The brainchild of singer Francesca Ross and instrumentalist Ian Watt, electronic pop duo I AM A CAMERA is responsible for infectiously catchy songs such as Commuter Love and their most recent single Factory Boys, set for release on May 27.
The duo met by chance in a club in Manchester, shortly before starting the band in October 2010. “We ended up chatting late into the night about everything from our favourite lyrics to Coronation Street to drum machines. We started writing together shortly after and that’s how it began. We knew straight away we were onto something,” recalls Ross.
Influenced by the likes of Astrid Kirchherr, Paisley Park and Arthur C. Clarke, I AM A CAMERA underpins their hypnotic beats with dreamy yet dark lyrics, visually captured in their atmospheric music videos.
Twin spoke to Ross about the inspirational appeal of the everyday mundane and her nine favourite tunes of the moment…
Describe your music in three words.
Beats, Drama, Strings.
What inspires you?
We’re inspired by everyday life. The most mundane things can be made in to a sinister subject. It can be a photo we’ve seen or a story on the news, even a sinister-looking woman on 60 Minute Makeover. We like to find the stories behind things.
Do you ever find that the city of London feeds into your work?
We live, eat, sleep & dream in London. We are inspired by the things that go on in everyday life so it inevitably feeds through into our work. The people around us become the subject of songs without even knowing it. It’s a huge city with so many individual stories and events. We’re always pondering over what goes on behind closed doors, what people are really thinking about and their darkest secrets.
How would you describe the creative collaborative process?
It differs with each song. Sometimes it will be one of these stories that sparks an idea. Otherwise, when I get to the studio and Ian will have stacks of chords & beats to work on and we just go from there.
What is the story behind the song Factory Boys and its music video?
Factory Boys is inspired by the true story of The Dupont Twins, two teenage boys who made their way from living on a gas station in a small town to the legendary New York club Studio 54. They went from being penniless one day to being paid by Warhol in Screen Prints to hang out with him the next. Amazing. We made the video ourselves by filming on our iPhones & iPads. We set it up like our own home studio. It’s inspired by the pop art and fabulous imagery that surrounds that time in New York and the glamorous debauchery of Studio 54.
How do you perceive positive and negative aspects of producing music in this digital age?
It’s positive because you can access so much and interact with so many people. We can upload a video in our studio in London, then within five minutes someone has blogged about it in Russia. We love that. The negative side is scary hackers stealing what’s not theirs.
What does the future hold for I AM A CAMERA?
The immediate future holds us making an amazing first album, lots of touring, new material and great hair.
1/ La Femme – Sur La Planche
This band is from France, in case the name didn’t give it away. It sounds like the B-52′s on a night out with Bis. In France.
2/ Morrissey – Suedehead
I have a slight fascination with redundant sea side towns. This song sums this up entirely for me whilst bringing some Manchester vibes at the same time.
3/ Canyons – When I See You Again (Nick Zinner Remix)
This is a beautiful song from The Canyons, made even better by Nick Zinner’s remix. He’s really turned it around and made it in to a danceable track with shakers & electronic claps. The perfect track to get you ready for summer.
4/ Kleenex – Ain’t You
Swiss post punk, best filed between The Raincoats & The Bush Tetras. I love how the sections are so different and how they stumble into each other.
5/ Bananarama – Aie A Mwana
Loving this extended version. Bananarama’s first single in the pre SAW days, a cover of a song by Black Blood. The released version was actually a demo, & apparently this song also inspired the band’s name.
6/ Friends – I’m His Girl
It’s all about the bassline in this song. That and the old school vibes in the video. Makes me want to get back to New York asap!
7/ Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
This was their debut single, it’s got such memorable riff which set the precedent for future dance music.
8/ Seasfire – Falling
I went to see them play in London recently. This song really stood out, it’s full of raw emotion, contrasted only by its clean instrumentation.
9/ Donna Summer ft. Giorgio Moroder – I Feel Love
One of the greatest songs ever recorded! The sounds and production are so ahead of their time. I recently watched a programme on the origins of disco, and it made me realise how much music owes to this genre and this man.
Listen to I AM A CAMERA’s playlist here.