I chose this path because it brings me so much joy, and I honestly don’t think I would work this hard for anything! Musicians are some of the hardest working people I know, all while on a financial balancing act. – Cameron Dawson
We caught up with Brit Soul Band [Mamas Gun] bass player Cameron Dawson to discuss their latest EP release “The Tin Pan Sessions”. Dawson highlighting how his journey into the music industry was a bit of a slow build in a lot of ways, as with a lot of musicians. Playing in gigs during his teenage years led Cameron t the idea of studying bass guitar at college. “While studying at BIMM in my first year, a tutor (Terry Lewis, guitar in Mamas Gun) spotted me playing at an end of term gig and asked if I’d like to try out for his band. I didn’t expect to get the gig, but went for the audition anyway, for experience. Two auditions later and I was in a killer touring band!” For Dawson, the creative release that music brings is incomparable, along with it’s beautiful and honest learning process. Pointing out how sharing findings and studies with other musicians, learning from battle hardened and experience elders, obsessing over albums given to us by the greats as gifts. These things he finds both fascinating and humbling. Their music is best described as a mix of tradition and forward movement. In Cameron’s own words, “a homage to beautiful and rich song-writing and a keen love for the magic that occurs when you leave just enough up to chance”.
The Tin Pan Sessions
The Tin Pan Sessions the bass player explains is effectively Mamas Gun’s first live record in a lot of ways! Pointing to his sound engineer [Doug Hunt], he highlights how Doug created software that offers the band the unique abilities to play live together in separate locations across the country. “We were lucky enough to trial this crazy technology with Doug and decided it was time to try this thing out in public after a while”. Camerson highlights how it’s first outing was a radio performance on Soho Radio that was cut to vinyl as they played [physically recorded at the same time from 5 separate locations through the internet]. For the band this was a great feeling, especially given the lack of gigging time over the last couple of months, which has proved its own challenge.
In terms of the artist’s development, Cameron notes the change in their approach to recording.Whereas they used to be by their own admission “pretty high maintenance”. Referencing the work-shopped process taken towards each song produced. Their approach now is far more streamlined. Spending less time on the arrangement of the song and proceeding to tape, allowing the artists to place focus in getting the bulk of the tune in the first and/or second take. “The crazy thing is that we’ll have never played the tune together in-person before that first take, so the anticipation is incredible and you can really hear it on the recordings”.
The band are particularly keen on the notion of their listeners finding their own sense of meaning through their music. Cameron points to be inspired by everything around him, from his brother who he credits with originally introducing Dawson into the music scene, and to continually keep an “open ear”. “Peers, band-mates, artists I work for, engineers, producers and arrangers all inspire me and I’m always lucky to get an insight into their working process”.
The Reality of Living with Anxiety
Dawson opens up about suffering from anxiety for quite some time. He explains how it comes in many forms, and definitely relates to his music and hiscareer. The artist points to feeling like he is in the past, present and future all at the same time and it finds it can get very overwhelming. Thus he is working to being in the room when producing their music, so he can experience everything properly and work with a sense of freedom. “We don’t have a huge amount of time on this planet, I don’t want to miss it all worrying about my projection of what has happened and what may happen”.
The artist draws a lot of inspiration from Nick Hakim, Kate Bush, McCoy Tyner and Louis Cole, but to name a few. His advice is to always be open. To never think you are above any subject, any genre or any peer. For the very reason there will always be more persepectives to learn. He points to his own self confidence as his biggest challenge to date, and by the same token, his own worst enemy. Achieving inner acceptance of who you are had enable the artist to bring clarity to his life, in addition to the tools to move forward.
Mamas Gun is halfway through the recording process of their fifth album. The band have been enjoying themselves with their music, and feel this is something you can hear in their final productions. Takiing a positive outlook from 2020, they feel as musicians, has allowed them to have actually have the time to make the records they’ve been talking about for years. #Watchthisspace