Contact Music caught up with Seán Silke from the electro dance act Camden Place ahead of their exciting period of imminent releases and future projects. Seán talks us through his writing process, his preference towards collaborative work and his wish list for possible hook ups down the road.   

Camden PlaceCamden Place

For those who may be new to your music, how best would you describe your sound?

Seán Silke: With the current incarnation of Camden Place, we are aiming for something between mainstream dance and electronica. Will I Make It To Springtime is a collaboration with niche musician Magician's Assistant (Dean Doyle) and experienced vocalist and songwriter Gráinne Hunt. Dean brings lots of lovely texture to the musical arrangements and this beautifully showcases Gráinne's plaintive vocal. 

We have one more track completed with Magician's Assistant , A Life In Photos, and have begun work on a third, I Prefer It Dark. I find this to be a very relaxed collaboration. I write the basic song and ask Dean to come up with a mood piece as the backing track. Then Rohan Healy of Beardfire Music brings his production expertise into play and we coax the song into life (with many alterations). 

Camden Place also produces more conventional dance material (we have two songs licensed to PR Records in Stockholm) and we have a promising relationship developing with a UK DJ. 

What challenges have you faced in the music industry so far?

The main challenge is attracting attention. Releasing singles into the deep is like launching a rowing boat in the Atlantic Ocean. Who will spot your small craft? So many practical tasks need to absorb your time when you issue a record – writing a press release, preparing an electronic press kit, perhaps investing in a website, social media work, compiling your personal database of radio station contacts. It is never-ending! You appreciate all the work a record label handles when you are a humble indie artist! 

How difficult would you say this career path is in terms of making a name for yourself?

I suspect that the vast majority of musicians have day jobs, even full-time day jobs. This is a realistic approach to keeping food on the table and a roof over your head. So your art becomes an all-consuming leisure time pursuit. But can it become a viable career? With great difficulty - assuming talent, commercial appeal and unlimited drive! Still, dreams of having one's work recognised by a significant audience is a powerful motivator.. and the dream lives on. 

How important is it for you to have creative control over the work you produce?

It is cool to have creative control but it is even cooler to work collaboratively. You then have to be open to new ways of presenting the “completed” songs. Outside influences challenge you to think differently and perhaps move to a final product which is completely different to how you saw the song to begin with. Will I Make It To Springtime started life as a moody ballad but once Magician's Assistant came on board the sound of the recording began to change radically. So now I believe that self-centred creative control is less important than a partnership approach to creative input. 

Where do you draw influence and inspiration from for your work?

Musical influences come from every sort of current music plus all the classic sounds of the past. It's great to be very knowledgeable about all kinds of music and to be able to say “I want a tambourine sound like on, I Heard It Through The Grapevine. To be able to refer to the mood on another song can be very helpful when working in the studio. 

That said, it is hard to directly relate musical influences to one's own musical style. A songwriter must over time find his or her “voice” and once that voice is evident you stay true to that. 

As for ideas that influence the lyrical content of songs, I am a demon for getting inspiration from Scandi Noir TV series, movies (especially foreign language movies), and fiction. Often a movie as a whole may be second rate but all I need is one really good scene with strong emotional content to give me a springboard for a set of lyrics. 

If you could collaborate with anybody going forward, who would you choose and why?

All dance music creatives dream of working with those they admire, so Nile Rodgers would have to be high on the list. David Guetta and Duke Dumont have also done a lot of outstanding work. More locally, I greatly respect the production skills of Gorgon City, Paul Woolford and Regard. Charlie Lane is up and coming on the UK scene. Really, there are many skilled producers around; the trick is to work with those who refrain from recycling the same old tropes over and over again. 

Tell us a random, funny fact about you that not many people know.

I have visited Peru once a year for the past 20 years (sadly, not this year due to the pandemic!). I love the people, the culture and the language. I come back each year with around ten songs (lyrics only) completed. 

Do you have definitive aims or goals for your career? Where do you hope to be this time next year?

Camden Place is both a dance and a songwriting collective, so we are busy promoting our songwriting skills to publishers. Our dream is to acquire a creative publisher who will promote our work and also introduce us to DJ producers and dance music artists, ideally in Germany, Sweden, Spain and the UK. Then we will write and produce with other artists, as well as releasing Camden Place material. So in one year's time we hope to be in that busy creative and commercially successful zone! 

What should we expect from you in the coming weeks and months?

After Will I make it to Springtime, Camden Place will be releasing, A Life in Photos. A third collaboration with Magician's Assistant is being cooked up as we speak. Our Swedish partner, PR Records, is releasing, Polishing Chrome, and, Too Much Space, before Christmas. These are more charts-oriented productions. Early in the New Year, a moodier track called, An Inner Look, is due for release. We expect to put all of our material together as a nice extended E.P. in March or April, probably leading off with the third Magician's Assistant collaboration, called, I Prefer It Dark