Interview: Fun Cam.
We recently had the honor of interviewing Toronto-based indie rock singer, Fun Cam, about everything from his sound, the music scene in Toronto, and dancersise!
Combine an education spanning from English Literature, New York theatre training, graduate work in graphic design and music at the renowned Berklee College of Music and you land on the thoughtfully cheeky Cam Fraser.
Years of playing in popular Toronto bands including The Four Kelly’s, Crispin’s Glove and The And Then’s (just to name a few) while extensively performing at various venues throughout central Ontario. His individualistic flare, and outlandish live antics garnered Cameron the stage name “Fun Cam.”
Equally influenced by a passion for vintage equipment, classic recording techniques and clever narrative storytelling makes for a Garage Rock handle on vibrant originals and unique takes on covers.
Indie Minded: Hey Cam! Thanks for joining us today on Indie Minded and taking time out of your schedule to sit down and answer some of our questions! We really appreciate it.
Fun Cam: My pleasure! Thank you!
IM: For those who may not be familiar with Fun Cam, tell us a little about yourself and your sound.
FC: For this record it’s a combination of garage and power pop influences. I wanted the sound to be raw and original, which I think I’ve achieved by sticking to an analog vibe. Artists today rely too much on technology like auto tune and other bullshit. We kept it real. I wanted to strip it down and fun cam is even more fun when he’s naked…
Every song is personal to me and this record is a culmination of ideas that have been germinating for a long time. I wish I could have put this record out when I was 20, but there’s no way. It would have been an album I would have hated because the music wouldn’t have been honest.
IM: What should people expect when they come to a live show?
FC: A lot of dry ice, pot lights, fire, and wearing a onesie on stage is mandatory.
IM: You’re from Toronto, how is the music scene – specifically the indie scene – around where you live? Do you find it hard to get people to come out to the venues?
FC: There is a great community of supportive musicians at least in the circle that I roll with. We all support each other and show up to one another’s shows and we hang out together. For my release party I didn’t have to go far to put the band together they are all from other local bands and are friends. When all else fails I offer them free beer.
IM: You recently released your CD, Basement Rock, how has the reaction been in your area and beyond?
FC: I’ve had lots of local love, and international support since the release. I feel that this is just the beginning. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews and I’m setting up a tour in support of the record.
IM: Word on the street is that you got your moniker “Fun Cam” from your outlandish live antics – care to elaborate?
FC: Ha! I’ll never tell how I got that name! You gotta keep a sense of mystery!
Legally, I cannot explain what I do on stage you’ll just have to show up.
P.S. Don’t sit in the first 3 rows.
IM: Who are some of your musical influences?
FC: I’m always listening to something and I have a varied roster of influences. They are eclectic. Off hand here’s a brief list: Bowie, Neil Young, Sloan, Fountains of Wayne, The Ramones, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Strokes, The Cars, The Dandy Warhols… The list can go on, but I think this gives you a good idea.
IM: What got you started in music?
FC: I couldn’t yield a hockey stick, or throw a football, so I picked up a guitar.
IM: Do you have an opinion on what’s going on right now with streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music?
FC: I hear so much of the new music I listen to through services like Spotify and Google Play. I’m supportive of anything that helps independent artists get their music out there wether it’s an online streaming service or a poster on a telephone pole.
IM: If you could play with any musician or band (dead or alive), who would it be?
FC: Preferably someone living because they keep better time.
David Bowie because of his ability to transcend musical genre’s so easily and because there will never be anyone cooler.
IM: What is your writing process like? Does the music come first or the vocals?
FC: It really depends. Sometimes it’s a bunch of chords and other times it’s a cool lyric that I build around. My song “Vegan Girlfriend,” is kind of self explanatory. Pretty much everything in that song is based on events that happened with my vegan girlfriend! I wanted to write about her for years and one day it just made me laugh and it all came out. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate the Vegan lifestyle, but the vegan chick I dated was kind of self righteous about it. What can I say, we were young! We are still friends to this day actually! She loves the song and the way she is depicted in the “Vegan Girlfriend” video is very close to the truth except for the hairy armpits… I guess you just have to watch the video to understand!
IM: What can we expect from you for the rest of 2016? Is there a tour on the horizon?
FC: I’m planning on putting together a dancercise video and then maybe touring in support of it. After that, complete world domination.
IM: Guilty pleasure (music-wise) – everyone’s got one, who’s yours?
FC: The Backstreet Boys, Madonna, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. I actually cover these artists in my acoustic act, and every show I close with “Hit Me Baby…” It’s just become my schtick.
IM: How important do you find social media and engaging with your fans to be? Are you active on social media?
FC: I am on it everyday. Again this is how the business has changed. We are responsible for this part of our careers as independent musicians. It’s an important element of our daily tasks to move our music forward. Facebook is the tool I use most, but YouTube is also invaluable, but for that it’s important to have great sounding videos and to be constantly adding new material.
IM: What do you think your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” has been so far in your musical journey?
FC: This interview!!! And probably meeting up with my producer and mixer. They both believed in what I was doing and they connected with the songs. They dug that I wanted to make a garage/power pop record keeping an analog sound. They were down with that. It’s so important to have music professionals that want to work with you and help you succeed. That’s what kept me motivated. I was nominated for best indie/rock album of the year from The Toronto Independent Music Awards (TIMA), so that was really cool and put some wind in our sails for sure.
IM: What are some of the themes throughout “Basement Rock?”
FC: All of my songs follow a specific narrative and are from actual events that are about me or people I know. For example “Colder In LA” is a metaphor and the tune is filled with a sense of irony and humour. The entire album is thematic, with elements of true love, lost innocence, and a shit ton of rock and roll.
IM: Before we let you go, who’ve YOU been listening to lately?
FC: I was just listening to Coconut Records, also known as Jason Schwartzman. He is an amazing songwriter. I’ve got the latest Alabama Shakes record on repeat!! That shit is banging. I’m also digging Shovels and Rope. Listen to their track “Gasoline.” So epic. I really dig Gerard Way’s record Hesitant Alien. Toro Y Moi’s Record What For is an epic indie power pop record of sunshine that everyone needs to listen to. There’s this outfit out of Brooklyn that I’m a huge fan of called The Fantastic Plastics. They are so groovy. Also my friends Return for Refund and The Reed Effect are an explosions of rock!!
IM: Thank you for taking time out to chat with us, we can’t wait to see what you’ve got going on next!
Keep up with Fun Cam at the following links: