Moving right along from yesterdays blog breakdown of Pressure Cooker, today I’ll take you through Camp!
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the official music video first:
I put together the music video on Saturday just ahead of the official release of The Clearing. While it’d be great to say I have some big music video budget to put something cool together, this one of stock animal footage does the trick in a pinch! If you’re an indie artist, I’d definitely recommend going this route to add a visual element to your releases. Let’s be serious, it doesn’t even have to make sense, people just like having something to look at.
About the Track
I’ve talked a little bit about what inspired this track before and the reality of it is, no matter which way I swing it, you’d almost never be able to guess if I didn’t tell you.
As I mentioned in the breakdown of Champagne Birthday, songs can be inspired by even the smallest of things; a single line, a word, a person or a feeling.
If you’ve never written a song before or done much creative writing you might be unfamiliar but the best way I can describe it is that it’s almost like a persistent nagging comes into your conscious thought; a line, a word, a person, a feeling, that your mind and heart are telling you to pay some sort of attention to.Jaimee Jakobczak, Crooked Forest, as written in the Track By Track Breakdown of Champagne Birthday.
In this case, Camp was prompted by an episode of Pass Through Frequencies where Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World was speaking with DJ sensation Steve Aoki about songwriting. They happened to delve briefly into the fact that Steve’s a bit of a gamer and it got me thinking about my own time playing video games in my younger years.
More specifically, I was thrown back to the common strategic gameplay of “camping”. If you’re unfamiliar, “camping” in video games, specifically first-person shooter games, is when you find a place within the game space to stand still with a good view of your surroundings – it’s the “sniper” play where you’re effectively just waiting for other unsuspecting players to come into view so you can take them out before they ever have a chance of seeing where you are.
It’s basically cheating and it’s pretty lame – it’s way more fun to just play the game!
So that’s what prompted the initial thought and chorus line, “do you just camp out til I show up on your screen”.
The real fun then happened with pulling in the supporting verses.
Although inspired by gaming, the song itself is actually about relationships and the way people hesitate in being forthright with their intentions and feelings in the initial stages.
In the first verse, I’m talking about the initial feelings of confusion and anxiety that come with that, inspired again by something unexpected – an old comedy skit called Helping Hands often performed by Ryan Stiles and Canadian improv expert Colin Mochrie on Whose Line Is It Anyways?
I was a massive fan of Whose Line? when I was growing up, quite literally obsessing over every episode at every opportunity (which fortunately was often for a couple years) and always enjoyed Colin’s quirky and unabashed comedic style the most out of all the players; Colin often made himself or was made to be the punchline but he took this in stride as any polite Canadian would and I respected this immensely as an awkward youth who at the time strived to be just like these strange men I was watching falter about the stage.
That’s where the first line comes from, although it’s a bit of a play on words with multiple meanings. The initial lyric read, “Damn that Ry’s got my hands again, making a Mochrie of me” referring of course to Ryan and Colin, followed by “Come on gotta pull this all together, felt cutouts and sequin beads” referring to having to make the most of the random ingredients they’d be given to support the skit.
But in the context of the song and as it refers to relationships, what I actually mean the lyric to mean should read as, “Damn that rye’s got my hands again, making a mockery of me”. In this case, referring to using liquid courage (Canadian rye) to better engage with people socially, but it fails on you, taking control of your mind and body much in the same way the person acting as the arms Helping Hands skit is in control of the direction of the scene. As a result, you end up being made to look foolish in front of the very people you’re trying to impress and unsure of where to go from there.
In the chorus I talk more about those feelings of confusion, (“Am I really in this thing?”) I mentioned earlier, trying to make sense of the dynamic between you and whomever you’re with, or trying to be with, finding yourself unsure at all if they’re even interested in you or interested in seeing where the relationship could go.
We’ve all been there.
Verse 2 was inspired largely in part by the way I spent most of the summer of 2020 when I wrote this song, walking around my neighbourhood regularly, turning the same corners and feeling like I wasn’t sure how to progress from where I was at the time. As much as I was feeling like things were heading in the right direction in my own life and was feeling like I was making the right choices, there was a lot of self doubt and insecurity leading me to believe that maybe I was fooling myself with what I was trying to accomplish.
In the second half of the verse, I dive into that a bit more. If you’ve ever felt like someone you were speaking to suddenly disappeared off the planet, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about with the line, “And I’m wondering if this old radio’s lost reception, or if you slipped off the channel we agreed”. Sometimes you’re just really not on the same page (or frequency) as someone and it’s easy for interference to make you believe something else is coming through that isn’t.
Like when your best friend is all, “I definitely think he’s into you,” and you’re all, “Really?” And they’re like, “Yeah, go say hi!” and he’s not at all – he’s not even paying attention, he doesn’t know who you are, he was looking at that girl in the red top behind you, actually. He doesn’t even PLAY first person shooter games and he’s horrified you’d think he does!
Just as we re-renter the chorus we find peace in the fact that whatever will be will be, and if something’s meant to transpire, it will eventually.
In the bridge I have more fun with the gameplay theme while bringing it into a physical space, in this case a parking lot where we’re now trying to get some answers about what’s been going on, because this type of back and fourth with people eventually becomes exhausting and unfair to everyone involved.
Imagine yourself playing a rousing game of Monopoly, looking up suddenly to find that somehow your opponents are absolutely slaying the hotel industry having propped up properties all over the board, constantly skipping over jail and regularly landing fresh funds from the community chest. It starts to feel real unfair when the game inevitably turns in this way and you have to wonder, “Are they cheating? Do they know something about this I don’t? Is this all a big mind game for them?”
All in, “Camp” is a fun look at the dynamics between people in relationships and how confusing and frustrating it can be when all you’re looking for is someone to be upfront and honest with you.
Damn that rye’s got my hands again
Making a Mochrie of me
Come on gotta pull it all together
Felt cutouts and sequin beads
Am I really in this thing?
Is it single-player or are there teams?
Do you have some well-thought up strategy?
Or do you just camp out ’til I show up on your screen?
Well it won’t be long now
No, it won’t be long now
Rounding this corner block for weeks
Hoping something will just jump out at me
Found a map but no clue what these symbols mean
Looks like a dessert but I’m lost in the trees
And I’m wondering if this old radio’s lost reception
Or if you slipped off the channel we agreed
Whatever comes will come eventually
C’mon now it’s not fair
You’ve been holding out on me
No way you landed there
Weren’t there some rules I could read?
Don’t think it’s supposed to take this long
You sure you know where we parked?
Am I making all this up?
What do you mean you didn’t drive?
A Little More
I feel like you can hear it when you first give it a listen through, but production-wise, Camp was my take on the type of pop-punk music I grew up listening to, and I’d say it most closely resembles Enema of the State or Take Off Your Pants and Jacket era-Blink 182. Tom Delonge is one of my favourite songwriters, singers (yeah, really), and musicians as a whole and that’s what I had in mind during the tracking of this one.
Once you get to that bridge I think it veers a hard right away from that sound, though, and it’s probably my favourite bridge on the album.
But Wait… There’s… A Little More!
If you’ve already bought the album on bandcamp – thank you! Every bit of support goes a long way and right now this is the best way to support me as an artist. As a special thanks for reading this blog, I’m offering bandcamp codes to redeem a copy of The Clearing free of charge.
Redeem them here!
Tomorrow I’ll carry on with track 4: Still Catching Up, so make sure you come back!