Artist Feature: Jamie Campbell Bower of COUNTERFEIT.
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On a quiet and cool summer day in Anaheim, California, UK's very own COUNTERFEIT. arrived to play the last show of their first US tour at the Chain Reaction. With excitement and anticipation running through the room, it was almost bittersweet as the hours flew by leading up to the band's final performance. It was something you had to experience for yourself. The energy and chaos that the UK artists brought to the stage had fans to their feet, leaving them in awe and, of course, rioting their hearts out to songs like "Washed Out" and "Close To Your Chest". The interaction between the guys of COUNTERFEIT. and their adoring crowd was an amazing time to witness; with most of the band coming into the audience, singing, crowd surfing, and mosh pitting to new and old songs. It was clear that this is what they were made to do; it's their livelihood and their passion. We need to support more artists like these guys; the ones who not only do it because it's their job, but because you know they love what they're doing and wouldn't trade it for the world. But before they got out on stage to give it their all to their dedicated fans, I got to take a moment and talk with lead singer Jamie Campbell Bower about the tour life, the fans, and everything in between, as the rest of the band (Sam Bower, Tristan Marmont, Roland Johnson, Jimmy Craig) prepared for what was to come. You can watch the full interview below, or read on to see more photos and live concert shots from the evening.
Me: Alright, so introduce yourself, and what do you do in Counterfeit?
Jamie: Hi, my name is Miley Cyrus and I play guitar in Counterfeit.
M: (laughs) Perfect. So, for those who might not know who Counterfeit is, what's the meaning behind the band name and how did it start?
J: The meaning behind the band name is always a difficult question to answer, I wish I had a better story than what I'm about to tell you. But, we used to play, myself, Tristan, and Roland, who play in the band, we used to play in another band together, and we played our last show and put it to bed; we started writing new music and we wanted to start completely afresh. We didn't have a name, we just had the sound right, and so I'm a bit of an emo kid and I was sending emails out being like 17 or so names, and like that. I was walking in Soho in London, and the name popped up into my head and it seemed to perfectly describe, or feel in my mouth, how the music sounded in my head. And I also think there's a small sense of irony behind the name as well, and it wasn't like a conscious thought. It was born, it was just natural, and I think that's what the most important thing is about this band is that everything we do is natural, and what we're about is community, and growth through community.
M: That's awesome. So it's your first headlining tour here in the US, correct?
J: It is indeed!
M: We were curious about it, but how does it compare to shows in the UK and Europe, to here? Like is the crowd any different, is the vibe different?
J: The language barrier's not as bad obviously (laughs) I mean as far as just logistical stuff, obviously the fucking drives are crazy. Like, a six hour drive for you guys is like popping to the shops, for us it's like traveling the length and breadth of our bloody country!
M: I know, it's ridiculous!
J: It is! It's absurd! That's just sort of the main difference, I guess. What we always seem to find through (when we go and play shows), is the people that are coming to see the shows are so fucking lovely, and that's worldwide. The people are there just to cut loose and have a good time, and to make friends, and so many people that I've met, on this run in particularly, who have just gone to a show by themselves, and they've left with three other mates. So that's the same university wherever we go. But there hasn't been much of a difference. The shows are just as crazy, just as wild, just as fun.
M: That's really cool. And it's been a little over a year since Together We Are Stronger came out-
J: That's right.
M: So what can fans expect for the future of Counterfeit, as far as new music goes, if you can even talk about that type of stuff.
J: I can, I can talk about it all you like, I can talk a little bit about that.
J: So yeah, like you said, we released our first album back in March of last year, and it's now come to, for us to tell the world that we are making another record. We launched a pledge campaign a month ago, announcing the new album, and on the pledge campaign we're giving people the opportunity to be more involved with the process, whereby you can actually come visit the studio, you can be in a music video, all that kind of stuff. But then also, on the pledge, we're going to be giving people content that you wouldn't necessarily see anywhere else. Behind the scenes of making the album, the writing process and what that was like. I spoke with someone after a show the other day and I said, "What is it that you want to see?", and she said to me "What I really want to see is songwriting and how songs are born and what they mean", and all that kind of stuff, so we'll be doing stuff like that up in there. But yes, a new album! We're going into the studio after this tour finishes, making a new record...
M: That's so exciting!
J: Which is very exciting, I know! The first album was very, like, naive, and I feel that we've grown so much.
M: I was going to ask, are you guys going in a different direction for the sound or are you going to stay true to that hardcore feel?
J: Well it's all timpanis now, that's how it is, it's all basically orchestral from now here on then, we're not going to be making any hardcore music anymore, it's strictly piano based material, from here on end.
M: Ah yes of course!
J: But yeah we'll be remaining true to Counterfeit, I think one of the things that I always wanted to do and one of the things that I love as a songwriter is scale and grandeur, and that's something that I want to bring to the next album, and I think it's something that we've tried to bring into the writing and in the next record it's just taking what is essentially Counterfeit and hardcore and thrashy and go go go, and developing that to a slightly more mature place I think. But there's not going to be any curve balls, that's not what we're about just yet.
M: Yeah, there are some artists that change their sound every album, so you never know.
J: You know, we could end up being that band, there's nothing to say that we're not going to be that band. But, at this point in time, you know, we are so early in the stages of our musical exploration that to veer off in such a strange direction would seem, I don't know, counterproductive, almost, to what it is that we're trying to do.
M: Totally. So, what might be some advice that you have for creatives, musicians, and artists in general to stay inspired and keep pursuing their passion and their dream? As far as creative stuff goes?
J: Never lose that childlike wonder. Never, ever lose that. It will go, and it will decrease, and you will notice it happening as you get older, but you have to try to not lose that, it's the hardest thing in the world. And as far as inspiration goes, I said to someone the other day actually, in a Q+A, they said they were asking me about the songwriting process, and I think I said something along the lines of "nothing was ever right the first time, it takes a lot of wrongs to have a good right in being creative." You know, if it's wrong, good, and if it's right, even better. So that's my main advice; don't be disheartened, even when you know it's shit. Because if you know it's shit, it means that you can do better.
A big thank you to COUNTERFEIT.'s team for having myself and my sister, @samanthabakerfilm, come out to the show; it was truly an unforgettable evening. Thank you to Jamie for taking the time to talk about life and the amazing piece of advice you had for fellow creatives out there that might be reading this.
You can follow COUNTERFEIT. on their social media links by following the link here! Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of the interview, and who would you like me to interview and shoot with next? Like what you see here? Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to stay up to date on all things music, photoshoots, interviews, and more! Let me know and follow me on twitter and instagram, and thank you for taking the time to check my site out. 'Til next time!