Musical duo I AM A CAMERA are Ian and Francesca are fast becoming fine new representatives of dark, brooding electro. The pair take references such as old horror films and science fiction to create swirling illumintating distortion music. The band are currently in the studio working on new material with Cameron McVey (Massive Attack, The Sugababes, Neneh Cherry) to be released next year. Right now, we find out what makes the band tick and how they came to this point in their career.
Hello, where did you both meet?
Ian – In a dark club in Liverpool…. Francesca was on stage .. I was plotting how to steal her from her band.
You are the band “that fell to earth” What message did to you fall to earth with?
Francesca: Don’t be afraid to be ridiculous and don’t try to fit in.
Many musicians make music accidentally and things dont end up the way you intended them to. Were your early beginnings of I Am a Camera similar to this, or did you have a clear intention of what you wanted it to be?
Ian – We knew what we both loved musically and intentionally it was finding out the best balance between the two. When we wrote ‘Without You’ that’s when we knew we had our sound. Francesca: I think we’ve always been clear on what I Am A Camera was about, and what we wanted it to sound like. We knew that was the blueprint and we’ve not stopped since then.
Do you see any similarities between yourselves and bands gone by? Ian – We love the story telling nature of
Pulp and The Smiths but we’re obsessed with digital sound of say Kraftwerk or Le Tigre
Let’s talk about your song writing technique. Your songs seem to marry melody and lyrics quite wonderfully. When you form the songs, do you write with the listener in mind, with a story or message at the forefront- or does the melody take the front seat?
Ian – It depends on the song. With ‘Red Letter Day’ we had the idea of a suburban housewife putting together a huge party for her husband’s birthday. But in fact it wasn’t for his birthday it was to tell everyone that came what a lying cheating bastard he was… she did it in style !!
When you come together to write the songs.. do you inspire each other together, or do those initial ideas form in isolation?
Ian – Everything is created in our little studio with no-one else involved… Francesca: & each song is different. Sometimes Ian will have chords or beats in mind, sometimes it will be the story that inspires us or sometimes it will be lyrics that we can’t ignore and have to build something around. It varies, and keeps it interesting.
Your self-made music videos have a filmic quality. What references do you have when you create these visuals?
Ian – I love alot of early 90’s Anton Corbijn imagary… quite intimate and menacing in places. Francesca: Astrid Kirchherr’s photgraphy always looks like there’s a story behind it. Also the recent Brian Duffy exhibition was very inspiring. As soon as we saw some of his work we got the idea for one of our next videos.
How to you see I Am a Camera fitting in/ or standing out in a music circuit saturated with brand new bands?
Ian – There’s no real point of trying to fit in. We just don’t look sideways… as long as we’re proud of our music that’s the main thing…
Manchester is a city steeped in musical history. Where are your favourite musical hangouts in the city and why do you like them?
Francesca: There are so many places I love in Manchester. When I go home, I’ll always go to the Northern Quarter & The Ruby Lounge. I love the old places like Corbieres too, all the Manchester music on the jukebox! WHen I lived there, I’d always go to nights like Clique & Up The Racket.
Give three top tips to survive in a modern pop band.
Ian – Have great hair.
Francesca: be passionate about pop and you’ve got to be prepared to take one for the team.