Interview: Sarah ‘Thomo’ Thompson from Camp Cope
It’s been about 18 months since Melbourne trio Camp Cope burst onto the scene delivering a warm honesty and rough charm that’s hard to find in any other Aussie 3-piece. In that time they’ve released three killer singles, Lost, Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams, and Done, released their critically acclaimed self-titled debut album, and headlined a sold-out national tour. We chatted with the band’s drummer Sarah ‘Thommo’ Thompson and had a chat about all things Camp Cope!
The Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steal Beams single tour was one of your first national tours, how did it all go?
It was definitely our first headline, we’d done a couple before that but we were just the support bands for friends. We did the ‘Heart Aches’ tour earlier in the year, and the Jeff Rosenstock tour which was a bit longer, but our record hadn’t come out at that stage.
When we did this one and it was really crazy, we weren’t expecting it to be like it was. We had played as a support band and didn’t think people were really there to see us. We were worried about places like The Curtin [Melbourne]…we couldn’t sell these venues, that’s stupid!
When the shows actually sold-out we were freaking out! Crowbar [Brisbane] especially, that was the one where we thought no one in Brisbane knows who we are, and the venue’s pretty big. If we can get 100 people that’ll be great because we don’t want to look like we’re playing to no one…when that one sold out, it was nuts! I’d spent a lot of time in Brisbane when I was younger and the Crowbar isn’t really known as place that pre-buys tickets, so it was awesome!
You guys put out your music video for Done which was actually shot at that Crowbar gig. What made you choose a Brisbane show over a hometown show in Melbourne?
To be honest we had no idea we were going to be making a video. Paul from We Set Sail is a really old friend of mine, I worked with him at Skinnies Music when we were a lot younger. He sent me a text asking if he could film some stuff when we were in Brisbane next.
He asked me for the set list. He just sort of did it off the bat and the next day he’s like, “I’m making a video”. He sent it through and he did a really really good job, we were blown away. He’s a marriage celebrant, not a film maker. It turned out really well, we were really stoked!
Also that same night you guys had trouble with a hyper-masculine douchebag. As the drummer you’re back of stage, do you actually see that sort of thing happening much?
Yeah, I find it quite bizarre that people think that we can’t see them! Obviously we can only see to a point, as far as the lights go. In a venue like Crowbar it’s very long. These guys were quite close to the front, and in like five minutes of walking on stage you could tell these weren’t the nicest people.
I could see them and Kelly could see them. She turned around to me and we signalled each other. Georgia never opens her eyes when she performs, so she was unaware. When the song finished we let Georgia know, as the only person with a microphone, and obviously it all went from there.
Honestly though, I feel like we took all the credit for that when it was more the crowd. They were given permission to tell these guys to stop being assholes. Once that happened it wasn’t us that had to do anything else. The crowd pushed the guys out, we couldn’t really do much from where we were. The crowd managed to get the guys to the security guards.
Almost as a direct response to that, you guys are putting together a female oriented ‘zine and you’ve put the call out to female writers. How is that one going?
Yeah, it got quite a big response! I don’t know how many exactly have been sent through but it’s heaps and heaps and heaps. Its gotten to the point where there’s a lot to sift through, so we’ll have to do more than one. Its definitely been started, but we don’t want anyone to miss out. We’re just trying to figure out how to do it in the most effective way…
On a pseudo-technical note, there’s been a lot of discussion about Camp Cope’s sound being lo-fi, adding heaps of charm to the band, but also causing songs to run into each other. In future releases do you think you guys will address that?
No, not at all. We hate recording and we literally only want to record with Sam (Johnston). We recorded the LP in a day and a half. We basically did each song three times and then went “NEXT! We’re finished. We hate this. It’s stressful.”
Some bands really love recording and we’re not one of those bands. All three of us have the same opinion. Andy, from Poison City Records, was definitely behind what we were trying to do. We’re not a polished band at all. We don’t want a polished record. We probably never want a polished record. I listen to records like ours, so do Georgia and Kelly.
When I listen to records that are super produced and polished I can like them but they feel more personal when they’re not polished. Nobody can make a polished record without a lot of help. When the record is like ours no one’s touched it aside from the levels mixed, but apart from that it’s literally what you’d hear at a live show.
Do you guys have any new music on the way?
We have definitely got a bunch of stuff underway. We don’t have any time to record it at this point, and issues with Georgia’s voice has us staying away from any kind of singing that doesn’t need to happen. We’ve been playing a bunch of the new songs at shows though.
We’ve got a couple original tracks and a couple really old Georgia solo songs that we’ll change into Camp Cope songs. We’re definitely looking to putting something out, maybe a split, maybe a seven inch, maybe an EP. We don’t know, but it’s definitely coming!
You guys all came together after forming pretty decent names for yourselves individually in the Melbourne music scene. So, aside from Camp Cope are there any projects you’re involved with?
I got tricked into playing in a band with Andy from Poison City Records and Dylan from the band Ioha, called TV Haze. It’s definitely not a full-on touring and recording machine like Camp Cope has turned into, it’s a lot more chill which is good and easy and fun. It’s more something to do in between Camp Cope shows because I don’t like to have any spare time.
Camp Cope has some upcoming live shows, what can we expect from those shows?
I have no idea actually; we’ve written a set list twice in our entire life as a band. It really depends how we’re feeling on the night. That’s why when you see us play, we end up looking at each other like “uhh”. Yeah, we’ve got a few things planned though…
You were telling me earlier how you were kind of tricked into play with Camp Cope, can you tell me that story?
I don’t know if it was a trick, it was more Georgia almost forced me. She wanted to start a band for a long time, and I’d been friends with Georgia for quite a while. I’d stopped playing drums like seven years ago. She was like “I don’t know anyone though”. I told her to just ask people, but she’d never played in a band, she didn’t know how to start finding people, she didn’t want to play with people she doesn’t know, “what if they ruined my songs?”.
So she said “What if you just do it, we’ll just sit in a room and you can just play. I’ll figure out if I want to do it”. We played like half of one song, I think it was Stove Lighter, and she was like “YEP DONE”, and now we’re a band…
Read our review of Camp Cope’s self-titled album HERE and check out their tour dates below!
Cayetana (USA) // Camp Cope Australian Tour
John Curtin Hotel, Melbourne
SAT 10 SEP
Corner Hotel, Melbourne
SUN 11 SEP
Rad Bar, Wollongong
WED 14 SEP
THU 15 SEP
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
SAT 17 SEP
Manning Bar, Sydney
SUN 18 SEP
The Triffid, Brisbane
Get Tickets HERE