BC Camplight aren’t like a normal band. Fronted by Brian Christinzio, and from the US, they’ve been on a short festival run this past year with more stops and starts than spats between the Gallagher brothers. The cause: Brian’s deportation last year, sending him back to San Francisco. This meant cancelling a ton of gigs and festivals they had planned, and left no rehearsal time for the gigs they could attend.
Far from being coy, Brian’s band member, Robbie, weighs in: “The thing is with people in this country, there’s a lot of people that I like to call... What’s the best word for them? Racist cunts, who say we don’t do enough about immigration. And the home office turned up at his fucking door, confiscated his passport, and said he’s not having it until he gets to the airport gate. I’d say that’s pretty fucking strict."
Brian’s deportation halted a lot of their commitments for 2015, meaning a huge catch-up run this year, including Green Man Festival where I’m sat with the band now. As if that wasn’t annoying enough, it was also impossible for the band to get over to America to see Brian due to lack of ‘official band documentation’, as if you’re handed some kind of special band badge when you join a group. “That’s what’s weird about our band,” Brian interjects, “because it sort of revolves around me and my name, so like 90% of the press, unfortunately, the band’s name isn’t in it and the US wants like 50 pages of press wanting everyone’s name.”
But this hasn’t been the only stop and start for BC Camplight: Brian quit writing music in 2007. “Long story short,” he says, “I lived in Philly for a couple of years and I hated myself. I was living in an abandoned church so I thought, okay, I’ve got to do another record.” Following advice from a fan on social media, Brian upped sticks and moved to Manchester in 2012. “I had the most fun in Manchester when I was touring, so I was like, fuck it, and bought a plane ticket and showed up, met all these creeps, and now here we are.”
BC Camplight have even made a start on writing the next album, or at least have some tracks they want to play in front of a crowd. But with a cancellation list as long as my arm, no one’s even heard their last album yet, How To Die In The North. Put in a weird position, they’ve found themselves touring an album that already feels old to them, though this may be because they’re leaning towards a different direction with the newer material. “Without saying other bands because I forbid it,” says Brian, “I think this record is just weird, it’s an orchestral record with crazy rhythmic influences from a lot of 80’s horror movie synths and really strong melodies.” In Brian’s words, their second album with Bella Union is “the big, bull-on-the-run, make-or-break record."
It’s clear Brian doesn’t typically find influence in the music that’s around right now: “90% of the time I’m like, can you believe this absolute horseshit? And the other 10% of the time, I’m thinking yeah, look what’s happening at the bridge there. I can’t just enjoy it." His technical musicality and desire to dissect the songs he listens to is perhaps what comes with being a musician since the age of 4. It appears that song writing comes easy to Brian; it’s just finding the mindset.
So what are the extravagant plans for the band now? Just being a normal band. Brian’s after “a proper 6 month long tour rather than the stop and starts now because of all the Visa shit”, and it doesn’t seem like too unreasonable a request. “And be in the same country as the band,” he adds, “that’s the plan."
P.S. for any future trips to the US: band members included Robbie Rush, Adam Dawson, Hattie Coombe, Stephen Mutch and Jonno Prestbury.