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North Carolina’s BadCameo discuss inspiration behind the band and new single “Colors and Shapes”

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Rock/jazz-based band from Winston-Salem, North Carolina is made up of four extremely fun-loving, talented musicians. The sound of BadCameo is a stand out from the rock-genre, presenting jazz beats and Americana roots throughout each song since 2017, including their latest release “Colors and Shapes”. With the single’s official music video out today, Nü Sound spoke with the band on the inspiration behind the song and their thoughts on the local scene.

 

1) Tell us a little bit about Bad Cameo, where the name comes from, how the band was started, etc.

 

Geoff: “Lando and I came up with “BadCameo” after wrangling with endless combinations of words that could capture the essence of the music we were making. I think we have grown into our name very well. We draw from so many backgrounds of influence in music and life and the word “cameo” is a great catch-all for this eclectic amalgamation of styles. From there we decided to combine the two words into the singular “BadCameo” which hints towards the experimental. “

 

Lando: “BadCameo borrowed the effervescent “coolness” of the name BADBADNOTGOOD. Just as simple as that! The band, however, started playing together not too long ago. Will (lead guitar) and Lando (lead vocals) have played bluegrass together for about 5 years now, whilst Geoff (keyboardist/bassist) and Lando had been getting together and jamming through our mutual college friend Byron for about 3 years on and off. Geoff in the meantime was playing with a cover band, and through Craigslist he found Dan, a drummer wanting to play some groovy tunes.  Lando would show up from time to time wanting to jam with Geoff and it would overlap with the cover band practice, so Dan would stick around to provide a little backbone to our improv tunes. So before you know it, Lando told Will to come by and things started to get funky from there on out. Very organic and grassroots start to this band!”


Dan: “I met Geoff through the ‘The Wingmen’, a band I found via a Craigslist post when I moved to Winston Salem. After playing for 9 months, Geoff invited me to jam with “some of his Wake buddies” and after the first jam session in Geoff’s attic, we knew we had something special.”

 

2) Your newest single “Colors and Shapes” is out now and the music video drops Friday, tell us about the inspiration behind this single!

Geoff: “Will is the heart and soul behind Colors and Shapes, and as the bands sound engineer I wanted to capture that soul of the song in a sonic sense. A main theme of the song is lusting after things that are superficially attractive but perhaps not the best for us. The psychedelic textures, wide sonic stage, and shimmering guitars I think embodies that lustful attraction.”

Will:  “I wrote this song while sitting at the piano at my parent’s house. There are some thoughts behind the words that have to do with perspective and how we see the world but mostly I wanted to write a funky soul song. From there it took off into what it is now.”

Lando: “The single really embodies human nature’s inability to see clearly. We’d love to think of ourselves as purely logical beings for the sake of efficiency, but let’s face it, we aren’t. And so this song really captures how we can be mislead when all along we thought true desires would be accompanying us in the right direction. Intentions don’t always line up with perception!”

Dan: “For me on the drums, it was about putting together a groove based on Will’s catchy guitar line. I think we knew we had a great song the first time we jammed that line, and then it was all about figuring out how to tell the story that Will had in his head.”

3) You guys have a solid Charlotte and NC presence, what are some things you love about the North Carolina music scene?

Geoff: “I love how supportive the NC music scene is, especially in Charlotte. Byron McClendon (city leader of so far Charlotte) has built such a wonderful live music community around that and we’re thrilled to be a part of it. We’ve played a fair amount around Charlotte and seeing familiar faces at shows is amazing. Live music lovers keep us going!”

Will: “People love live music. Especially in Charlotte. But the best thing about NC music is how diverse it is. The bluegrass and old-time string music from the mountains seep into the rich jazz roots that NC has and blend with all of the great metal, rock, r&b, rap scenes throughout the state to create something special.”

Lando: “NC has a lot of great music diversity! We know that for Will and Lando the amount of musical cultural heritage that comes from the Appalachian Mountains is something that can’t be beat!! But even our town of Winston-Salem there is an awesome jazz scene, and we fully take advantage of it to try and expand our repertoire and overall playing ability. With John Coltrane being from NC, we at BadCameo love to pay homage to the jazz roots.”

Dan: “I love the enthusiasm in Charlotte to get out and see music no matter the night of the week. There’s always big national shows, or local acts, or the Sofar Sounds concert series in town – and when people want to get out of their house, their first thought is where can I hear music. As a musician that means a lot knowing music matters to them as much as it matters to me.”

4) What are your favorite venues to play and why?

Geoff: “The evening muse was a great experience for us, I love the vibe there. Having an experienced sound man behind the board and an audience that is receptive makes a world of difference. ”

Will: “I think the evening muse is such a great venue. Really close and personal and it sounds great in there. Really looking forward to playing the Ramkat on the 20th as well because that will be our first really big hometown show.”

Lando: “The Evening Muse is a great place! We love the intimacy the room provides and the Charlotte fans are always there to bring out their best dance moves! We’re also super excited about our show at the Ramkat on April 20th! That should be a really nice place and tons of room for big ol’ moshpit if need be!”

Dan: “In Winston Salem, I enjoy playing at Wiseman Brewery because the sound is great and people love coming out to support us. In Charlotte, my favorite venue so far was Free Range Brewing. We opened for Kendall Street Company, so it was packed and everyone was loving our tunes.”

(I think it’s safe to say the band’s overall favorite is, you guessed it, The Evening Muse.)

5) What are some other local bands your listeners should check out?

