The Camels
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The Camels


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The best kept secret in music


"Let's Go Surfing Now"



29 March 2005 Drum Media
Story by Mark Neilsen

The Camels' Coastal Surfari tour got off to a great start in Hobart. Yes, the gig was good and all, but it was the cleaning up of the left over beers that made it a real treat. The band already grabbed a few for themselves to take back to the hotel, and as it turned out, Evermore, who they were playing with at the gig, didn't want what was left of their rider. So that was another case and a half to the tally. From the tour diary on the Camels website comes what happened next: "We check in to the motel and unpack the loot and... holy shit! We've managed to acquire 84 beers between us. That should keep us going for a little while."

"We had an over zealous rider gopher," remembers jamie Holt, The Camel' vocalist and guitarist. Now The Camels are a thirsty lot, so how long did said 84 brewskies last? "We couldn't take it out of Tassie, because we were flying and we already had a fair bit of gear and didn't want to go over our weight restrictions for luggage, so we had to take care of all that stuff," Holt laughs.

Aside from bonus beer finds, now a month into their Coastal Surfari tour, the actual shows have been going well, in fact better than expected. "We've done a fair bit of touring, on our own and supporting bigger bands, and sometimes if you're going somewhere for the first time, it can be a bit of a disappointment. If you're expecting this amazing show and you get there and nobody's really heard of you or in some rural areas they think you're a covers band and come up and requesting Chisel songs. It's actually gone really well. it's not been like that at all. People have come knowing the words to songs," Holt explains.

Do you keep a cover of the Khe Sanh in reserve just in case?

"We actually played the first line of it, because we recently played at a pub where Man Meninga had also been a special guest something or other during the night. And Big Mal was up the front demanding and demanding Khe Sanh."

The Coastal Surfari is the biggest run of shows The Camels have done, seeing them play over 50 dates in a tour that lasts about three months. The list of shows keeps on getting longer and longer, so don't be surprised if you see them playing beyond the expected tour finish of May. It's not like they're lobbing into areas unheard of though. Through a long run of supports last year, with the likes of bigger acts such as Spiderbait and Grinspoon, and in addition to their own shows, they have played many a place in the this wide land. "We've been around and made some friends in lots of towns. There is a small base of people that we can go back to that seem to be keen to come and see us again," Holt explains.

"We had really good shows all of last year, when playing in those bigger rooms. We actually went out with the locals in one of the towns and ended up going back and hanging out at people's houses. One guy who owned a pub invited us back for a lock in until 6am. We've discovered the hospitality of regional Australia." Needless to say The Camels will be utilising the contacts made on previous tours as they head around on the Coastal Surfari. "Oh yeah, we've called the guy at the pub and told him we're coming back," Holt says.
That's just one of many instances of hospitality The Camels have experienced on the road. Take for instance a guy in Perth who let the band stay at his house. "On the recommendation from a bloke in Queensland, he opened his house to us and said he had a tour bedroom house. We were welcome to stay in it for a week, and he filled the fridge full of beer and left the keys under the doormat for us without ever having met us. That was pretty nice," Holt remembers.

With a month of shows already under their belt, and many more to come, one would imagine that The Camels and their catchy pup/rock is quite the tight live machine presently. "We're pretty happy with how we're playing at the moment," Holt says. "We're also using it as an opportunity to extend ourselves and augment songs. If somebody makes a mistake then we run with it and it can go off in a new direction and add a new part of a song. Sometimes that gives things a bit of extra life if you're just playing a different show every night, and we're trying to chuck a couple of new tunes in and test them out everywhere we go and get everything ready for the next record while we're doing all this as well, which is good."

The lads will have no troubles traveling together for that length of time. Holt is joined in the band by his brother Tim, and they spent some 18 years living together. Holt also lived with bass player Matt Smedley in share houses for seven or eight years, while Tim Holt is presently flatmates with drummer Dave Springer. So how does the band pass the time on the road?

"Some days you pass it in a van and then you have to get out and play. The Queensland leg of the tour has been good because it's often one o - Drum Media - Mark Neilsen

"Watch This Face"


Page 28 the(sydney)magazine - Sydney Morning Herald.
Issue #26 June 06


Words: Sacha Molitoorisz
Photography: Stephen Baccon

Members of this Sydney four-piece are on the road to the top - and, when they learn their own lyrics, the sky's the limit.

