Can­did cam­era

They may look like the quin­tes­sen­tial indie band (glasses, the odd beard, staffroom fash­ions), but Cam­era Ob­scura want more than a cult fol­low­ing. Carey Lan­der talks to Tony Clay­ton-Lea

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

CAREY Lan­der, a mem­ber of way, per­haps, that Lan­der’s Ken­tish ac­cent Glas­gow’s Cam­era Ob­scura, grad­u­ally mu­tated into a dis­tinct Scot­tish re­minds you of the kind of per­burr – a change in their plans took place. son who once fea­tured in Bri­tAs a John Peel favourite, it was only a matish kitchen sink dra­mas – the ter of time un­til other peo­ple, other record ones Mor­ris­sey ri­fled through for vis­ual la­bels and other coun­tries cot­toned on to icono­graphic images and lyri­cal con­ceits. the band. To say that Lan­der is as quiet as the pro“I’m not very good at be­ing am­bi­tious,” ver­bial church mouse is akin to say­ing says Lan­der, “or hav­ing the courage to be that Podge and Rodge are ever so slightly am­bi­tious. I loved the mu­sic of Cam­era Obrisque. And yet, as Bananarama once so scura be­fore I joined, but in the late pithily sang, it ain’t what you say, it’s the 1990s/early noughties the band didn’t play way that you say it. very much. When I started with them

Lan­der might be soft-spo­ken but one of there was talk of go­ing off to Europe to her favourite books (wouldn’t you just play, which we did. But we never re­ally know that she prefers the soli­tari­ness of thought we’d be do­ing what we’re do­ing read­ing to the pop­corn com­mu­nal­ity of now, which is tour­ing all over the world on moviego­ing?) is Martin Amis’s The War the back of a rel­a­tively suc­cess­ful album Against Cliché. [last year’s aptly ti­tled Let’s Get Out of This

Such a choice says much about her Coun­try]. We knew that tour­ing is what modus operandi, both as a per­son and a many bands do, so it must have been a pos­mu­si­cian. She says she joined Cam­era Ob­si­bil­ity in the back of our minds, but it still scura in 2001 as a fan rather than as a job­comes as a sur­prise to us that we head off bing mu­si­cian. “I moved from Maid­stone, to parts of Europe and be­yond.” Kent, to Glas­gow in 2000, and I met some The change was grad­ual: “It took a while band mem­bers around the city, loved what they did and then heard that they were look­ing for a new key­board player. I tried out for it, and got it, I’m quite sure, be­cause they were too lazy to au­di­tion any­one else.”

Cam­era Ob­scura, formed in 1996 by lead song­writer Traceyanne Camp­bell, have al­ways trod­den a res­o­lutely indie path. You’d won­der they made any progress at all, con­sid­er­ing their con­cen­trated lack of am­bi­tion and pen­chant for twin­set’n’pearls, af­ter­noon twee and the col­lected works of Muriel Spark.

And yet, slowly but surely – in the to get to where we are now; we’re quite slow work­ers. I don’t think it was too painful along the way, how­ever.” Three al­bums in the space of 10 years isn’t ex­actly pro­lific, but Lan­der ar­gues – well, em­pha­sises might be a more truth­ful word – that to take time over a col­lec­tion of songs isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing. Be­sides, she im­plies, they want to be good, and to be good takes time.

Inas­much as Lan­der can bris­tle, she does so when it’s sug­gested that Cam­era Ob­scura’s early gigs were lit­tle more than re­hearsals.

“That’s a bit harsh in that we al­ways had the in­ten­tion of want­ing to be good. We cer­tainly didn’t want to be bad, or that we’d want to go on stage and not play a good gig, al­though, that said, there was al­ways a slightly sham­bolic el­e­ment to those days. We’re play­ing much bet­ter now, but we’re still plagued by on-stage tech­ni­cal prob­lems.”

Not mu­si­cal ones, though. Let’s Get Out of This Coun­try, their third album, thrusts us into a par­al­lel uni­verse where Con­nie Francis fronting The Cardi­gans isn’t such a bad idea. If the mu­sic has indie stamped all the way through, it seems the col­lec­tive sense of am­bi­tion (which sweeps not-very­good-at-be­ing-am­bi­tious Lan­der along with it) rises way be­yond it.

“We def­i­nitely want to be a big­ger band,” she says, al­most tremu­lously. “We don’t want to be a cult indie band. We want to be able to tour, to sell records, and do it prop­erly. It all helps you to be­come a bet­ter band. It’s been a grad­ual thing, but the com­par­a­tive suc­cess of Let’s Get Out of This Coun­try has made real suc­cess seem

more of a pos­si­bil­ity.”

-, See/Hear Lis­ten to Cam­era Ob­scura on www.mys­pace. com/cam­er­a_ob­scu­ra_records

Cam­era Ob­scura play: McGar­rigles, Sligo (to­day); Róisín Dubh, Gal­way (to­mor­row); The Vil­lage, Dublin (Sun­day May 6); Cyprus Av­enue, Cork (Mon­day­May 7); and the Cathe­dral Quar­ter Arts Fes­ti­val, Belfast (Tues­day May 8)

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