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'Interview (November 2012)'   

-  Genre: 'Pop'

Destined for greatness? Yes, absolutely. In 2005 and 2007, Philadelphia piano pop maestro BC CAMPLIGHT became synonymous with the term 'overnight success on both sides of the Atlantic.

A brace of critically acclaimed, super-melodic albums in as many years financed by household UK indie label One Little Indian were more than instrumental in getting his career off to one of the biggest and best flying starts in recent pop history.

Then, the music industry seemed to collapse literally around his ears, kick-starting five years of half-arsed relative anonymity peppered with every catastrophe from drug abuse to deportation.

Eventually frozen out by his touring band was the ultimate betrayal; however it was their rise to prominence as THE WAR ON DRUGS that provided Camplight with the motivation to continue making music.

Five years on, Manchester, England is the unlikely setting as Camplight (a.k.a. Brian Christinzio) prepares to complete a hat-trick of excellent long-players with the imminent release of album number three.

Entitled 'Grim Cinema', and earmarked for release in early 2013, Christinzio believes that this is his best record yet.

W&H caught up with the enigmatic maverick as he reflected on the five year rollercoaster ride since his last full length release

"It's been one hell of a half decade" he readily admits:
"Looking back on it I had a lot of regrets. I did the second record ('Blink Of A Nihilist')- we did one or two tours for it, and we were really starting to get momentum....and then...I don't know what happened..."

"Something in me sort of turned off...and I was finding any excuse to stop. I convinced myself I was ill, I was dying, going crazy - any excuse I could find to not do it..."

"I don't know why, specifically, that I didn't want to do it anymore; looking back, I really had a lot of breaks that people don't get".

"I never really officially said 'That's it' - months went by, years went by. I wouldn't leave Philadelphia; I was doing shows just in Philadelphia - those shows were great by the way - they were pretty amazing shows".

"But three or four years after I'm thinking 'Basically, my life is..sitting around, getting drunk, doing drugs..and then playing a show every three months.

"So I forced myself to come here - for no real reason other than 'I gotta go somewhere'".

"Since I've been here, it's been a crazy awakening. A lot of the doubts I had about myself and my music have gone away. A lot of fortunate things have happened'

"When you label yourself - give yourself a different moniker..you become a different person. Since 2005 I've been B. C. Camplight, whereas before I was just Brian:

"I had a sense of entitlement before, as well as, I guess, a lot of my own issues. Looking back on the seven years since I started making music professionally, it's been a pretty crazy ride:

"I have no reference points either. Since 2008, until I came here, I have no distinctive events in my life that were meaningful at all.

"It's a weird thing - not that anybody gives a shit what I think - but I stopped caring about what people think about me:

"At the risk of sounding pretentious, I honestly can't listen to music most of the time and enjoy it just for what it is, without dissecting it; without either..being enraged or jealous, or something - it's not a pleasurable experience to me".

"If I go down to Piccadilly Records and put on the latest thing, I'm just like 'Eurrgghh, this fuckin' sucks...:

"Nine times out of ten, the stuff you're hearing about..you're hearing about it because there's some sort of mechanism pushing it. Then you have to ask why - whether the guy in the band looks like a GAP model".

"One of the things that really kicked me in the ass, was when my touring band left...they gradually turned into 'The War On Drugs'.

"They're not Coldplay, but they're doing alright"

"I just have too much competitiveness to watch that kind of stuff happen to good friends" he laughs:

"I think that when one realises their own potential and it's not being fulfilled - that's a lot of it. That's the most frustrating part - I always knew, and I know, that any time I'm given the chance, money and studio time, then I'll make good records.

"But when that wasn't fuckin' HANDED to me, on a silver plate, I just said 'I can't make a record, with no money - so I didn't do anything.

"Knowing that you have that talent and that skill, but you're not doing anything - that's the worst.

"There was a time when I did my first record - I begged and pleaded with this producer in Philadelphia..I had no clue in the world whether I was good or not - I just wanted to do it".

"One little Indian gave me 20 grand to make this next record - boom there's the next record..

"Comes the time to make a third record, the music industry collapses...I'm like 'where's my 20 grand..(laughs); that's when
I became a spoilt little brat.

Although the last twelve months have been something of an epiphany, it hasn't all been plain sailing - far from it in fact.

"May 15th I flew back to Philadelphia to see my family - and when I flew back in, they said 'What are you doing here?';

"It was the craziest experience of my life - I said 'I'm just making a record here, I'm not taking any money here."

"They handed me this print out sheet and said 'You don't have enough family ties or close friendships that would make it unlikely for you to abscond'

"They threw me in jail, with drug smugglers and suspected terrorists. Next morning they shot me on a plane back to Philadelphia!

"I had to get the U.S. Congress involved, but it took me 3 months to get back into the U.K.

"I lucked out because basically, Network, my publisher, has stuck with me this entire time - I don't know how or why - but Blair McDonald, the president of Network, he's been pushing me to do this thing here and get things going".

"I think I've got to a point in my life when you start feeling like time is your enemy - and sort of using that to your advantage

"I can't overstate how excited I am about this (Grim Cinema). I'm really proud of my first two records, but this is the first time I've been afforded the time to revise, listen back to stuff and do it properly.

"The first two records were like 'You've got a week, here's the record button and....Go!'

"This guy I work with now, Martin King, at Eve Studios in Bredbury - he's as crazy as I am...

"Figuratively, I think this record is going to be a beast, and worthy of attention".

**BC CAMPLIGHT will appear at The Castle, Manchester, on the 29th November

**With special thanks to Chris at Hey! Manchester.

BC CAMPLIGHT - Interview (November 2012)
  author: Mike Roberts

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