As AC/DC said, it's a long way to the top (if you wanna rock'n'roll). Luckily The Camels are prepared to travel. For their current Australian tour, the Sydney four-piece is driving 11,000 kilometres - and flying many more - to visit Hobart, Margaret River and Brisbane.
The problem is, they keep having mishaps whenever they get behind the wheel. Such as running out of petrol at 3am en route from Wagga Wagga to Adelaide. Or the time drummer Dave Springer first heard a Camels song on the radio. "It was great," says Springer. "Until I crashed my car. I ran straight into the back of this other car, because I was so exicted."
That was in December, 2003. Eighteen months on, The Camels are getting used to airplay. With heavy rotation on Nova, Triple J and FBI, the quartet have climbed from their debut show at the Hopetoun Hotel in 1999 to headlining their current National tour, which runs for months.
The appeal is obvious: The Camels play party music, perfect songs to jump around to after a drink or two. Good-time guitar based rock'n'roll that sirta squarely in the tradition of Aussie pub bands, while blending in the catchy melodies and riffs of bands such as Blink-182.
Their debut album, All You Ever Needed, was produced by Tim Powles, of The Church, and released in May last year. "It worked out really well, " says guitarist and singer Jamie Holt. "Nova were playing The Party's Over and Over When I Met you and Triple J played Summertime.
And when we gave it to FBI," says bassist Matt Smedley, "they played three our four other tracks. So when the record came out, you could look out at the crowd and see who listened to what radio station by which songs they were bopping to."
Holt met Smedley at primary school. He's known his co-guitarist even longer: Tim Holt is his brother. After deciding to form a band, the trio gelled quickly; but finding a drummer proved harder. Most drummers they auditioned were simply too good.
Then they found Springer. "Before these guys got me in, I wasn't a very good musician," says Tim Holt. "And at first we had all these drummers come and go, and I just got intimidated. I thought: 'What am I doing here?' Then Dave came along and I thought: 'This guy's cool, and he's not really good.' That relaxed me." That's one of the band's charms: no po-faced virtuosi, they're more than willing to have a laugh at their own expense.
Holt says he attended his version of rock school by working as a barman at the Hopetoun Hotel. "I saw, on average, 1500 bands a year, for five years," he says.
Now, when not on tour, all four work at Fish Records, a company that's obviously very generous about granting leave. "They're really understanding," says Smedley. "They have a lot of people in bands working for them."
This year, Fish will have to be more understanding than ever: The Camels are averaging one show every three days. They've even obtained an Australian Council grant to tour regional areas.
The band's touring highlights to date include: a headline show at The Gaelic Club in Surry Hills; supporting US Band Cake on their recent Australian tour; and last year's Homebake festival at the Domain. "That was awesome," says Jamie Holt. "All these people knew al the words to our songs. Actually, I was in trouble - all these people came up to me afterwards to tell me I got them wrong."
So apart from learning their own lyrics, what's next for the band?
We're hoping to do another album by the end of the year," Holt says. "That'll be the dark side of The Camels. One or two songs that have been on radio so far have been more of the juvenile variety, but there is stuff we've been writing that has a bit more depth. That may surprise people. But still there's nothing over three minutes. - the(Sydney)magazine - Sydney Morning Herald - Sacha Molitoorisz

"Desert Songs"




What's their scene? The camels have been getting called the new Hoodoo Gurus a lot recently. Guitarist and singer Jamie Holt is apprehensive about it but will ultimately confess he actually doesn't mind too much. After all, each of The Camels have a copy of Stoneage Romeos in their record collection, they did the odd Gurus cover in their earlier days, and their bass player Matt Smedley's amp belonged to a Guru. "We are more fun and pop than the new rock bands that are popping up at the moment," agrees Holt, an audio engineer who recently got the rest of the band into 'bocce', the French version of lawn Bowls. "And we're huge fans of the Guru's."

