Interview: Drowsy Afternoons Down With Summer Camp.

Summer Camp came out the closet in a whir of gasps, delusion and chin-wagging a while ago, when before they'd shied away behind a secret stash of retro photos of Swedish adolescents and affectionate toddlers, Flamingos covers and the haziest recordings since Motown bristled through static on the airwaves (namely the infectiously viral Ghost Train). An incontestable highlight amidst the shambolic licensing pitfalls of last weekend's Lounge On The Farm, they pack knapsacks and point compasses towards nigh on every remaining festival the summer has yet to regurgitate. They're quite wonderful, and pertain to disco tinges and power cuts these days.

Dots: Summer Camp: who (now you're out of the shroud of anonymity), what, why and when?

Summer Camp: The band started as a happy accident. Elizabeth made Jeremy a CD with a Flamingos song on it, I Only Have Eyes For You, and then when we were bored one weekend we decided to cover it. We made a Myspace purely so we'd have something to return to in ten years time and cringe about. In the 'About Us' section for our fictional band we said we were seven swedish teenagers who met at summer camp, then Jeremy suggested that would be a good name for the band. Then our Myspace was found a couple of hours later by Sahil Varma from the excellent Transparent. It took a while to get used to being in a band, which is why we stayed anonymous, but then (thankfully) someone 'outed' us, and we had to own up and get on with it.

Dashes: Bizarrely I suppose, Summer Camp as a project finds itself at the heart of two largely media-imposed movements or scenes as it were; that of boy/girl duos and firstly, initial anonymity. What was your initial reasoning behind hiding behind faded photos and charade? Was it slightly unnerving to unknowingly stumble into such frantic frenzy?

Summer Camp: Because this all came about by accident, we never realised there were any scenes.  It was just a bit of fun we did for ourselves, we don't think there was even the 'boy/girl duo scene' happening when we started making songs back in August of last year.  As for the images, we needed photos for the Myspace, and Elizabeth has a huge collection of vintage shots, so we just used some of those rather than pictures of us.  We didn't think "oooh let's be anonymous, that'll set tongues wagging"; we thought, "lets not use photos of us, obviously, because then if our friends perhaps stumble across the Myspace we'll be really embarrassed".  Then when people started listening to us on blogs, they got excited about the fact they didn't know who we were.  But we just felt panicked about how they'd feel when they realised it was just dumb old us.  It did help us have a bit of space as we got used to what was happening though, and the photos tie into the music so beautifully.  It was very lucky.

Dots: Was there an element of competition between yourselves and the likes of Silver Columns to be the first, or last lot to come "out of the closet" as it were?

Summer Camp: Yeah, and we were going to get R Kelly to soundtrack the big reveal. No! We didn't know who Silver Columns were either, until they were outed (Pitchfork?). When you're doing stuff secretly, and you haven't planned to, it's pretty nerve-wracking. We had no idea how we were going to tell people, so there was no plan in place to announce it dramatically - if anything we were worried that people would be disappointed. We love Silver Columns though by the way.

Dashes: What with the recent influx of boy/girl duos swamping the streams of the blogosphere, from American sweethearts Kisses to indie stalwarts She & Him, to what extent do you feel as though the progression from last year's obsession with sequined females to this new set-up documents the fickle fragility of staying relevant in the changing winds of contemporary music? And can anyone stay relevant for more than a one-LP Kitsune deal these days?!

Summer Camp: This industry has always been fickle, and that's a good thing.  It's what makes music so exciting. So yes, there are always going to be changing winds when it comes to what's fashionable. As a band, you can't really worry about that though, because if you run around following every new 'scene' you'll lose credibility and more importantly, you'll be miserable. Also, the female solo artist thing is just in one genre of music, it's a small pond to be the big fish of. You just have to be aware but carry on what you're doing. (We hope).

Dots: Obviously inherently aided by the hazy photos that started cropping up online alongside Ghost Train before your cloaks were dropped, Round The Moon and I Only Have Eyes For You pertain to a dusty cinematographic aesthetic, almost a retrospective re-recording of Brat Pack films. Presumably your influences come thick and fast, and more significantly, not solely from iPod fodder that's already out there...

Summer Camp: Our new EP is very much of a time when we were hugely influenced by the John's - Cusack and Hughes - alongside Slipknot obviously.  Since then we've moved on, as everyone does, but we think we'll always want to keep that bittersweetness that comes with remembering good times that have now gone. Especially good times you only experienced through films or photos. We like the idea of writing songs for a world that doesn't actually exist, it's all in our minds. Along with the weird voices that tell us to do stuff.

Dashes: You must have answered a myriad of questions revolving around your mysterious conception as a band. Needless to say, you must be sick to the back teeth of such Spanish inquisitioning. Would it just have been easier to lay your cards out on the table initially or is the ace still in your pack?

Summer Camp: Who knows whether it would have been easier to do it from the off, but that was never an option for us really. It all unfolded so quickly, but at the same time most people outside of the blogosphere (and plenty within, too) had never heard of us, and we didn't really know whether or not we even wanted to be in a band at that point. It was a pretty crazy time, and looking back we think we made the right decision in keeping quiet until we were ready to face it/be outed. As for aces, we hope we still have some, but starting out as anonymous band isn't one of them, and we'll always argue we never thought it was.

   Was It Worth It - Summer Camp by musicmanners

Summer Camp's Myspace.