“We just want to be honest with ourselves and honest about how we feel and what we think,” Jeffrey Jordan, lead vocalist for The Band CAMINO, says of his band. “So I don’t think there’s an overarching message, but we just want to connect with people who feel what we feel, and overall just connecting and relating to people is really what it’s all about.”
The Band CAMINO masterfully blend their undeniable rock prowess with power pop sensibility, infusing their songs with infectious riffs and lithely crafted lyricism. To say that The Band CAMINO isn’t a band worth noting would be an empirically grave misjudgment, as they’ve made an explosive impact on indie music over the last few years. They have a slew of exponentially successful tracks, including “My Thoughts on You,” “2 / 14,” and “Berenstein,” and have landed coveted features on a plethora of playlists – including a spot on Taylor Swift’s “Songs Taylor Loves” playlist on Spotify. Their most recent single, “Daphne Blue,” premiered on Billboard last month. Suffice it to say, The Band CAMINO are formidably forging their musical path, but they know full well not to take their platform for granted.
“I think the platform part is maybe one of the coolest parts,” Guitarist Spencer Stewart notes of the band. “Art is just reflective of what you feel about society and about your life in general, so it’s cool for people to actually care about what you have to say about stuff.”
Listen: “My Thoughts on You” – The Band CAMINO
A CONVERSATION WITH THE BAND CAMINO
Atwood Magazine: I find it really interesting – and you’ve mentioned this before – that the word “Camino” means road or path. So leading up to where you are now, what has that path been like for you, especially in the last few years?
Graham Rowell: I would say that it’s been a very long road. Sometimes with bands and projects it’s a very quick spike, but I feel like for us it’s always sort of been like a grind—up and down, but always consistent, if that makes any sense.
Jeffrey Jordan: It’s been a wild ride, I think we can all agree. It’s cool, when we named our band “The Band CAMINO,” we didn’t really… It didn’t really mean a lot to us at the time, which sounds kind of dumb, but we were trying to find a band name for so long, and we kept sitting on a couple songs that we had, and we kept trying to think of a band name. We ended up going with Camino because Graham saw an El Camino. And coming full circle, now it actually meaning like, “we took the band path,” it’s cool how it came to mean something over the past three years, when we were kind of completely unknowing in the beginning.
Right, very cool. And I’ve noticed, too, that your sound has progressed in the last couple of years as well. Especially the newest single, I love it – I think it’s fantastic and such a fresh sound in terms of your continued growth. This most recent single and the one that came out in the spring are much more pop-sounding; are you doing that intentionally, or are you just making the songs and they just end up that way?
Jeffrey: I think it sounds more pop because we kind of stepped up in our production game, and the people that we’re working with. The people that are recording us and mixing and mastering… I mean, we’re using some really awesome, talented people who have taken their time to work with us, and I think they’ve helped us step up our game and made it sound more “commercial” in a way, and more poppy, I guess you could say. I don’t know, with “Daphne [Blue],” we really wanted to put out something that was a band song – and it does sound poppy, and it sounds like something that could be on the radio or something – but we definitely still want to maintain the fact that we are a band, and we can play our songs live with guitars, like a four-piece band. I don’t know, a lot of bands right now are just doing the tracked thing, which doesn’t always seem as genuine live. We want to try to maintain something that like… The fact that we can sit down and come up with a song on our instruments and be able to play it for people. More straightforward, I think.
Listen: “Daphne Blue” – The Band CAMINO
Got it. How many new songs are there? I know you’ve been working on some music for a little while.
Jeffrey: That is a great question. There’s a lot of songs. We’ve been writing all summer, and we already had a ton of songs before that.
So are you working towards a full-length?
Jeffrey: Yes, at some point. Who knows when that will be.
So when you’re writing songs, are you starting with lyrics, or do you start with instrumentation? Or does it kind of vary depending on the song?
Jeffrey: Every which way possible. All of the above.
Okay, got it. Do you have a favorite lyric that you’ve written, either on an unreleased song or a song that’s out already?
Jeffrey: Actually, kind of yes, but it kind of feels weird to say I have a favorite lyric of my own. But, in “California,” it says, “I feel annoying most of the time, but I keep on talkin’ just to keep my mind off you.” I feel like that kind of sums me up as a person. I just talk and talk to distract myself sometimes.
Listen: “California” – The Band CAMINO
Fair enough! So on this “band path” that you’ve been on, what has been the coolest thing, or your favorite thing that’s happened so far? Whether it’s a major thing or a minor thing.