The Camels have a similar sense of fun. Their Camels By Candlelight hoedown has been packing out the Hopetoun every Christmas these past four years. Their current second single Over When I Met You, splashed all over Triple J, goes: "I hated your weird parents/ and I wish I'd never bought you birthday presents/ 'Cos we broke up before I got mine." Another live highlight, Black Belt, recalls when Jamie and his younger brother Tim were dating girls who were studying martial arts. "It's about being beaten up by your girlfriend," sighs Holt.

The Camels have been making waves this year, scoring opening slots on tours by Grinspoon, Jet and the Gurus and widening their audiences. They also showcased at Australian Music Week and drew some admiring comments, played at the after-party of Jack Black's School Of Rock movie, and at a VIP party hosted for a surf championship by Tracks magazine. Their just-released debut album All You Ever Needed has grand pop-rock stylings cranked out with the gusto of awestruck teenagers, with that classic guitar interplay they learned from Stones and AC/DC records. They break this up with some odd-bod noodling or using crappy organs like the Lincoln Chordmaster.

Lyrically they stick to teen anthems, like first dates (Once There Was A Boy), love at first sight (First Kiss), love at second sight (Little Black Haired Girl) and the inevitable split ups (The Party's Over, Disgusting). There are also lo-fi navel gazing over pets dying, but this is on Goodbye and not Puppydog which started out about giving up smoking and drinking but evolved into something about bondage and discipline. (The elder Holt studied Philosophy at university and went through a period of wearing only black for five years, so we must assume he's somewhat deep).

The Camels essentially began when Holt taught himself to play guitar at 14, and then taught his best mate Matt Smedley. "It was actually the Masters Apprentices who initially inspired us," Holt talks about the legendary band that broke up in 1972. "We heard their 'greatest hits' album and loved songs like Undecided and Turn Up Your Radio. Matt and I played together in a few things that didn't go anywhere. Then I wrote a whole bunch of songs that were a lot more fun, and they took off on in a different direction.

"By this stage Tim, he's my younger brother by dive years, had become old enough to start hanging out in bars so we signed him on." Drummer Dave Springer was, according to their record company blog, a junior ten-pin bowling champion, and is the only one in the band to have a car. Do they see themselves as part of the Sydney guitar brigade? "There's a bunch of bands we play with a fair bit, Starky, Peabody, the Hoey bands I guess. We hang out a bit, usually end up drinking in the same bars at the end of the night."

If they had to start a feud with another Sydney band for publicity's sake, who would it be? "I'd go for someone that we get on really well with, and pretend."

Hang on, didn't the song Good Life start out as Fuck The Vines? Apparently it did. "There was a review in a Sydney paper which went, 'Fuck the Vines, the Camels are the Future of rock'. It was written by a reviewer who was quite a fan of the band, so we didn't take it too seriously. But, yes, the song did start off as 'Fuck The Vines'."

"All You Ever Needed - Album Review"

All You Ever Needed - Album Review

Beat Magazine, Melbourne
14 June 2004

By Mary Boukouvalas

THE CAMELS All You Ever Needed is exactly that! I guarantee that you will not want to take the debut album from this unique Sydney band out of your CD player and, with all its songs full of honesty and subtle Aussie sense of humour concerning girls, love and break-ups, there's no way you will tire of these catchy 13 tracks.

Man, this band are on fire! The Camels are Jamie Holt and Tim Holt on vocals and guitars, Matt Smedley on bass and Dave Springer on drums. They play rockin' guitar power pop, with a trace of grunge, especially in the title track All You Ever Needed. There's something so damn exciting about an angsty-scream. Pure sexually charged rock.

There are traces of the greats in these songs, from Weezer to Pixies to AC/DC. The Vines even meet Jet in The Good Life. The Party's Over is catchy pop, and Puppydog is tongue-in-cheek funniness with a great beat and intense, gravelly vocals. Sense of humour is not all The Camels have. These boys certainly know how to woo the girls in First Kiss and Summertime. Summertime is when I look into your eyes, I dont even need to go outside when I've got you ... and every time I see you I'm in paradise

The punk pop Over When I Met You is legendary stuff. With fantastic rocking guitars and powerful drums and fantastic angst-driven lyrics. When Holt sings: You fucked my life up now I'm trying to forget you I wish I'd never bought you birthday presents, cause we broke up before I got mine I've been wasting all my time I can't help but sing along, positive that I used to go out with this guys ex-girlfriends twin brother.

