Interview: CAMU Talks “Empire State of Sound”

Interview with CAMU 
By: Alistar Jenna

Life is filled with starts and stops yet the burning passion that lies within the heart of an artist can never be quiet, so goes the restart/rebirth for CAMU and his continual story of living his truth- music. What a perfect way to open these doors back again too as CAMU joins itself to the former bandmates of Naked and create their first release in many years, “Empire State of Sound.” Music like life can be found in the city of New York and CAMU brings the big rock sound to the streets and people he loves. 
CAMU is still a relatively new story in the process of unfolding.

AJ: What year was it when you first wrote “Empire State of Sound” and what inspired the song in the first place?

CAMU: It must have been 2012. I was in NYC and it felt great altho that whole part in time came with its challenges. I felt totally at home and was loving every minute of the struggle and everything I was experiencing and learning. And everyone I met was a character straight out of a novel. The hustle, the attitude the vibe. For me, it all came together in the shape of Empire State Of Sound.

AJ: Changing directions, taking breaks so many reasons why things happen along as they do. Can you talk about what happened to the band Naked and you?

CAMU: During the last few years of the band’s existence, we seemed to be taking one step forward and two steps back. We had released Double Down in 2010 which was, in my opinion, by far our best album, the songs were great, the production was great and the band sounded awesome. We poured everything we had into that album, I actually thought it was good enough to break the glass ceiling we had hit. At that point we had been around for a while so we weren’t exactly a “new” band in Scandinavia, we had also gone through all the trials and tribulations that bands go through by then, the frustration was building up and we found ourselves trying to figure out what was wrong with the equation. 
The excitement level was medium towards us as a band. 
We were wondering what we should do to push forward. I had met Bill Aucoin, the legendary manager for KISS, he came to see us and loved what he saw and heard. We started planning a US tour. Unfortunately, he passed away right as we were about to start that next very exciting chapter of NAKED. We decided to do the already booked tour, followed by a second leg a few months later. During the last show in NYC I knew it was to be the last one. Instead of burning out we faded away haha.

AJ: Why did you pick up the song again and how much ‘rearranging’ actually was there to do?

CAMU: I had written and recorded the first version of “Empire State Of Sound” while living on St Marks Place in the East Village. Once the idea of releasing new music popped into my head last winter, after telling myself no for years, I started to go through a lot of songs I had recorded over the years. “Empire” had really stuck with me over the years and but the original version didn’t sound like how the song had developed in my head. I started recording the current version I had playing in my head of the song. Once it was done I sent it to the guys in NAKED and they overdubbed their parts. The song is about my experience living in NYC so it was a no-brainer to shoot the video there.

AJ: When presenting the song to your former bandmates- and creating this final version of “Empire State of Sound” I was reading that you all were in four different countries at the time?

CAMU: Yes, this was a first for all of us. We’ve always recorded together, our third album was even a live studio album. This time around it was very foreign. I arranged and recorded the song part by part. Then once it was done my brother tracked his drums in Finland, then Ilari laid down his bass where ever he was at the time and finally Zack recorded his solo in the UK where he now lives. It was very cool how it all came together. We are recording the rest of the trilogy tracks the same way.

AJ: Had all of you stayed in contact over the years Or was this a pick up the phone, “Hey surprise!”, kind of deal?

CAMU: With my brother yes, not very frequently but in touch yes. With Zack here and there but not too much with Ilari. I did write the guys a letter which stated now or never to summarize. 

AJ: The video certainly captures how much you love New York City. Would you ever consider moving back there?

CAMU: I am going to move back once my kids are a little older so they learn to hustle.

AJ: How was the music video created, what went into bringing that in the moment vibe?

CAMU: I hit the streets with my friend Kevin and that’s it really. Most of it is shot in my old neighborhood with a few NYC staples mixed in. It was all about the vibe and my authentic experience. I was present and felt grateful that I was right there right then. I’ll be back, I have an ongoing on and off relationship with NYC. 

AJ: Do you have a favorite NY eatery you’d like to give a shout out to?

CAMU: Five guys tacos and Milon. Milon is awesome.

AJ: Home, for now, is where?

CAMU: Big Island of Hawaii. We’ve been here for three and a half years but we are about to move on to where life takes us.

AJ: How is the home and family dynamic driving CAMU forward? Where to next?

CAMU: We raise two kids run an expanding business with my wife and now I am making music again so it’s a little crazy. But I take crazy any day over boring. As far as CAMU we still have two more trilogy videos to release. After that, we will tour and I am sure release more music if there is an audience that wants it, I doubt I’ll ever stop writing music.