INTERVIEW: Cameron Fife

If someone’s never heard your music before, how would you describe it to them in one sentence? 

I've always been terrible with this question, but maybe this is a time for me to lock down an answer. I've been tossing around "aggressive indie folk" a little recently but honestly I'm not sure what that even means. Maybe "indie folk punk"? I like to think I have a little of every genre in some songs somewhere but maybe thats a little too pretentious of an answer for me to commit to. Sorry this wasn't one sentence, and sorry I didn't actually lock down an answer. I failed. 


If you could collaborate with any musician, dead or alive, who it be and why? 

This is a toughie. I think I would have to pick Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! That band taught me a lot about being a human when I was 14 and discovered "Reinventing Axl Rose" at Ear-X-Tacy (a local record store in Louisville KY. Fun fact: It's now a Panera Bread). The Do It Yourself attitude is something that that particular album really instilled in me and my friends at a young age and to this day is still an important part of my life. That album inspired me to tour at an early age with my best friend in a band called Eat This McKinley, which was heavily influenced by Against Me. Against Me has always felt like a constant in my life and "Reinventing" is a grounding force for me and reminds me of my roots. You can also just feel the passion bleed through on that record. It's pretty incredible. I saw them recently and they played a lot of songs from that record and it was a big push for me to start playing music again.


As an artist, what’s on your long-term bucket list?

I think I would completely lose it if one of my songs was used in a Scorsese film. I could probably die a happy man if that ever happens. To me, he is the master of using music to create an interesting atmosphere. I'm not saying he is the only director to do so, but he just seems to really care about music and it shows. Watch any of his movies, it's such a huge part of it. He also is my favorite director. If any big time directors want to use any of my songs, I would be beyond stoked. 


I would also be completely happy just packing a bar/house full of friends and strangers who sang along to every word and then I'd buy everyone a round of shots after. That seems fun. 


I also need to find a different shirt to play shows in because I've been playing in the same one.

What do you want listeners to take away from your music?

A really great friend of mine once wrote this in an insert for our band's (Eat This McKinley) first album and it always stuck with me: "Forgive us for any wrong notes or off tuning, but I guess that's what music is all about: purpose, meaning, and emotion comes first. Hopefully skill will come later. Go out and start a band. Play the music you wanna play and don't worry if you think you're horrible. Don't let skill get in your way, write with everything you got and go play your fuckin' heart out" 


I'm paraphrasing a bit but that's the gist of it. It's not to say that you can just throw up a disclaimer before any show or album and be bad on purpose. You should respect stage time and studio time and give yourself a chance to grow and develop the skills you find important, or what you like to hear in songs you like. At the end of the day I just want to inspire people to make music that means more to them than to anyone else and that it's okay for any art you make to have scars because that's whats going to stand out the most. I hope people take that away from my music. Most people probably just think I'm a sad bastard though, which I'm also fine with. 

What’s your favorite concert you’ve been to?

I just recently went to my favorite concert I've ever been to! It was Mimicking Birds and Modest Mouse at Pappy and Harriets in Pioneertown, CA. Modest Mouse played a 105 minute set including the song "Broke" which I didn't think they'd play. It's probably one of my favorite songs ever written and I think it's almost 20 years old now which is crazy. If you ever get a chance to see a show at Pappy and Harriets, do it. It's a "wild west watering hole" under the stars in the mountains. It's gorgeous. 

Who are you listening to right now? 

Young Jesus is a Chicago based band I've been listening to a lot recently. Their album "Home" is probably in my top 5 favorite albums of all time. I really love it and can't seem to tire myself out from it. Everyone should check it out. It's on Spotify. They also just released a single called "G" after a two year hiatus, which is great. I heard they just moved to LA so hopefully they play a show soon. Everyone like them on facebook and tell them to play a show so I can see them!