The Camels send you on a climatic journey; ending on a softer note with Superman, giving you enough time for that one cigarette before the CD players repeat function does its best.

All You Ever Needed is unique indie pop/rock at its best. With The Camels dashes of sarcasm and splatterings of raw sexuality, you wont need anything else, not even underwear. - Beat Magazine, Melb - By Mary Boukouvalas

"You've Gotta Ask Yourself - You Feelin' Lucky"

You've Gotta Ask Yourself - You Feelin' Lucky?

The Drum Media 10-16 August
Indie Touring

Words by David Olivetti

When two young indie bands go on tour you don't know what will happen. It dosen't matter how many times you've been out on the road no amount of planning can prepare you for the unepected. But Intercooler spokesperson and bass player Joel Potter reckons he's got it sussed. You just head out on that long strip of highway that runs along the East Coast in the knowledge that whatever happens will make for a better show. "Once the insanity kicks in that's when the tour starts going good," Potter laughs. The Camels' singer/guitarist Jamie Holt agrees, "[Especially] when you haven't slept for a couple of days."

Holt's band, The Camels were born to play live. He reckons the greatest part of touring is that you get to stand up and play in front of people every night, and once you've been on the road for a while with a few shows under your belt, the songs really start to sound strong. Where did he get this ethic? "From when I was five years old. I've listened to this Beach Boys live album," he recalls fondly. "They were all off their heads and basically played the Pet Sounds album 10 beats per minute faster and there's screaming all the way through it. That's where my attitude toward The Camels comes from. [Something] that's high energy and a bit crazy and frenetic."

Potter Agrees that independant bands merging pop with a rollicking live energy is an attitude worth celebrating. So it was that who months ago The Camels raised their schooner glasses to Intercooler's fine idea of co-headlining a tour across the East Coast of Australia. I mean, if you're on a good idea sometimes you've got to do it yourself. And that do-it-yourself attitude has been with both bands since they began in 2001.

Statistically they've had their share of triumph. Intercooler recently underwent two successful tours of the US (which saw them play with Queens Of The Stone Age) while, in Australia they've supported Teenage Fanclub and the Casanovas. Meanwhile, the Camels' enthusiastic live performances have attracted the attention of headlining and knowledgeable folk like Grinspoon and Rocket Science.

Line-up wise it's even as well; eight young men divided evenly in two, with only the one line-up change between them (Intercooler's original guitarist Michael Caso left the band recently for personal reasons). The Camels from Sydney, are brothers Jamie and Tim Holt (vocals/guitar), Matt Smedley (bass) and Dave Springer (drums). Intercooler, from Brisbane consists of Potter alongside Phil Ballantyne (vocals/guitar), Damon Cox (drums/vocals) and Darek Mudge (guitar).

The Camels' latest album, All You Ever Needed is a classic blend of 60's garage-pop sensibility and sunny, upbeat lyricism. They site the Master's Apprentices as an influence and producer Tim Powles (The Church) as sustaining the garage energy throughout the tracks. Meanwhile in Intercooler's Old School is the New School is a charming affair between twin-guitar attack and distinct melodies, with their new single "Cream Puff" hitting the air-waves around the country this week. Both albums are comparable to the likes of You Am and the Hoodoo Gurus; a genre which ultimately puts them in the same camp as hyper 60's Australian acts like The Easybeats.

Audiences have been drawn to their exciteable live shows, however both bands realised that you can play as much as you want, but you need to have something down on tape for people to take you seriously. Holt admits that being an indie band you do enjoy a creative luxury to do whatever you want, when you want. But often you have to juggle real-life commitments like full-time jobs and that inevitable factor, money. In The Camels' case they were always going to release an album. It was just a matter of when.

"We deliberately went out and made our own record. We took our time doing it, making the record we wanted to make," states Holt. "We did talk to people [record companies]. But I'm wary of major labels in Australia because they are volatile and subject to massive [staff] shake-ups due to changes in the overseas market. You can have the whole record companies dissapear overnight."