Jeffrey: It’s crazy because, I feel like we never had a moment that’s like, “oh my god, everything’s changing right now,” but it’s been so many small wins in the long-term that have added up to being able to be a band. I don’t know, there’s so many things that have happened that have felt like…
Graham: …I think one specific thing, for me, that was kind of like, “oh whoa, we’re doin’ it,” was when we moved to Nashville, which is pretty recent. We’re from Memphis, but we moved up to Nashville, and being able to have a house together as a band and be in a city where music is really the main business of everything, and there’s so many people doing it at a high level… Being able to be in that environment, solely for the fact that we worked hard to get there, that was a moment where I was kind of like, “oh, that’s pretty cool.” It seems really small and is not like a crazy show story or anything, but to me that’s probably the most real it’s felt.
You moved to a whole new city! That’s a big thing! I know a lot of people who have moved to Nashville who have said the same thing.
Jeffrey: Yeah, and we were all born and raised in Memphis and lived there our whole lives. We lived there for 20-plus years, and now moving to a whole new city, just to do music, is wild.
It’s cool that you guys made the leap there! And I guess I didn’t realize that you guys are still only in your early 20s, because you sound so mature on the songs and when you’re speaking. You sound very put-together. Do you think that it’s harder to be younger in the music industry, and do you think you have to prove yourself a little bit more? Or has it been easier?
Jeffrey: I don’t know, that’s a good question. I have a feeling it’s easier to be younger, because you have more of an excuse to do what you want. But, I don’t know. I like being younger. It’s an interesting question; I’ve never really thought about it.
Graham: Yeah, I feel like in the lane that we kind of live in, with the band thing, I feel like it kind of helps to be younger, especially the age we’re at. We’re young, but we’re not teenagers anymore, but we’re not fully responsible adults. We’re able to relate to a pretty broad age group without feeling like we’re trying too hard to be too young or too old.
Art is just reflective of what you feel about society and about your life in general, so it’s cool for people to actually care about what you have to say about stuff.
I get that. So then what do you think is your favorite part about making the music that you make, and making it together?
Jeffrey: The whole process is cool to watch unfold. From the moment you write a song, and then it gets recorded, and then getting to put it out, and then seeing the response, and then getting to play the show and have people sing it back to you, and you know everything that it means to you and everything that you’ve done to get to that moment to have people sing your songs back to you—the whole process is kind of magic.
Spencer Stewart: I just think it’s cool. I mean, a lot of us just started doing art and stuff like that just because… What’s that phrase? “Doing art for the sake of art,” or whatever. So it’s cool to have a platform; I think the platform part is maybe one of the coolest parts. Art is just reflective of what you feel about society and about your life in general, so it’s cool for people to actually care about what you have to say about stuff. I think that’s probably my favorite part.
Graham: I really like the whole collaboration aspect. It’s really interesting to see how an idea can be brought up by one person, and then someone else can interpret it in their own way, but that’s exactly the way it needs to go. It’s like, everyone’s voice within a process is really interesting to me, how it all comes together.
…anyone that comes to our shows, I hope they feel the same way that I feel when I go see my favorite band.
So then what sort of message do you want to get across with what your music is?
Jeffrey: We just want to be honest with ourselves and honest about how we feel and what we think. So I don’t think there’s an overarching message, but we just want to connect with people who feel what we feel, and overall just connecting and relating to people is really what it’s all about.
Spencer: Our generation is one that’s very… I think it’s one that’s trying to start being more honest with themselves and honest with the world around them; that in generations past, just for example, global warming and things along those lines – not that we talk about those things specifically, but we talk about being open and being honest, and we talk about having intentions to make the world a better place. It’s not a bad thing to be honest, honesty is a great thing. So that’s what we like to preach.
Amazing, I love it. So if you had to sum up The Band CAMINO in a couple of sentences, what would you want people to know? An elevator pitch of who you are.
Spencer: We’re just some every day, regular, normal guys that like to play rock-pop music. That’s pretty much the worst description I’ve ever given.
Graham: I feel like a lot of times, people always try to idolize band members… But like he was saying, we’re pretty normal.
Spencer: We’re just some relatable guys.
Graham: And we get to do what we love. My thing is like, anyone that comes to our shows, I hope they feel the same way that I feel when I go see my favorite band. I always try to think about that: how would I want to be treated by my favorite band?
Jeffrey: Yeah, we’re trying to make people feel something, and think about things, and enjoy our music.
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