We started Summer Camp one wintry weekend in October 2009, basically as a way of filling time. After two days of work we put our lo-fi cover of 'I Only Have Eyes For You' online under a fake Myspace, where we claimed to be seven Swedish people who met at summer camp when they were 14. Sweden, we apologise - we still don't really know why we did that. We didn't expect anyone to find the Myspace and this way we knew that if anyone we knew did, they'd not be able to trace it back to us. Hence we were safe from mockery. This is also why we dug into our collection of yellowing family photos rather than using pictures of ourselves. Transparent blog found it after about an hour and posted in online, then Gorilla Vs. Bear and other awesome blogs we're eternally indebted to, followed. We were quite overwhelmed and decided to try writing a few of our own songs. Moshi Moshi Records got in touch and asked to release 'Ghost Train' as a single, and we obviously said yes. But we still weren't entirely sure we wanted to do the band seriously, and definitely weren't interested in playing live – Elizabeth had never really sung in public before.
Since we both had other careers – Jeremy a solo artist who had just started a new band 'Acres Acres' and Elizabeth a writer/actress, it took a while to come to terms with the fact this is what we wanted to do. Eventually though, we did. The turning point perhaps being when NME asked Elizabeth to write a radar piece about “new band Summer Camp”. She declined, regrettably. Our first gig was a sold out show in London at the Lexington in March of 2010. We think it's fair to say we were pretty awful, but we persevered, although growing up performance-wise in public wasn't easy. Put it this way: googling ourselves during that period wasn't much fun. Luckily Moshi hadn't lost faith and we released our EP Young in September of that year, following a tour with the excellent Slow Club who taught us about on-stage banter. As that year ended we toured with the inimitable Frankie and The Heartstrings, and met Steve Mackey, bassist of pulp and expert in Chicago house music, who produced our debut album with us.
From day one of writing together we were inspired by teen films and coming-of-age stories for their specific yet universal themes. We're huge fans of 80's pop-culture, but we steal from every era and genre. Still, the films of John Hughes are a major reference point for us. We love the way he wrote about characters who all lived in the same fictional town in middle America - Shermer, Illinois. Following his example, with our album we created an imaginary town in California called Condale, which is located in a suburb of LA. All the songs are set here in various decades, and there's a cast of lovelorn sweethearts and oddballs. These include Cathy, a 16-year old who's obsessed with rock-star-in-the-making Brian, lead singer of local band the Alleycats. Then there's Louis Sley, the town mayor in 1954 who embarks on an illicit affair with Bebe West, a tragic starlet who can't escape the shadow of what she once was.
'Welcome To Condale' is our love letter to the days of being a teenager, when everything is So Important, and you're transformed irrevocably by a miserable relationship with a spotty youth called Darren who works at Pizza Hut. We believe that you never really escape that time, for better or for worse. It's the things you fall in love with then that will stay with you forever. Well, except Darren. Hopefully.