Potter's timely interjection reminds us that indie labels, too, are subject to dodgy business practices. But the point, Holt says, is this: "If you can do it yourself, that's something to be proud of. Then you're in a stronger position to negotiate with anyone you're talking to. You can set yourself up for whatever you want to do." And for The Camels, and Intercooler as well, it's music that's entertaining, a little bit crazy, and a whole lot of fun. - Drum Media, Inpress, Rave Magazine - By David Olivetti

"Assorted Snippets from Album Reviews"

Rolling Stone
"Life's all fun in the sun for this guitar-based Sydney four-piece . . . honest and entertaining. What more could you ask for?"

TV Hits – Album of the Week (June 26th – July 2nd)
“This album has all the right ingredients – toe – tapping melodies, singalong lyrics and just enough fanging guitars to be cool. This Sydney band has been getting a lot of airplay of late, and deservedly so. These boys are destined for big things. File under: One to Watch!”

Daily Telegraph
“Their debut album, All You Ever Needed, is filled with highly infectious pop-rock songs about girls, love and dogs. This is an album to pop into your car stereo and rock out to at traffic lights.”

Grok Magazine – Curtain University (WA)
“A truly great debut for the Aussie group The Camels, All You Ever Needed is full of infectious indie-rock melodies and will have you bopping along in no time. The Camels popularity has been increasing constantly since the November release of their “Party’s Over/Summertime” single. The Camels are destined for great things. All you ever needed won’t be leaving my CD player for a while.”

- Rolling Stone Australia, TV Hits, Daily Tele, Grok Magazine


June 2004 - All You Ever Needed

November 2005 - On Top Of The World
February 2005 - Summertime Regal Remix
March 2004 - Over When I Met You
October 2003 - The Party's Over


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Camels were born in Sydney, Australia in the year 1999, when brothers Jamie & Tim and their good mate Matt found Dave, the man to fit the profile needed to round out the band. He had a car. A few years were spent doing the rounds in the Sydney pub circuit, constantly rehearsing, drinking lots of beer together & refining the camel sound before recording their debut album with Tim Powles (The Church). Things started to hot up when they started scoring high profile support for the likes of Jet & Electric Six. With national radio network Triple J putting four tracks from their 2004 debut “All You Ever Needed” on high rotation, it was time for The Camels to tell their boss that they wouldn’t be coming to work tomorrow, or the next day, or ever again. A few support slots on national tours with Aussie favourites Grinspoon & Spiderbait gave the boys a chance to work out who sits in the front and who sits in the back of the van, before they rounded out the year with a spot on the annual Homebake festival in Sydney & playing to a packed tent of Camelmaniacs.

2005 sent the boys all over the country on “The Camels’ Coastal Surfari”, presented by Quiksilver & Triple J. They played over 60 headline shows in just 4 months and built up a healthy national following along the way. When they hit the covers of the street press in Sydney & Adelaide, the crowds swelled. Soon The Camels were having trouble keeping their I’VE BEEN A BAD BAD PUPPYDOG t-shirts in stock from one gig to the next. Trying times such as running out of fuel driving through the desert in the middle of the night were easily forgotten behind highlights of playing support for their international heroes Cake & local heroes The Hoodoo Gurus.

The dust hadn’t even settled behind the tarago before The Camels were demoing new songs. In September 2005, the boys returned to the studio – this time with Lindsay Gravina (The Living End, Magic Dirt, Faker). With a hot new single on the way to radio, The Camels were then commissioned to provide songs for a documentary soundtrack & returned for another session with Gravina. Their new single ‘On Top Of The World’, a tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary, caught the attention of the Australian Himalayan Society and Jamie & Tim performed the song for an audience including Peter Hillary, Ed’s son. The song also has seen The Camels pick up their first radio play outside Australia, with addition to some New Zealand radio stations. They rounded off a hectic year with the sixth annual “Camels By Candlelight”, a crazy Christmas extravaganza that was a sell out before the doors even opened.

Currently the boys are working towards their follow up album and are enjoying drinking lots of beer together again as they write new stuff for all the Camelmaniacs out there.