Interview: The Last Dinosaur

the last dinosaur

Photo by Alexandra Cameron

Regardless of what the rest of the year offers, to me The Nothing is the essential album of 2017. This cathartic creation composed about the loss of a childhood friend rivals Nick Cave’s Skeleton Tree as the most powerful and personal record of the decade. With its uplifting atmosphere, poignant lyrics and deftly moving instrumental passages, it’s the kind of record you simply want to fade away into and never leave. I spoke to gifted songwriter Jamie Cameron about his new masterpiece: 

Thanks for your time! You’ve just released your new album The Nothing, which has been a lengthy labour of love of yours for some time, how do you feel now that you’ve finally shared it with the world?
It’s a very strange feeling considering how long the process has taken. At this point I mainly feel relieved that the album is finally out in the world. I also feel quite uncomfortable at the thought of people listening to deeply personal thoughts and casting opinions about them but ultimately I need to try and push that to the back of my mind. It’s time to let the album go now.

You’ve been working on this music, in one form or another, for eight years now. It must have changed a lot over those years. How does the finished product compare to your early demos?
It actually hasn’t changed a huge amount. I had pretty clear ideas for how I wanted the songs to be. For instance, ‘Atoms’, ‘I Couldn’t Wait’ and ‘On Water’ are actually 100% my original home recordings. Most of the other songs were initially fleshed out at home too. We moved over to a proper studio to record additional instruments and vocals once I maxed out my 16-track recorder and hit the ceiling with my production abilities. I couldn’t fully realise ideas using the equipment I owned without having to compromise, which I really didn’t want to do. ‘The Sea’ is the only song that was completely recorded and mixed elsewhere.

Though it was written about a very dark time in your life, it’s a truly uplifting record. Where did this hopeful outlook come from?
Necessity. I was in a dark place for a long time.

The album puts a real emphasis on the instrumental side. Was that down to not being able to find the right words, or simply not needing them as the music spoke for itself?
I’d never considered vocals for the instrumental tracks on the album, they were always intended to be instrumentals. For me, there’s nothing more incredible about music than the ability to express deep emotions without the use of words.

Although for you it is a deeply personal project, what do you hope listeners take away from it?
To be honest, I’d rather leave it for people to feel however it makes them feel.

The artwork is a perfect fit: simple yet striking. Where did that design come from?That’s the beautiful work of the talented Christoffer Relander. I can’t remember exactly where or when I came across his work but I remember the feeling. The image embodies the theme of the album perfectly.

I’ve heard tell you never got the chance to perform your last album live. Are there any plans to take The Nothing on the road to make up for those lost times?
We did actually play a bunch of times back around the time of the first album, however we stopped about 5 or 6 years ago for a number of reasons. More recently I’ve been playing a few solo sets here and there but plans are definitely under way to get back out and playing with a full band again.

As this record has been such a big part of your life for so long, I can’t help but wonder what’s next?
Because the tracks on The Nothing have been in the works for such a long time I probably have two or three albums worth of material collected in the time since any album writing finished. The main focus at the moment is The Nothing and playing shows but hopefully it won’t be a huge amount of time before work starts on the follow up.

Massive thanks to Jamie, both for his time and his wonderful music. The Nothing is out now!

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