Meanwhile, they’ve been teasing the album across the last year, drip feeding us a trio of singles: “Holiday Inn”, “Give It To Me Straight”, and most recently “Where Am I Now?”. Each of the three singles really highlight the band’s genre-bending sounds, setting us up for an album that’s not afraid to change things up.
The band list the likes of The War on Drugs and The Shins as influences, and those influences do filter through, often subtly. It’s a strong debut; playful, compelling, but also accessible. It wasn’t a surprise, then, to learn that lead singer Mat Cammarano, a multi-instrumentalist, has been a sideman for a plethora of WA acts. He certainly knows how to write and deliver a cracking song.
And he’s here to walk us through the band’s debut album, a track at a time. So hit play on Where Am I Now? and read on to discover the stories behind the album’s ten tracks.
“Where Am I Now?”
This song is a stream of consciousness, it slipped out of me without my knowing, the music and lyrics all at once. To be honest I don’t really know what it’s about, it sounds like free falling. If you listen closely you can hear my dog Lucy barking faintly in the background, an unintentional artefact that made it onto the piano track. It sounds like she’s trying to wake me from deep sleep. Accidental additions like these are my favourite part of making music.
“Give It to Me Straight”
This is all about communication (or lack thereof) and the growing frustration that comes from having to read between the lines. It is the most raw and revealing song on the album and (ironically) proved to be the most challenging to get over the finish line. The song went through several iterations and the final version has elements from four separate sessions. Eventually I stumbled on a combination of elements that truly supported the immediacy underpinning the songs sentiment.
“Wish I Was Here”
Captured a moment with this, I wrote and recorded it one hot Saturday afternoon. The production is very simple, built on a one take guitar and vocal performance with a sprinkling of piano, wobbly synth, bonus guitar part and harmonies. Contains my favourite lyric on the album, ‘oh shit, I think, I am a narcissist’.
I built this track up from the original demo, tracking real drums with Elliot Smith at Sundown Studios, before taking those sessions home and adding the other elements. My aim was to make it rough, gritty and slightly undercooked.
The outlier smack bang in the middle of the album. A vocoder acapella song in the style of Imogen Heap and Bon Iver. I wanted a moment that caught the listener off guard and pulled them into the lyric. Lyrics that have a dark humour to them in an attempt to offset the heavy nature of finding oneself in a deep depression. Believe it or not this used to be a rock song but never felt right.
“Did It Cross Your Mind?”
The bed of this was recorded in a makeshift studio/shed. I brought the idea to Matt (bass) and James (drums) one weekend and left with a what I thought was just a demo. As often is the case, the energy in the moment of creation was potent and impossible to replicate. Listening back takes me to those special moments of making music with mates.
“Fool For You”
A duet about unrequited love with my friend Leah Grant. Based on a one take, one microphone setup. The vision here was to channel an impossible relationship. Leah makes the song, go check out her music.
Another song with origins from an impromptu jam in the Shehan’s shed. Only listening back months later did I realise the potential of it. Part angst, part self-loathing with a flicker of hope. I love the passages of dissonance and the cathartic gang vocals
The obligatory piano ballad. One take with warts and all recorded on an upright in my spare bedroom. The song explores the trade-offs that come with every life choice. Borne from a shift in thinking from ‘what makes me happy’ to ‘what am I willing to live without?’
“Came Without Warning”
The expansive, cinematic closer. As soon as I finished the outro section, I knew it was the way I wanted to wrap up the album. It’s reflective, messy, euphoric and explores my relationship and arguably over-reliance on music for self-regulation.
Camarano will be launching the album at The Bird in Perth on Saturday March 20th. Support on the evening comes from Sam Carmody and Fraeya. For more information and tickets head HERE.