Folk band Caamp discusses changing industry, new music

Christa McWhirter

Evan Westfall and Taylor Meier first met during a summer camp in middle school. The two remained friends into highschool when they started what is now known as Caamp.

From an attic in Athens, Ohio, Westfall and Meier penned and sang what would ultimately amount to their independently produced debut album. The Ohio-based band released their sophomore album, “Boys,” earlier this year and decided to release it in two parts. “Boys Side A” was released in March, and “Boys Side B” was released a few months later in July.

“It’s a quick world,” said Taylor Meier, lead singer and guitarist. “People’s attention spans and appetites are so easily satisfied or so easily dissatisfied. We wanted to release little packets of music that are enough to listen to in a sitting and feel satisfied, and if you don’t know us, it’s small enough you’re intrigued to get to know us.”

Evan Westfall, resident banjo player and harmony vocalist, addressed the changing music industry — especially the ways through which people receive and listen to their music.

“With Spotify today, everyone is putting out singles, whereas we’re album guys,” Westfall said. “We love to put out full albums, but you gotta keep up with the times.”

Boys has some key differences from Caamp’s 2016 self-titled debut album. The most obvious departures from their previous work of pure acoustic folk are the additions of bassist Matt Vinson last year and of an electric guitar on about half of the album.

Caamp’s new music is still distinguishable through Westfall’s signature banjo and Meier’s deep, raspy voice that’s reminiscent of well-known folk singer Ray LaMontagne.

While Caamp may be commonly referred to as a folk band, their newest album incorporates aspects of Americana and old-school rock. While many musicians seem to reject the idea of being classified into a specific genre, Caamp seems to have a different perception of labeling. Meier said that he would be okay with being classified as Americana, folk or folk-rock.

“It’s a pretty common thread amongst musicians to be like, ‘Oh, we’re not that,’” Meier said. “But you are that — you’re just more than that too.”

The Ohioan boys seem to find inspiration for their music everywhere. Meier said he finds most of his writing inspiration in nature. For Westfall, it’s traveling and being in new surroundings, while Vinson said he finds a lot of inspiration in the actual production of music — and not just their own.

“The picture that a mix can create is something that you should keep up with and take notes on,” Vinson said. “Not to be like, ‘I want that sound,’ but like, ‘I want that feeling.’”

Most of Caamp’s body of work is a feel-good kind of music that makes fans tap their feet and bob their heads in time. At the end of the day, each song is relatable.

“Even if it’s a sad song, they’re all about love and usually hope,” Meier said. “I like to capture the emotions that are tied to human experiences or things that I’m longing to feel or want to do, or even just dream about.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated for clarity on the band's establishment.