Camera are a Berlin based band that we reviewed a few months back ,because we really like the music they have been putting out . Jon Gordon caught up with keyboard player Timm Brockmann to ask him a few questions .
JG: How did Camera form? Was there a specific idea that brought the band about or was it less of a defined process than that?
TB: The band formed around 2010, when I joined Michael, Michel and Franz playing on the streets of Berlin. In the beginning, we played with different formations, and also played different styles of music, but then the band Camera formed, when we stayed more to our improvised, motoric approach to playing music. We played as We Are Camera first, but changed the name to Camera when we signed our first record contract with the Hamburg based label Bureau B, around mid 2011.
The idea, that defined the band in the beginning, was about freedom and independence – that´s why we played so much on the streets and also crashed several after show galas. We just wanted to have fun and some action, and not play in our rehearsal space for us alone. But the whole process was less planed, it just happened that this way works best for us, giving us the most energy for playing music, and get ourselves out there. And Berlin around 2010 was definitely the right place to do it.
JG: I understand that Camera prefer that recording is done in a live setting, including impromptu ‘busking’ sessions. Is there a specific reason for this? Does this remain an method that you use?
TB: For the first record Radiate!, we definitely wanted to capture our live energy, and record the music just like we play them – in an improvised set, where all play together, can hear the other one well and feels comfortable. It was kind of a very good compromise in the studio at Funkhaus Berlin, where we did the recordings. We still had separation on the individual tracks, but we could capture the same live energy. The whole process was quite direct, also because we were just playing with the three of us, Michael Franz and Timm – whereas for following records, we would also invite people or play with another guitarist.
So for the following albums, we also mixed it with different approaches, for example startign with just one sequenced synthesizer sound and then building up on that. On the new record Emotional Detox, it it pretty balanced between takes from live impromptu sessions and more build up tracks. But playing live and then cutting out good parts and working on these is a way that works quite well for us.
JG: When Camera first began making music, you worked alongside Michael Rother of Neu! and Dieter Moebius. Are they continuing to work with you? Which other musicians are you associated with?
TM: The concerts together with Michael Rother in the beginning were a great experience, as it happened quite naturally. We were quite shocked when Dieter Moebius died in 2015, but we are proud to have played with him and remember him as a really nice and relaxed person with a good vibe.
Camera doesn´t play with Michael Rother anymore, but Franz, the guitarist of the original Camera formation, is now playing as the live guitarist for Michael Rothers band. Besides that, we were not associated with anyone else recently.
JG: Aside from the connections with Neu! and Mobeius, which other actual influences do you think are present in the music of Camera? Which other musicians inspire you?
I think the different influences are always brought in by the band members, the specific people that play the instruments. This changes of course with each record. When Steffen joined the band on the synthesizers, the music became more more picturesque and storytelling on a way, because he works as a film music composer. I recently listen to a lot of electronic music, techno, trance, acid, IBM, all these kind of things – so I bring in an more electronic side; also because I play the synthesizers as well, of course.
JG: Has Camera been involved in other projects where you worked with artists from other areas, such as visual art and film? Is this something that fits with the Camera philosophy?
We did this more in the beginning of Camera, where we were more out on the streets of Berlin and looking for nice people and events to either crash or join. We had one scene in a movie by our old friend and director Jan Soldat, which was also played on the Berlinale Festival. We didn´t really do a collaboration and more closer work with film director together though, but if the idea and concept is interesting, we would be up for it.
But we always like to use opportunities for one-time collaborations on live concerts, when we play with people together that work in other fields. On time, we played a concert in a triangular skate ramp that was build into an old swimming pool in Berlin Wedding by some friends of us – this was a quite nice setting.
JG: What does the future hold for Camera? Are there any plans or ambitions that you would like to fulfil?
We don´t have specific plans, but just being able to make more records together, and maybe a record that will be listened to in 20 years still as well… that would be nice.
Besides that, we also have increased bills and rents and stuff, so we are open to stadium gigs and Hollywood film scoring too 😉
Thanks Jon and Timm
PS: If you want to hear snippets of Camera’s music I suggest visiting
http://www.bureau-b.com/ lots of good music there . Bunny