Incendiary talk to Ivan Campo

The Book of Campodia itself is made up of a collection of lyrics & the map of the Isle of Campodia, in which characters taken from the songs live. It's quite Brechtian in a way....



Incendiary talk to Ivan Campo


Yes, yet another North Western band. How does the area do it? Must be the pies. Following a tip off from a well respected man, Incendiary took the time to check Ivan Campo out, and we're glad we did. The band talks about their wistful folk pop and their imaginary other lives, which I suppose is something you have to expect from serious film buffs...


IN: Tell me about the Book of Campodia, this fantasy world you have created. Preston isn't that bad, surely...


Adam (lead singer/guitarist): Preston, bad? No, it's not all that bad, its home! It has its treasure troves like most places & over the years has inspired me. Don't think there would be a Book of Campodia if it wasn't for Preston.


Will (guitarist/keyboardist): We all met in Preston at university so we have a lot to thank Preston for really. I lived there for 6 years & watched it grow into the city it is today.


Ben (bassist/percussionist): Especially with Radio 1's Big Weekend being held there, it's really put Preston on the map. It's suddenly the place to be.


Adam: The Book of Campodia itself is made up of a collection of lyrics & the map of the Isle of Campodia, in which characters taken from the songs live. It's quite Brechtian in a way....


Ben: Sort of. Its quite Brechtian because of the way the songs all tell stories, & most of the characters have titles & not names, like for example 'Casual Observer' 'Clockshopman' & 'Bandit'.


Will: I don't really know much about Brecht, but I did walk past his house whilst I was in Berlin!



IN: Would elegaic be a fitting description of your music? The brass sound allows for a suitably heady Arthur Lee vibe...


Adam: Elegiac? Hold on lets google it... ah right, yeah, I would say that, it is a fitting description of the music but not all our songs have a melancholic undertone to them.


Ben: Yeah, I'd agree with that, we do have a few up tempo numbers that don't necessarily tie in with being elegiac... but more importantly, & excuse our ignorance but who's this Arthur Lee guy? Another google moment...


Adam: Arthur Lee & Love! It kinda rang a bell. Well we've never before been compared with him, but I can definitely see some similarities there. I'm more of a Marc Bolan man myself.


Ben: We supported his son Rolan Bolan in London last May which was all good.


Will: I'm down with Arthur Lee, & he does have some similarities to us, but Campo aren't really Psychedelic so couldn't say he's exactly like us.


IN: You mention the White Album as an obsession? Why?


Will: It's our favourite Beatles Album, we used to all listen to it together whist we were at uni. Not very often do bands release an album like it. We aspire to writing something similar one that a bit far fetched?


Adam: I just love the diversity of it, there's so many vibes on there to suit every mood.


Ben: It became a bit of an obsession for me when I discovered the book Revolution in the Head by David Quantick. It gives you an insight as to how the album was made, & makes you almost feel part of it.


Will: I remember when Ben told me about the book & I started getting into that album all over again like it was first time listening. The White Album excites me.


Adam: Also, the way the Beatles changed around & played varied instruments is something we have begun to do when we perform so it's affected us in many ways.




IN: I'd have thought Barrett rather than Beatles; Ivan Campo are surely not gong to attempt Helter Skelter?


Adam: Helter Skelter is such a tune. I can agree on the comparison with Barrett, can't see us attempting a Helter Skelter though, however even Bob Dylan went electric so, who knows.


Will: Think we're inspired more by the Beatles because of their approach to each song or album, its always going to be different to the last, but can definitely see why people would liken us to Barrett.


Ben: I've not really listened much to Barrett, again I think his vibe is more psychedelic then ours is. It's The Beatles all the way for me, but then again I've was brought up on them, so maybe I'm just being biased.


IN: You also seem to like films, given your interest in Hitchcock... What is it about making films that interest you (or is it just Hitchcock?)


Ben: I've always enjoyed films for as long as I can remember. Transformers the Movie has got to be a favourite a mine, its got all you want from a film, a lot of action, a great soundtrack, plus it was Orson Welles' last film...what a film to end up on, really looking forward to the new one. I only really got into Hitchcock films when I was at uni, but favourites by him are Strangers on a Train & The Man Who Knew Too Much.


Adam: I'm into my B-Movies, the smaller the budget the better the film I say. I think Hollywood spoils things with too many special effects. Don't get me wrong I don't dislike CGI, I just prefer a more raw approach to film making. Favourites are: Hunk & The Independent.


Will: So to answer that question, we enjoy making our own videos because it gives it a personal touch. The videos we've done have all been in a Hitchcock style because we've always liked the simplicity in his camera work, & suggestive plots.


Ben: Sorry, kinda went off the point then talking about films we like. We've made three of our own videos that have similar traits to Hitchcock, but think we're going move on from that 'cos not every song would suit that particular style. I've really enjoyed making them.


Adam: We've recently had a friend of Ben's make us an animation video for one of our songs, so don't think we want to make all our own videos, sometimes its better for someone else to interpret a song with film. I've enjoyed making them despite it always being filmed at ridiculous times in the morning.


IN: Still after all this time I am confused as to what nu-folk is. You describe yourselves as nu-folk. Therefore you are charged, by Incendiary, to explain nu-folk.


Will: We've only just been put into this field of music, we weren't sure ourselves what it was but wikipedia saved the day.


Adam: Wikipedia states, nu folk music is described as the loose grouping of musicians working within the folk idiom, mixing various disparate styles with use of new technology...You learn something new every day...


Ben: Or so they say.



IN: Any nice recipes you can pass on?


Will: Mine would have to involve Falafel, humus, & pita bread. Falafel is my food of choice for 2007.


Ben: I really like making cous cous salads. Tomatoes, cucumber, rocket, spring onion & melted mexicana cheese....mmm


Will: Keep up with the times Ben, Cous cous was the food of 2006!


Adam: My choice would be as simple as beans on toast.


Ben: Yeah, except you have beans with toast on the side.


Adam: That's why it would be my own recipe, which I think is better, beans with toast on the side (laughs).


Words: Richard Foster


Photos: Courtesy of Ivan Campo