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Camera Obscura @ Academy 2

By contributor Charles S. Bravo
Still on the road with their third album Let's Get Out Of This Country Camera Obscura make their Newcastle debut at the Academy 2. Contributor Charles S. Bravo talks to singer Tracyanne Campbell about the band, John Peel and Abba.

The Long and Winding Road...... to Newcastle.

When I meet Tracyanne Campbell in the band's dressing room buried somewhere behind the main stage of the Newcastle Academy, she looks tired. 

The band were held up somewhere on the A69 getting into Newcastle and backstage at the Academy at 4pm on a Monday isn't the most attractive or relaxing place to be, but this is only one stop on a very long tour that's seen Camera Obscura tour Spain, Canada then Australia and New Zealand before getting back to the UK to promote the new single Tears for Affairs. 

"The very last gig of the New Zealand tour was in Auckland," Tracyanne tells me. "It was kind of a pub venue, and we didn't have great expectations, the sound system wasn't fantastic, but it was just full of young girls and guys who knew all the words to the songs and you could hear them singing above us.

Camera Obscura album cover
It is the band's third album

"That's pure magic as far as I'm concerned, just turning up to this place that nobody ever goes to, and all these people have been listening to your records for years, it's great."

A Kodak moment

If that kind of reaction and appreciation keeps them going when they roll into a small town bar on the other side of the world, it was the encouragement and support from John Peel that helped Camera Obscura in the early days, with John asking the band to play live from Peel Acres for his 2001 Christmas show as well as having them in for sessions.

"It means a lot to us that he would take on board a band like us, especially when no-one else was. 

"I think he was basically just a music fan, who wasn't pretentious about who he liked or he disliked, and he never tried to pretend to be cool or anything and that's one of the reasons he would admit to liking us," she laughs.

Super Troupers

Camera Obscura
The band has been on a long tour

Camera Obscura have often come up with quite unexpected cover versions on the 7" release of their singles. On the flip side to Tears for Affairs is a beautiful country acoustic version of Abba's Super Trouper, slowed down, and with a characteristically melancholic delivery from Tracyanne Campbell. 

"It's quite an interesting song," Tracyanne says, when I ask her about the choice of track.  

"The lyrics are really quite sad, they are really singing about having all this fame, and being the greatest songwriters on the planet at the time, but feeling quite miserable about it."

There are moments when a hush falls over the venue during the set, one of them comes as Tracyanne strums the first few bars of a stripped back cover version and the crowd quieten as they recognise the song and begin to understand its real meaning.

"I think music should be about expressing yourself, and trying to create something that's emotional, and will provoke emotion," she says as she's called for the sound-check, "and that’s what I do in my song-writing, I'm not going to pretend to be some clever muso – it really does come from just feelings."

Tears for Affairs comes out this month on Elefant Records with Super Trouper on the B-side of the 7" vinyl release.










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