Early April our single “The Sight Of Love” was featured download at a British website/podcast New Music Transmission. Followed by a discussion feature I downloaded a week after which I decided to share with everyone by inserting the mp3 file. We felt honored with the nice commentaries injected with very constructive criticisms. I transcribed some excerpts from the podcast episode for easy reference.
Episode 16: The Sight Of Love – The Camerawalls
Steve: We have The Camerawalls’ The Sight Of Love coming out on Wednesday. They’re a band from the Philippines.It’s kinda like an indie band very much of British influences. And this song seems very tight, seems pretty good. Let’s dive straight into it. What are your thoughts? What are your feelings, Jack?
Jack: Ah yes.. a very pleasant indie track from a Filipino band.
Steve: Yes, new for us!
Jack: New for us. We’re branching from different countries although maybe we haven’t branched out into a different sound which is maybe we would like to have done going out so far felt.
Steve: Yea, I see what you mean. It’s interesting to go to the other side of the world pick up something that’s very native to the U.K.
Jack: Certainly. Very native. And uhm.. yes, we said it’s very pleasant. I think the track was very reminiscent of enjoying summer, having a laugh with your friends…
Jack: …enjoying the sunshine. It’s a very summery kind of music.
Steve: It’s a nice summery track. I think it’s quite a nice pleasant one to ease us back into the system but you do raise an interesting point with the potential issue. It does sound remarkably like British music… They’re in the Philippines where, my understanding is, Western culture is viewed as being very positive. Western culture sells very well in a place like Manila which is where the band is from. Now they’ve, I’m not saying they’ve purposely done this, although they may have well done, they’ve could’ve taken the sounds from things like The Beatles and The Smiths, and Echo & The Bunnymen who still sell records in areas like the Philippines. And most of, kind of Australia/Asia, that kind of area has taken that sound and is selling really well. They are gigging everywhere. If you look, they’re gigging almost every day through April and many of the days through May. Sounds like a Western band and they’re doing a good job. However, do they want to be a band who sell well in the Philippines and can knock out Philippines or do they want to be an internationally known and accepted band? Because no one in the U.K. is gonna really buy it. We got wealth of it already. Do you see what I mean?
Jack: Yea, we have a wealth of it already and maybe it’s arguable that mainstream has moved on from that sound. It’s doesn’t really sound like UK Top 10.
Steve: No, because this is indie. This is indie circle at 1980.
Jack: Certainly is. And you know, as pleasant as it is, I think you’re right. I think they’re trying to sell well within.. Their produced sounds.. They are popular within their very close surroundings. Uhm.. In so, you know, I think they’re probably in the right place for their sound. Because if it is popular and it’s.. they’re getting gigs in the place they are then they are probably producing appropriate music because, like you say, it’s very, very remarkable if they would ever make it if they were in U.K. surrounding for example.
Steve: I think in their current form they would struggle. Now, this is what they do have going on their side. As we said, they’ve got an established root, like almost a tour root, which they can play in various places within the Philippines. They have very healthy foundings, typically English speaking and southasian is the impression I get. And they’ve got some very well produced songs. They’re not amateurs. I think they produce pretty well. And musically, they all seem very competent. What they need to add, what I would urge them to do if I was their advice-giver if I was giving them some form of management, I would urge them to try and get something original and ideally from their own culture, from their native culture into their music to mix with it and blend and that would sell in the U.K. Because whenever we have bands have been imported here from America or from Spanish speaking nations or from Germany, the ones that do best are the ones who really incorporate their own culture into their music and add something different for our market…
Jack: (cites an example)
Steve: You need to keep some elements of British or Western music within what you do purely so that it has a slight level of familiarity and can be understood as music by the Western audience. But at the same time you really need to inject just a bit of something different. Because it’s ironic the more you sound like you’re a British band, the less popular you likely to be in Britain.
Jack: Because we have a lot of British bands here.
Steve: Like I said if they wanna be big in the Philippines and in other places in South Asia and Austra-Asian islands probably even in places like South America and to some extent.. Middle East. If they keep up sounding a lot like a Western band and fully commit gigging in those regions, then they can make a whole a lot of money.
Jack: Yeah, I think that is certainly the case.
Steve: It’s a difficult one to call.
Jack: Obviously for us as a Western audience, we are so used.. that you know, our music is saturated with this kind of sound. For me it’s the usual, if we were to hear this in London or some place we would bypass almost instantly. But I think it was the distinction of, I think certainly on first glance, their image is what stood out. That is the case when we were choosing the band.
