Interview: Campfires In Winter

It’s been a brilliant year for Campfires In Winter, the alt-rock Scots band hailing from Cumbernauld and Croy, just outside of Glasgow. The four-piece have released their first batch of songs on iTunes, appeared on Scottish television and even contributed to an art project in the Netherlands. They’ve even just turned ten years old - and to celebrate, they’re having a party.

The Campfires In Winter Christmas Party takes place at Sloan’s Ballroom in Glasgow on December 17th, and the band plan on surrounding themselves with all kinds of festive merriment to create a gig unlike any other. Frontman Robert Canavan - please, call him Boab - couldn’t be more excited.

“We thought we could go to the usual places - and there are some great venues in Glasgow - or we could do something a bit special, so we thought, why not just put together a wee list of unusual places that you don’t normally get to play at and see if they’re available?” I’m looking forward to it: at Christmas it should be decorated and all that, it’s a pretty spectacular venue.”

Aside from playing their own set of noisy Scottish rock, influenced by the likes of Mogwai, Idlewild and Frightened Rabbit, Campfires have invited fellow Scots Deathcats and Friends In America to support - along with The Twilight Sad, who will spin the decks on a special DJ set.

The Croy Silver Band will provide good old-fashioned carols between sets, and a photographer will even provide Polaroids for guests to take away on the night. And as for mince pies? While the source is undecided, Boab says: “Lidl do pretty good Christmas stuff so they’re always worth a shout…”

Buying tickets for the show gets you a Christmas card from the band, and even gift tags as tickets. Christmas jumpers are essential wear, and the bands are no exception. Boab’s jumper, a particularly characteristic number with a Christmas pudding stitched into the material - his “usual one”, as he puts it - is especially worth looking out for.

“It smelt of that slightly damp warehousey smell, and it was nothing like the kind of Christmas jumpers we had at the time.

“It was absolutely stinking, it had been there for a couple of years so I had to wash it when I wore it! It’s unlike the Christmas jumpers the shops are doing now are all nicely put together…mine is obviously from before the fashion came back in.”

Embarking on a project of this scale is a big step for Campfires, who have seen fit to take their time getting things together following some turbulent times a few years ago. Following the recruitment of a new drummer and a move from shoegaze-inspired noise rock to folk-edged alt-rock such as White Lights the band are making moves to further establish themselves as a major player in the Scottish music scene - their efforts will culminate in the release of their first full album this time next year.

“We worked away on the plan for a year or so and made a conscious effort to really push ourselves,” explains Boab. “If you want to do something right you’ve got to give it plenty of time to develop, so, aye, we’re in no rush to release [the album].”

It’s a big step for a band who have made their way through word of mouth and, more recently, through the web. The band maintain an online store through Bandcamp and freely make their music available on Spotify. Taylor Swift’s recent clashes](http://www.theguardian.com/music/2014/nov/04/taylor-swift-spotify-streaming-album-sales-snub) with the streaming service has re-opened the debate about exactly how valuable it is to musicians, but Boab reckons it’s still the way to go for smaller artists.

“Spotify isn’t good for making money, but I don’t think it’s necessarily about money anyway. It makes it so easy for people to find you. If someone mentions that they saw so-and-so last night I look them up on Spotify, and I hope people do that for us. It’s not a good source of income for a band like us but it’s good for hopefully encouraging people to go on and buy out stuff.

“There are definitely people who have found out about us through Spotify or friends mentioning us and searching for us. It’s basically how things are going to go [from now on].”

If things go well at Sloan’s on the 17th, there may be plans to do the same thing again next year. Until then, Boab and the band hardly plan on resting on their laurels.

“W’ll make another couple of singles, we’ll do another wee short tour, we’ll be gigging all over Scotland anyway so it’s not like we’re going to be holed up somewhere, y’know, invisible.

“We’ll still be doing stuff, still be doing gigs, still releasing things…but we’ll be gearing up for [the album] at the end of next year.”

Campfires In Winter play Sloan’s Ballroom in Glasgow on December 17th at 8pm. Tickets are available from http://campfiresinwinter.bigcartel.com/.