French Camp hail from the South and hustle in Brooklyn – I say hustle because the pace of city life fueled the band to record two albums in two years. The second release, titled Odd Particle, comes out this Saturday, May 11th and features heartfelt songs about love (of people, of home) that mix pop with elements of Roy Orbison inspired rock & roll.
French Camp celebrate Odd Particle on release day (May 11) at NYC’s Bowery Electric with Craig Martinson & The Heartbeats and Frances Cone opening. Arrive early because you won’t want to miss a single act on this stellar lineup! Get tickets here.
French Camp front-man Owen Beverly spoke to Sound Dessert about his admiration for Mr. Orbison, the origin of the band’s name and what he misses most about the South:
Sound Dessert: Odd Particle is French Camp’s second album in two years. What was the biggest difference with making this record?
Owen Beverly: The first record was a bit of an experiment. We self produced and recorded almost everything on 2″ analogue tape and cassette tape. We had 10 songs and a gutted studio space in Jackson and just kind of winged it. For the follow up we were a little more meticulous, I wrote something like 30 songs and we hired producer Josh Kaler and recorded at his studio Hello Telescope in Charleston. I think we were seeking a sort of redemption or at least a more concentrated effort.
SD: What inspiration did you draw from Roy Orbison when writing Odd Particle? What’s your favorite Orbison song?
OB: Picking a favourite Roy song would be like picking a favourite child. If I had to choose it might be “Crying” or from the later Jeff Lynn sound “Mystery Girl”. I think from a songwriting standpoint the inspiration is the crafting of the songs. It’s effortless and truncated and formulaic. They are only about 3 minutes long but somehow they have it all.
SD: The name French Camp is derived from a boarding school not far from your hometown of Jackson, Mississippi – what’s your relationship to the school? Did you ever attend or know someone who did?
OB: Basically anytime someone got busted for smoking in the bathroom or skipping school they got shipped off to French Camp and were never heard from again. It was a mythical place, we heard horror stories; legendary. Needless to say I lost touch with most of the exiles.
SD: The band currently resides in Brooklyn. How has living here influenced you?
OB: Living in Brooklyn makes it impossible to rehearse with any sort of regularity. Try coordinating four New York schedules, throw in schlepping gear across town and playing a lot of shady backline situations and you can see why everyone and their mom wants to be in a band from Brooklyn? New York is generally an inspiring place to be though, you have to get your shit together and hustle or you feel like the city will eat you alive. Maybe that’s why we ended up doing 2 records in 2 years?
SD: A number of songs on Odd Particle reference the South, especially “I Heart The South”. What do you miss most about home?
OB: I miss a 75 degree day in November, I miss being 15 miles away from nowhere, swimming in a river, playing golf, eating craw fish…There is plenty I will miss about New York if/when we leave. Part B: Writing should be a practice that takes you to another head-space… like a fantasy, Jay Clifford once told me that it’s easier to write about a place when you get away from it.
SD: French Camp received permission to use the Higgs Boson image as the album art for Odd Particle; did you have a back up in case you were denied?
OB: I actually had to send the discs to get pressed before we got the official approval! But we did and ATLAS was so cool about everything and really took the time to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. They made it happen and we are eternally grateful, what a great story!
SD: You call yourself a brewmaster – what types of beer do you brew/enjoy?
OB: I have a tendency to get a little manic from time to time. I like all encompassing projects. I usually go pretty hard for a while and then go on to something new. I’ve gotten into spirits now and want to do some distilling and fortifying next.
SD: Does anyone still call you ‘White Lightnin‘?
OB: I haven’t heard that name in a while, I would go back and do that experience over in a heartbeat. You have an experience like that early in life and it makes you feel like you are from somewhere. I have a premonition that one day I’ll go back to playing blues, I feel it in my blood.Odd Particle is out May 11th. NYC’ers can catch French Camp play Bowery Electric the same day! See details here.