Incendiary interview Blood Meridian

“I want to put the person who’s listening to it in the situation and the mind space that I was in when I was writing it.”

“I want to put the person who’s listening to it in the situation and the mind space that I was in when I was writing it.”

Matthew’s the one on the left!


IN: I don’t know if you’ll remember but I’ve actually interviewed you once before. It was a couple of years ago at the Metropolis festival in Rotterdam, when you were here with Black Mountain.


Matthew Camirand: No, I’m sorry.


IN: Well it didn’t go according to plan, let’s put it that way. I wasn’t prepared, you guys didn’t seem that up for it and I seem to remember we just ended up talking about rodents and pink Sherman tanks.


MC: That was you?


IN: Yeah.


MC: Oh man.


IN: So is your favourite rodent still a cat?


MC: Man I don’t remember much about that show.


IN: Well I blame it on this horrible licquorice vodka stuff that somebody had given me just prior to talking to you guys.


MC: Sounds nasty.


IN: It was. Now then, you’re part of this ‘scene’ or collective for want of a better term, with Black Mountain and the Pink Mountain Tops and what have you. It seems very democratic from the outside looking in, but I was wondering. How do you balance that all out between you?


MC: So far it hasn’t been much of a problem. When we first started Black Mountain, Blood Meridian was already going. The Pink Mountain Tops record had just been made, or just recorded. So it was kind of like..We just kind of agreed that we would always give whatever project the attention it needed at the time and everyone else would just kind of wait around.


It’s not easy sometimes but it hasn’t been a BIG deal yet. I’m sure at some point it might be one. Mostly it’s just like, the Black Mountain record comes out so it’s time for Black Mountain to go on tour and then, well, I suppose it helped that the Blood Meridian album came out at the time when the Black Mountain album had kind of run its course for this record, you know?


We’ve had to turn down a lot of pretty cool Black Mountain opportunities for shows for Blood Meridian but we have a pretty unique band in that, everyone else like Steve and Amber are just really easy going like that. Steve, it just kind of rolls of him. Sometimes I’m surprised how it rolls off him so easily. I mean we’re offered these really cool shows and he just turns round and says, “Sorry, Blood Meridian’s working at the moment we’ll have to say no.” It’s really cool that he’s like that and it definitely contributes to how we keep going, you know?


IN: Yeah that’s great because what impresses me the most about this whole thing is that none of the projects sound like a side project. They all seem to have heart and soul put into them.


MC: For Black Mountain to exist, Blood Meridian has to exist too. You know, because Blood Meridian is my baby and it’s what I care about most. I couldn’t be in Black Mountain if everyone in the band wasn’t into me doing this as much as I can. It ha to be that way or else it won’t work.


IN: Yeah well it could have been a case of, “Well let’s get together and start four or five bands and then if one of them becomes big we’ll go with that one,” but thankfully it doesn’t sound like that.


MC: Yeah, No, because none of us are really doing this for any kind of economic reason. You know, I’m sure the only people I can imagine it being a problem for are the people who work for the band. You know like booking agents and stuff, because they’re just out to make money. We’re just lucky that we’re surrounded by people that accept the dynamic and how it works and the rest of those guys just don’t have a choice.


IN: I know that you’ve said earlier in other interviews that the book Blood Meridian had a big effect on you when you read it. In choosing that as the name for the band were you kind of putting it up on a pedestal saying, “This is what I aspire to?”


MC: That’s exactly the kind of connection I made. I read that book and I was like, this is what I want to do. I want somebody to read something I’ve written and to feel like I did after reading that book. I mean that book fucking floored me. I read it twice in a row, front to back. I just started over again. It just transports you, the language in that book is incredible and the only other book I can compare it to is Moby Dick. It has that same epic, biblical grandness about it. I just loved it. A lot of people find it violent and gory and stuff and it is but that’s SO secondary to everything else for me. The story is fantastic.


IN: Let’s talk about the album, Kick up the Dust then. It seemed to me a very apt name for the album because to me it is a kind of dusty album. It deserves to be heard it bars with spit and sawdust on the floor. Or in desert locales, that type of thing. It’s got that real Americana, for want of a better word, type of vibe to it overall.


MC: It’s funny because I came up with the title. Well, I’d wrote the song, obviously, but I knew that I wanted that to be the title of the album. Like, I knew that probably a year before the album came out. Even six months before the album was recorded.


But it’s not surprising to me that it’s got that kind of cohesive feel to it because I knew the second I’d wrote the song that that’s what I wanted the album to be called. It dictated everything, from the artwork to even how some of the songs were recorded and because we recorded the songs over a long period of time, it probably even influenced the songs I wrote afterwards, that ended up on the album.


IN: So if Blood Meridian is your baby what do you want it to grow into? What do you want it to be and artistically, what are you trying to get across with it?


MC: I Erm. Well I love writing. I write, I’ve always written and someday I’d love to take writing beyond music into a more literary approach. I really enjoy writing. I like to challenge myself to write better and I love refining my work.


It’s kind of my first love so for me it’s not about trying to come up with a great guitar riff because I’m not the greatest guitar player in the world. It’s more like the music is a venue for me to write. When I write something down I’m like, “If this is in a song and I’m a stranger hearing it for the first time, would I get it? Would I get what they were thinking about at the time they wrote it?” Because that’s important to me, you know? I want to put the person who’s listening to it in the situation and the mind space that I was in when I was writing it.


IN: There aren’t many happy endings in your songs.


MC: That’s something that really frustrates me. It comes up a lot and it’s not like I want to be that guy who doesn’t see the bright side of anything. It’s something I think about when I’m writing because I don’t want to be some kind of one trick pony. I  have written a few, you know, happy love songs and stuff, but there’s always something to be said about not writing that personally.


I mean you take some of the greats, like Nick Cave. He’s writing these great stories that absolutely nothing to do with him or his fucking life but he makes you feel like they are.


IN: And sometimes it just makes more sense dramatically for someone to die.


MC: Exactly.


Words: Damian Leslie