Steve: Yeah, the song I came across those weeks, so we end up or not, which is lucky for us is The Sight Of Love which I thought was quite catchy and quite nice, I thought it’ll be a nice way back in. But, yeah, I see what you mean though, if you see them live or if you hear them… they’re good enough to be heard on the radio in the UK… But it wouldn’t kinda jump high, and I think that’s what we’re trying to say, it can pass you by a little too easily here in the UK.
Jack: But, if they did incorporate just something, something different, something that a Western band wouldn’t usually incorporate… something outlandish. I can’t think of any Filipino instrument for example.
Steve: I see what you mean. It could be an instrument. It doesn’t necessarily have to be. It can just be a different way of thinking about music. There’s a number of different things they can incorporated it there. Instrument is the most obvious one. I can’t think of anything specifically… but it’s hard to say without quite detailed knowledge, you know, about the Philippines. I’m sure there are things they can slip in where it can be identified that this is an indie band from the Philippines instead of being an indie band and then you go, “oh my god, they’re from the Philippines.”
Jack: I think what doesn’t help is if you look at their influences for example. They have no Eastern influences at all. All of them homegrown bands or bands that continue to sell abroad… majority of them are from England. We got John Lennon, Beatles, Morrissey, Paul Weller, The Cure…
Steve: Yeah, you can hear that so…
Jack: I think probably too much sometimes. It’s just crying out for, just a little bit, of something different.
Steve: Yeah, I agree. I was just looking at Wikipedia now about the music of the Philippines. I think it’s something quite common there to be heavily influenced by America and the UK. But they do have a wealth of traditional music and different kinds of folk music as well. There’s probably elements in there whether rhythms or types of backing vocals. One or two things, you put them in and suddenly you got something really original. Will spice it a bit, it’s tempting for a listener. The thing is they’ve got everything there, they’ve got the structure there in place to do good thing, big things… and they’re doing well. So, we’ll see. It’s definitely worth checking out. So we’ll give you some of their details.
As I said they’re called The Camerawalls, you check them out on myspace/thecamerawalls. They’re on Lilystars Records. So the story behind this is that… our point of contact is somebody called Clementine, basically seems to be the brain behind the project. That’s my understanding. And he used to be in a band called “Orange and Lemons” which is I kind of think is a similar style of band and he’s gone and set up a record label called Lilystars Records and a new band and using all the contacts he built up initially with his first musical venture. And from looking it there, myspace, from like gigs, from their reviews and things, and definitely knows how to make things happen.
Steve: Same with the videos. Videos is very professional looking. So a great shout, if they can just find that little panache.
Jack: Panache indeed.
Steve: We’ve had 16, 15 bands now, where does this rank?
Jack: Its probably middle to bottom, I think. It’s just nothing stands out about them. They blend in too much into what is already available in our culture. Say if we put them in all the bands that we featured, I think they would probably be in the middle of the run… They’re still an enjoyable band. They’re still easy listening, which is in some people’s mood what they are looking for.
Steve: They are also I think one of the best produced bands we had. The sound’s very.. there’s a very clean sound. Very good.
Jack: I think at times it maybe overproduced like the vocals for instance.
Steve: You can hear on the vocals a bit of auto tune I think. It’s very commonly used now, if a singer is slightly flat or sharp you kinda just ping them back into spot. I think it has been used on the record there, which is okay. You don’t really want to know it. It’s a difficult skill, very hard to do without sounding obvious. Which is why it’s been incorporated in some music as being an actual sound.
Jack: Yeah, because clearly… or you can just talk poetry and then it will sound…
Steve: You know what, unless it’s specifically about that then you don’t really wanna know it Is happening. It’s okay to use it but don’t let it be too obvious. Or maybe to other less vigilant ears maybe it’s not so bad, I don’t know… or look half bad, it’s up to you. For the rest who don’t know before we started our podcast what we did, I was a vocalist. And I guess you hear stuff that Jack is a drummer. So do you ever hear stuff on drums?
Jack: Oh yeah, what I don’t like hearing is a triggered drum sound. It’s a very similar idea as a auto tuning a vocal. Instead of hearing the drums that sounded normally, it’s triggered. What that noise triggers is another sound, which is a pre-recorded drum sound. It’s like all the drum tracks are at the same level. It just sounds too electronic and I don’t like it. I have heard that in similar bands that we featured. I think, a lot of these things are pretty standard studio techniques now.
Steve: Yes, cause we are in an industry now that technology is used a lot. If you look at the general quality of recording today, compared to the 80s and early 90s, there has been a massive improvement, sometimes at the cost of genuineness.
***thanks to steve and jack for the wonderful feature and commentary. – the camerawalls