Just before diving into their tour of Scotland last month, WFA caught up with Campbell's Wild drummer: Keir Jamieson for an insight into their music making with their latest EP: Spinning Circles. (You can have a read of their tour review here).
For anyone who doesn’t know, who are Campbell’s Wild and what are you all about?
Campbell's Wild are 4 friends (including a pair of brothers) from Edinburgh, Scotland. As clichéd as it sounds, we're really about having fun together and we do that by playing Noisy Poppy Rock to half-filled rooms!
Where did your name come from?
We get this one a lot haha. We used to tell elaborate stories and lies about it, but to be honest, it's just two words Fraser (lead singer) pulled out the air that stuck.
How did you meet and when did you know you’d want to pursue things as a band together?
Myself and Fraser are obviously brothers so we met young. Steven (guitar/vocals) has been Fraser's best friend for about 15 years, they met doing musical theatre and started a band together. After that band had run its course, Fraser started a new project while Steven left for Uni. This project ended up as Campbell's Wild.
I got involved when he asked me to come along and drum until he found 'a proper drummer'. When a space for a bassist came along I asked our mutual friend Calum to come and play, and when we started taking things a bit more serious Calum suggested bringing Stevie back into the fold.
Our friend Alex Hope was in the band as a keyboardist and guitarist for a while also, however, he left for the bright lights of London. He's doing a fair bit better than we are! He just finished a run in 'Half a Sixpence' on the west end!
As for the when? I guess as we played more and more, covers of songs we liked turned into writing songs to emulate our favourite bands and that grew into becoming our own thing.
You cite Blink-182 as one of your influences; you can definitely hear that in your music but Fraser sticks to singing with a Scottish accent, is this a way of remaining true to your roots?
I guess it would seem weird for Fraser to sing with any other accent. That's how he talks so naturally that’s how he sings. It's not as noticeable to us as we're surrounded by that accent, but I guess it's worse for anyone not used to the Scottish accent! God knows what he'll be like playing shows in England though, the further Fraser gets from Scotland the more Scottish he becomes!
The blink-182 influence is mostly referencing myself and Travis Barker on the drums. He's been a huge influence on my style, and playing type. I know you can see it when looking at my set up, but I hope that comes across in my playing also!
Your current EP: Spinning Circles is out now - tell us a bit more about the subject matter and what it means to you guys.
Spinning Circles has been hugely important to us. When we moved into the circles era, we'd just left a label that had promised us the world and delivered very little, and we were feeling a bit miffed about the whole band experience. Instead of letting that mindset win, we took a lot of time off from releasing new music. Instead we played more shows, and we wrote and wrote, and focused on getting the best songs we could.
As for the subject matter, I'll go through the track list one by one:
Eyes Wide Open – Steven believes the song to be about taking a chance when the time is right, and working to not miss that chance.
Balloons – Balloons was written around the word ‘Balloon’, sort of as a challenge to ourselves. But the song grew to be about being trapped in a toxic relationship, lines like "Let me have my life, I could do without this" and "Like puppets on strings, without me you're lifeless, I'm strangled by you, it shouldn’t feel like this” put that across.
The lyrics to the chorus are about the onset of anxiety. "I'm thinking in steps, give me time to get going, a hole in my chest, I'm losing my breath".
Headlights – Again, about a toxic relationship. It's putting yourself in the shoes of someone with an unfaithful partner and how it would feel to be betrayed and "caught up in headlights”.
Half Way Home PT1&2 – Steven interprets it to be about not really being where you want to be, and a bit lost. It's about finding a pattern in your own behaviour, whether it be depression, anxiety related, or even a negative relationship, and recognising that behaviour being half the battle.
Spinning Circles – is about depression. The verses are very negative, and hopeless. But the chorus lyrics and the gang vocals in the bridge are much mores positive. I think the chanting of "I'm going to win!" Is really uplifting and a turn on the sort of negative lyrics throughout the rest of the EP.
All in all, it appears the album was far more mental health inspired than I'd ever personally noticed, but it seems to be the main running theme through the record!
You’re currently in the middle of a Scottish tour - how has that been for you guys?
We actually leave tomorrow! So at the moment, excited and anxious at the same time. The bands we're heading out with all have old friends in them, so it's really going to be a lads weekend away with some old friends. We're all really looking forward to it all!
Do you have any plans of touring the rest of the UK?
We do, I was chatting to the guys about this just the other day. We're hoping to do another small run early next year and focus on heading south of "the wall”.
What has the last year brought you and what are your plans for the year ahead?
The last year has had it's ups and downs, to the point we had the conversation about whether this was something we still wanted to do.
Steven's a dad now, Calum works offshore, Frasers really into theatre and I use my time off to play with everyone and anyone, so it can be difficult.
We had a chat about whether we wanted to end on a high with Spinning Circles and the last tour or did we want to keep pushing on.
We all agreed that this was something we all loved and would all really miss. So we started writing again, we booked this tour and things have never been more fun in the CW camp!
As for next year, we definitely want to make it to England and record some new music.
You guys are pretty active on social media across all channels, how important do you feel it is to help spread the word of CW?
It's something we're notoriously bad for. Our Twitter bio is an apology for being so bad and inconsistent at twitter. It is something we know is important though, especially for smaller bands right now.
We've got real lives, and can't tour all day everyday. So to stay relevant in between releases, being visible on social media important to keep existing fans interested, but also helps find new people who may be interested in our band that would never know of us if we had no online presence.
Are there any upcoming Scottish artists you listen to that WFA and our readers should be on the look-out for?
Our tour mates Peyton Place, Gentleman Jackals and All so Simple are all worth checking out. Aly from All So Simple has just done a punk cover of Ed Sheeran's Galway girl and I love it!
Bands like Woes from Edinburgh are amazing, they're about to tour with Neck Deep. A band from Aberdeen called Dude Trips have been on my most played recently, as well as one of my all time favourite bands is Fair Weather Friends. We were fortunate enough to tour with them last year and as a fan, it was insane seeing and hearing their set every night.
If you could collaborate with any of those you’ve mentioned above, who would that be and why?
FWF for sure! We've actually said since our last tour that we would love to do something with Condie, their singer. He's got such a unique voice, and him and Fraser's own styles would be a good combination!
Finally, what does success mean to you? (Is this linked to happiness?)
In terms of the band I think, realistically, we all know we're too old and committed to the real world (mortgages, kids, jobs) that we're never going to be ‘successful’ in the conventional way, but we're fine with that. The band is an excuse to hang out with 3 of the best guys I know, play drums, and go away and play rockstar a few weeks of the year. Success to us is doing this, just in the biggest and coolest way we can get away with without missing work on Monday!
A refreshing touch of realism from Keir there, reminding us that success means different things to different people. Be sure to check out the guys on their socials and check out their EP below: