Interview: Ivan Campo
Published on April 16th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
When we spoke to Yorkie from Moongoose recently, he responded to our request for recommendations with the following testimonial of Preston three-piece Ivan Campo:
“I love Ivan Campo. You should really do a piece on them. They are really magical. I have worked with them a few times in the past and they always have the capacity to completely blow me away.”
We took his advice and found ourselves beguiled by the wistful yet playful pysch-folk of their What Went Wrong? EP of last year (check out our review of it here), so we fired over some questions to the band and received back an entertaining set of responses from front man Adam Shaw. First though, have an aural butcher’s of “The Great Procrastinator” from their 2009 EP Super 7, which appeared on the first episode of Skins…
Why did you decide to call the EP What Went Wrong? Is it narrative-based, a savage self-critique or an acronymic evocation of the internet?
Originally we called the CD What Went Wrong after the unnamed final track. Though after waiting nearly twelve months for it to be mastered due to mixing differences, and within that year I split up with my then girlfriend and retreated to the familiarity of Preston, the title took somewhat of an ironic twist…
What is The Great Con?
The Great Con is loosely based on a book called No Country For Old Men, written by Cormac McCarthy. It tells the story of a man who chances upon a bagfull of dirty (drug) money amidst a circle of Mexican corpses. Drug barons then hire a particularly determined and somewhat psychotic hitman to retrieve the cash only then to be slain by the aforementioned, and so ensues a tale of cat and mouse.
Is “Local Dealer” dedicated to or about anyone in particular? (I suppose you can’t really name them…)
The Local Dealer is a true story about someone very close to us, of course it would be wrong to mention names….! I believe it all began with a soured relationship.. A vixen, no a sorceress managed to tame an unruly pack of cretinous wolves to hunt ‘Mr x’ out, and for use of a better word ‘kill’ him. I’m told there were maybe fifteen of them. Of course, with a combined IQ of maybe eighty, they persued the wrong brother and proceeded to shower the wrong house with missiles. Unbeknownst to ‘Mr x’, who at the time was grovelling a rather sodden apology to a particularly vexed narcotics distributor…
There are two separate people on your Facebook who say they discovered you because they bought something that had an Ivan Campo sticker stuck to it; one was stuck to an album by The Horrors, and another to a copy of Grease. Which other products did you target?
Ben works at a highstreet music outlet, let’s not mention the name in risk of giving free publicity. It’s the same retail vampire that allows unsigned bands to sell their own music in store at the small price of taking the lion’s share. I believe he targets people with a similar musical taste to himself, though it may just be pretty women.
And did you sneak into the record store and stick the paper on yourselves? I’m imagining a delicate late-night raid, lowered down on a harness trying to dodge the beams sort of thing.
I love the Hollywood image of Ben swaying from the beams, product in one hand, flyers in the other. His approach, though slightly less clandestine, is more of the magician’s way; a slight of hand trick. He tends to sandwich a small piece of paper brandishing the circular Ivan Campo logo and the website details between the customer’s ‘needs’ or ‘wants’, only to be spotted when their ears or eyes need stimulating.
Where is Campodia situated on a map? Are there any bordering nations? Okochistan or the Djorkaetherlands? (Obviously the latter’s currency would be the Youri.)
Ha… Exactly right……..!
What was it like playing with Misty’s Big Adventure? They seem like they’d make for interesting stage-mates.
A lot of fun. They are a very entertaining band to play with, Grandmaster Gareth is a charismatic frontman. i have a peculiar fascination with the dancing udder man.. We have been fortunate enough to support them, to headline would be something different altogether. In the words of Julian Casablancas on following the Pixies, it would be a “tough act to follow”.
What do you think of Yorkie’s Moongoose project?
I like what Yorkie and Mick [Dolan] have done with Poe’s “Alone”. Yorkie has a superb ear for warmth. It reminds me of an unsigned band called Burglarised who have ‘burglarized’ the poetry of Alfred Lord Tenyson and Thomas Haynes Bayly.
How did you enjoy playing Secret Garden Party in 2010?
The Secret Garden Party is a festival unlike any other. I think the appeal is in its surroundings and the way the festival is dressed. The whole experience had the faint whiff of a dream. A wonderful experience.
Have you heard from Malibu’s lawyers yet?
Not yet, but now you mention it…
Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming artists that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?
Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?
That’s one of those difficult questions that are often dictated by one’s mood. At this moment I would say Elliott Smith, The Beatles, Marc Bolan, Nick Drake and Burglarised…but I’d trade them all for a guitar and a window…
Adam Shaw, thank you.
* denotes: Intended to be a reference to the footballer Ivan Campo joining Bolton Wanderers on first a loan and the a three-year deal from Real Madrid, but obviously this can’t be conveyed by the written word without resorting to clunky joke-explaining, which this of course is