Geoff: “Braveworldtrio! They are an incredibly talented and hardworking group. If you are a musician there is an endless amount of knowledge to learn from them. ”

Will: “Big fan of Swim in the Wild out of Charlotte. Great group of guys with a super unique sound. In Winston, a band that really helped shape our sound is Brave World Trio. Fantastic modern jazz trio that we see religiously on Wednesdays.”

Lando: “BraveWorldTrio is an insane jazz-fusion group out of Winston-Salem! The bassist in that band also plays in a country/bluegrass band called Time Sawyer, and they know how to throw a hoedown! For a little more Indy/rock taste Daddy’s Beemer and Red Dress Amy are some electrifying bands out of the Queen City.”

Dan: “In Winston, my favorite band was Brave World Trio. Unfortunately, the guitarist left to New Orleans, but the players are world class. I actually take drum lessons from the drummer Jonathan Greene. In Charlotte, I’m a fan of Daddy’s Beemer. They have a great sound. ”

6) If you could tell yourself when you were 15 anything, what would it be?

Geoff: “Practice your ass off, save your money, and don’t waste time on people who don’t believe in you or hold you back in any way.”

Will: “Hey man. Don’t quit piano for soccer. You’re not very good at soccer.”

Lando: “You picked the right hobby… keep up the pickin’ boy!”

Dan: “There’s a lot of great bands and musicians out there and listen to as much different music as you can.”

7) What inspired you to begin your musical journey to begin with?

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Geoff: “I started playing piano when I was 8, so there is very little time in my life where music wasn’t in the picture. I love being on stage, in the studio, or working on music in any capacity…even if that means fixing the van! It’s something I’m drawn towards in an irresistible way.”

Will: “Both of my parents are trained musicians. I started playing piano at a very young age and then picked up guitar when I was in middle school. It’s been instilled in my brain since I was young.”

Lando: “As a kid, my Italian grandmother always sang to us the pieces she would perform when she traveled throughout Europe as an opera singer. My dad worked from home and he always had music blaring, and my mother got my sister and myself playing music fairly early in our lives, and so ultimately being surrounded by music was just something I grew accustomed to. Since the age of 9, I’ve been classically trained on the guitar, but fell in love with pieces by Brazilian composer Garoto, a predecessor to the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. I should also note that my uncle Matthew Alexander is a phenomenal singer-songwriter and guitarist. I remember summer breezes on the screen porch of my grandparents’ house and my uncle Matthew playing tunes such as “Jambalaya” and “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues”.

Dan: “I saw someone playing the drums when I was like 10 and thought they looked super cool! I had good rhythm and thankfully my parents helped get me lessons to learn all about the instrument.”

8) What are some Bad Cameo goals for the rest of 2019?

Geoff: “We’re making a big push to play dedicated music venues. We love being on stage without the distraction of having to run our own sound. I feel much more present when we can simply focus on playing and engaging the audience. In the studio, were exploring new horizons in terms of our production. We have an EP slated to release later on in the Spring (which Colors and Shapes will be on) and getting that done will be a milestone for us.”

Will: “BadCameo wants to keep on getting weirder, tighter, funkier, and more in the pocket. Would love to play some more classic venues in NC like Cats Cradle, Visualite, the Ritz, etc.”

Lando: “Get more music out for the masses and see our NC fans grow in numbers.”

Dan: “We are still trying to understand the music scene and take the next steps. We are looking to build our presence in Raleigh and the Triangle, while playing more venue shows in Charlotte and Winston.”

9) If you could play any festival which would you play?

Geoff: “I would love to play Bonnaroo. I attended in 2015 and it was a life-changing experience, without any exaggeration. Being able to play a festival with that kind of energy would be even more incredible from the stage.”

Will: “New Orleans Jazzfest or Farm Aid.”

Lando: “MerleFest would be quite incredible, but that’s the bluegrass banjo picker in me! BadCameo would definitely fit in well at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival or the New Orleans Jazz festival. With that said, we are super excited about our gig at the Sycamore Brewery Spring Fest and can’t wait to jam with our fans in the QC!”

Dan: “Any jam/funk festival! The energy at these festivals is pretty great and just to be a part of the vibe would be awesome.”

10) If you had to switch an instrument with another band mate which would you choose?

Geoff: “I’d have to say guitar! Playing guitar is cool, plain as that.”

Will: “I would switch guitars with Lando and keep doing my thang.”

Lando: “Geoff can literally play anything you put in front of him, and better yet he will play it like a master virtuoso would! But for me, I would switch to the big ol’ bass, and in fact I do for the songs “Cissy Strut” & “Sea Foam”.

Dan: “I wish I could do some singing, but unfortunately for that dream, my talent is in rhythm and not pitch.”

11) Favorite memory of Bad Cameo?

Geoff: “We’ve had so many amazing experiences together, but our experience hiking and exploring the Linville Gorge in Western NC was amazing. A hilarious experience was driving to a show at the beach right after a huge snow storm. We borrowed my dads old Cadillac sedan and rented a Uhaul for our gear. Driving across massive frozen ice sheets in that rig is an experience I won’t ever forget.”

Will: “Either our summer adventures camping and hiking in Linville Gorge. OR playing three shows in a weekend between Asheville, Charlotte, and Salisbury then driving back to Winston in a straight up blizzard just to get in our hot tub at 3 am to finish watching the snow fall.”

Lando: “Driving down at sunset on the Blue Ridge Parkway from a day-long hike in Linville Falls, blasting Tangerine by Led Zepplin… a truly blessed day.”

Dan: “See Will’s answer 110%.”

 

Check out the single “Colors and Shapes” on Spotify now and head to the band’s Facebook to check out upcoming shows!

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