Camera Obscura, you might have noticed, have signed a big fat worldwide deal with 4AD. Hurrah! The band were good enough to answer some questions in the run-up to releasing their long-awaited new album.
What's it like being part of a new fashionable music genre after being together for such a long time?
I don't think we've ever really felt part of anything fashionable. We've always just got on with it and made the music we make, but i think thats helped us to keep going, cause we've never been seen as part of a fad that fades away or goes out of fashion.
How's the Glasgow scene at the moment? Any new favourites?
Its always a bit of a hotbed really. Theres not really been a particular Glasgow sound of late, but theres always loads of bands starting up and doing their thing, frequently with a lot of the same folks popping up in the new bands. Dananananackroyd seem to be doing really well. The Just Joans and The Second Hand Marching Band are worth a listen.
How have you found recording the new album? Does it get easier with every release?
I think after the last album, which was the first time we'd used a producer rather than doing it ourselves, it has become a lot easier. We can put our trust in Jari and we know he'll push us to make the best record we can make. The last time was a bit of an eye opener, and it really helped us up our game as players, cause we'd never had anyone pushing us in the studio before. That translated into playing live too, which we were really happy about.
Does it frustrate you that you appear to be more popular overseas than you are in the UK?
It would be nice to sell as many records here as we do in the States, obviously being from here we'd like to do well here.
How do you think this will ever change?
The recent change of label will hopefully see us moving up a gear in the UK, which we're really excited about. Number 39 with a bullet. The last two albums have come out on Elefant in the UK, and whilst we love the folks at Elefant, and its been quite a nice feeling to be a scottish band on a spanish record label, making records in sweden and then playing to people all over the place, we've effectively not had a UK label, so this is a massive change for us.
Who would you say has helped you the most in your time together as a band?
If it hadn't been for John Peel, a lot of people would never have heard of us way back. So from that point of view, he was our biggest supporter from the word go. Doing the sessions for him too was a massive boost to us, especially the challenge of the Burn's Night session, when we went off and wrote new music for some Robert Burn's poems. Nothing like a deadline to actually get you into a creative panic.
How did the Tesco advert music come about? Did you have a big decision to make as to whether you said "yes", or wasn't that your decision in the first place?
The Tesco ad was down to the ad company approaching us to use Country Mile as they really liked it and thought it fitted the advert. Theres a lot of companies we really wouldn't be happy using our music, but everyone needs shopping, right. It got our music across to loads of new people in a way that releasing a single never would. At the end of the day, after investing so much in the music we make, we want as many people as possible to hear it.
What's the best thing about being in Camera Obscura?
Just getting to make the music we make and travelling all over the world playing it. It makes all the hours of hanging around waiting for things to happen at soundchecks and the tedium of flights and long van drives worthwhile.
And what does the next year hold for you all? Anything new and exciting on the horizon?
We've just been working on the new album and getting ready for it to come out. We're very excited to be working with 4AD, they have such a great reputation, and it feels like ages since Lets Get Out Of This Country came out, so we're all raring to get going and get playing again, and have this new album out for people to hear.