Interview – Cam Cole

Musician and singer-songwriter Cam Cole has had quite the rise to fame over the past few years, originally starting out as a street busker. I was very interested to find out more about him so I decided to have a chat – find out more below!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new album titled Crooked Hill. How was the reception? Were you excited?

Yes, the reception was phenomenal man. It’s the first time I had press reviews and a pre-release campaign and it was just awesome to see people genuinely excited for release day. To be honest – the way albums are made is that they are recorded almost a year in advance so to me this album isn’t new but what is exciting is that folks can now hear the songs and I get to play them live for them. I’m already deep into writing the 3rd one.

What can you tell us about the album, for those who haven’t checked it out yet?

It’s a much heavier sounding record than the first one, with more stoner rock vibes and heavier riffs but it still has blues rock vibes and grooves. It just feels like a natural progression from the first one. My producer Markus and I still wanted to keep the street rock feel so all songs are recorded live in one take but we experimented with me adding second guitar tracks to some songs to give it a wider feel. I’m really happy with how that turned out, it sounds wider but not overly polished and it’s still raw and real. The songs on the first one got people grooving, the songs on the second one get people into mosh pits at my shows.

You recently released a new single titled Message In The Mountains. What can you tell us about the track and why did you pick that song to be a single?

Sometimes in the studio you just hit a ‘magic take’. It’s hard to explain what it is but as a musician you know it when you hear it back. Sometimes you are able to recreate exactly what you had in your head and it comes out of you. Message In The Mountains was like that. I love that take, the mix is great, it just feels perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Do you have any more singles lined up? How do you pick which songs are going to be singles?

No, I had three singles before the album and now Message In The Mountains is the main single, so that’s enough. With the singles, I mainly listen to the suggestions of my manager who is also my producer and think about how that makes me feel. We are on the same page 99% of the time and with this album for example it was always obvious Albion would be the first single.

You’re well known for your distinctive one man band style of playing, playing many different instruments. How many instruments do you play and did you find it hard to learn to perform in such a way?

Thanks, other than guitar and drums I play a bit of bass, didgeridoo, djembe – that sort of stuff. I’ve always had a good feeling for rhythm so drums come naturally to me but doing it at all at the same time was still difficult at first. The trick is to persist, there is no magic talent or formula. You have to just sit down and put hundreds of hours into it, eventually, you are able to conquer it and make the sounds in your head come out.

Most of your songs are recorded live in one take. Does this make recording difficult? How is the writing and recording process for you?

It makes it easier and harder in a way. Easier because I’m a live artist first and foremost so I don’t have to change what I do in the studio and can just play the way I am used to. Harder in a way because the pressure is on you to get it right without flaws and because it’s all in one take without a click track you can’t just go and fix certain parts. That can be annoying when you nailed a sick verse but then the chorus isn’t right. I’m getting better at the studio thing but I really do feel most comfortable on stage with a crowd.

In terms of writing I just sit back, get stoned and play my guitar for hours every day until a riff comes out that feels exciting to me. Once that is there I play around with the footdrum beats and then add the words.

You rose to fame and became something of a viral sensation due to your busking, do you still busk?

Yes, I did it the weekend before the tour started actually. It is totally different from a show where you sell tickets because you have to make people stop and watch you that really have other things on their mind that day. But when you get a crowd and the energy is kicking off it’s magic.

You’ve also announced some live dates for autumn. Are you excited? Is there anywhere that you’re particularly looking forward to playing?

Big time man. With all this covid stuff we’ve had to reschedule the tour multiple times, so it’s good to see people again. I look forward to all cities but Glastonbury in the end is special to me because a lot of my hippie mates are in the area and I spent a lot of lockdown down there in my van.

What can people expect from a Cam Cole show and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?

I don’t know what they should expect but I always get people after shows telling me whatever it is I do is just what they needed. I guess it’s because there is no bullshit, no judgement and all kinds of people are coming out and rocking out together. There is too much division in the world right now and after being locked up for so long people just need to go out and let loose. I know I do. So if you need an energy release, my shows are the place for you.

Any last words for the fans?

On this tour so far I have signed an arse cheek and a guys breasts, I can’t wait to see what else you throw my way. You guys are mad, I love it.