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

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Image by Naomi Lee Beveridge

The Australian rock trio who have swept through their local music scene with undeniable force have set their sights on the UK; having made an impression at their Cluny 2 gig last year, Camp Cope return to Newcastle – this time at Star & Shadow Cinema on Thursday 19th September – to further entrance the populace.

Camp Cope’s most recent album, How To Socialise And Make Friends, has won them critical acclaim due to the rich tapestry of emotion woven into the iconic, raw sound they have cultivated. Their song The Opener has particularly gained traction for addressing the way that they, like so many others, have been treated in the music industry as women. “Performing The Opener live is my favorite thing in the world,” frontwoman Georgia Maq beams. The band aren’t afraid of putting their money where their mouth is; Camp Cope started the ‘It Takes One’ campaign in 2016 aimed at targeting assault at festivals, and they are persistently vocal about the lack of representation on line-ups, even calling out those who have booked them. The Face of God is a similarly honest track and tells the story of a victim coming to terms with assault; “The song allowed me to speak about it, on my terms, which felt really good.” Says Georgia. “I also wanted men to be able to hear how horrible it is and wanted them to be driven to do something about it. They’re the ones who need to change. We’re not.”

I wish I didn’t have to talk about the politics of the music industry. But I don’t have that privilege

As a result of their sincere campaigning Camp Cope have undeniably encouraged empowerment for young women and non-binary people to unapologetically take the stage and find their voice. “It’s happening now, which is amazing, but the next thing that needs to start happening is men need to start talking about these issues. Journalists need to ask men how they feel about the representation of women and non-binary people in the music scene. This is because they’re the ones who are already given the platforms, they’re the ones who can change things.” On still coming across all male line-ups she says simply “it’s not good enough. We need to start putting the pressure on men to help change this, it needs to be a group effort. Not just a bunch of women and queer people yelling.”

A burden must come with the persistent association of being ‘the’ band to talk about ‘the’ issue: “It’s not fair we have to be the band that talks about this stuff. We’re just the victims of this shit. I wish I didn’t have to talk about the politics of the music industry. But I don’t have that privilege.”

Intrinsically linked to Melbourne-based record label Poison City Records and being self-managed by drummer Sarah Thompson allows Camp Cope to present themselves exactly how the way they want to. “We decide everything. There’s no one telling us who to be, how we should dress or what we should say. We’re just a band. We feel very in control of it, which is how it should be, it’s our art.” 

When they’re not posting memes on their Instagram, Camp Cope are a visceral force of both music and nature. “[The album] was written when it was needed. It will always feel like a really important album in my life.” Georgia affirms. No doubt the Star & Shadow will feel the force of their powerful presence, as they simply say “this is us”.

Camp Cope play Star & Shadow Cinema, Newcastle on Thursday 19th September


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