INTERVIEW: BC Camplight | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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The process of creating his new album Deportation Blues, released to universal critical acclaim in August, has been a fairly traumatic one for Brian Christinzio, and it started pretty much immediately after the release of his wonderful first album, How To Die In The North.

“That album was recorded in Manchester where I was living at the time, and I’d had a nasty leg injury which put me in hospital for a couple of months. My work visa was running out and because I was in hospital I couldn’t get to renew it. Basically, How To Die In The North was released on 19th January and I received a letter telling me I was going to be deported on 20th January.”

Brian got back to the USA and realised that he was banned from the UK. “It was at that point I thought my music career was over.” After a dejected stay at his parents’ home, in 2016 he became an Italian citizen by virtue of his grandparents in a move recommended by his dad, “many thousands of pounds later.”

It was after this agonising process was over that work on Deportation Blues could begin. “I spent two weeks letting those three years of experience flood out of me, it was a fairly transcendental experience.”

There is a much more schizophrenic, freewheeling style on display on Deportation Blues, from the plaintive piano balladry of When I Think Of My Dog, to the clattering discordancy of the title track, and the unsettling, mutant disco of radio single I’m Desperate.

The conflicting voices on the record are very much intended – I wanted to convey a feeling of unsteadiness

“The conflicting voices on the record are very much intended – I wanted to convey a feeling of unsteadiness – but I hate it when bands try to ricochet between sounds and it sounds like mush, I think there’s a thread that holds everything together. A certain loss of hope is a big theme. A much darker musical side comes out, this record is unfiltered, the last thing I was feeling was whimsical and twee.”

The anguish behind Deportation Blues added to Brian’s anxiety about the songs ever seeing the light of day. “I was able to exorcise it in this time, everything was premeditated, but I don’t write on instruments often, I hear things in my head quite literally, I write in the supermarket quite a lot. I can’t be proactive and get anything done unless I can see the finish line, I didn’t see any point in getting these songs on paper because I thought that nobody would get to hear them, which was another source of anxiety for me.”

I observe that Deportation Blues feels like a fairly timely record, but Brian reiterates that wasn’t his intention. “I didn’t want to seem like I was capitalising on that…I’m a white guy, there are people who have it an awful lot worse than me. It’s ultimately a personal record, but y’know…less people are whistling these days, though, have you noticed?”

BC Camplight performs at The Cluny 2, Newcastle on Friday 19th October. Deportation Blues is out now via Bella Union.


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