Indie Mixtape 20: Blush Cameron Explores The Discipline Of Pop Songs

Fiona Woodman

If you’ve read any of our year-end indie coverage of the last couple of years, you’ve probably seen a mention of a band called COMPs. Most recently, we included COMPs’ album Life As A Baller on our 10 Must-Hear Punk Albums From 2018 list, where I called it “a lo-fi punk masterpiece that will satisfy the needs of any music fan that falls along the spectrum between Alex G and The Cure.”

I have seen the band numerous times in basements throughout the Midwest, and now they’ve made the move to Philadelphia, befriending indie darlings Strange Ranger and writing their best music to date. In the year and a half since the release of Life As A Baller, COMPs became Blush Cameron, and we’re happy to be sharing the first single from their new record Ambiguous World.

To celebrate the new record, Blush Cameron sat down to talk talks Rambo, cheap tacos, and the ideal sponsorship in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.

What are four words you would use to describe your music?

Passable lofi power pop.

It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?

When I was younger I always idolized bands that were obscure while they were active but grew fanbases posthumously. Stuff like Saetia, Duster, etc. I liked the idea of posting music online and then having a kid randomly come across it while scouring the internet and being one of six fans. So I don’t know, I’d be happy if one person remembered me as an okay song maker.

What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?

Can I pick three? Grands Rapids, Akron, Brooklyn.

Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?

It’s really hard to pick just one. Right now I’m going to say Angus Andrew/Aaron Hemphill from Liars. I found They Threw Us All In A Trench… randomly in an FYE when I was 13. The album art jumped out to me and so I bought it. That purchase played a huge part in shaping my view on music and art in general. Since then I’ve followed their whole career and it’s been a consistent source of inspiration. The way they dedicate themselves to a concept, always challenging themselves and their listeners, it’s awesome. I’ve read/listened to every interview they’ve done. They rule.

Where did you eat the best meal of your life?

This is a hard question. I’m going to say the $3 taco truck outside of Jones Beach in Brooklyn. Blissful.

What album do you know every word to?

I probably knew every word to Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City at one point. I could probably get at least like a 75% on Digital Ash In A Digital Urn by Bright Eyes. My brain is deteriorating.

What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?

Envy, Trash Talk, Touche Amore in Detroit in 2010. Or any Brave Bird show.

What is the best outfit for performing and why?

Probably pants and a shirt. Depends on the temperature. Maybe shorts. Actually, we’re working on getting a cohesive look together as a band right now. We’re aiming for an Addams Family x Urban Outfitters vibe. Would be awesome to get an Urban Outfitters sponsorship or even if they just played my song in their store sometime.

Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?

I like @oldfriend99 on Twitter. Then there’s this crazy account on Instagram called @strange_ranger_ I can’t believe they get away with some of the stuff they post. Just a heads up, it’s entirely NSFW.

What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?

“I Don’t Want to Wait” by Paula Cole.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

Most of the past few things I’ve googled were spellchecks. Beyond that I googled “Hollow Knight.”

What album makes for the perfect gift?

I’ve been sending Bird’s Tradition by Comeback My Daughters to friends for at least five years now. It was sent to me by my friend Taka way back and I still listen and send it to people pretty regularly.

Do you have a favorite hotel you enjoy staying at when you tour?

I wish I could stay at a hotel with a pool so I can relax and swim around. I haven’t gone for a swim all summer. One time we stayed at a motel and live streamed a room tour. Then my bandmates smoked weed behind a tree and I watched.

What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?

My favorite tattoo is a ribbon on my wrist, or a bird on my arm. I got them because I thought they looked cool. All my tattoos are hand-poked from my friend Brennan. He makes really cool art if anyone wants to follow him.

What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?

Tears for Fears, Cyndi Lauper. Anytime there’s a good song on the radio I won’t change it. Good songs are great to listen to.

What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?

Maybe the time when my friend Dean bought me the official Chrono Cross strategy guide for no reason. Maybe it was for my birthday? Or when my friend Terri bought me Monster Hunter: World on its release. Not that you have to buy me something to be nice. It’s just that those games mean a lot to me.

What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?

Writing crazy progressive songs doesn’t automatically earn you respect. Be honest with what you want. I think this happens a lot with younger artists. They purposely do things to wall off access to their work yet deep down they want people to listen. Then they get frustrated that no one is paying attention. They undervalue pop music and put too much value on non-traditional songwriting and experimentation. Those things are great too, but they aren’t inherently better than pop music.

I thought writing progressive songs was inherently more commendable than simple pop songs, but what I didn’t realize is it takes discipline to write those simple pop songs, to boil things down to their best elements, and that can be just as rewarding. I wish someone would have told me these things. I wish someone would have pushed me to try writing songs that other people can enjoy rather than writing songs to serve my ego.

What’s the last show you went to?

I think it was my friend Johanna Baumann’s show at Ortliebs here in Philly. Or the Highnoon release show at Baby Gap, also in Philly.

What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?

Rambo: First Blood.

What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?

Tacos. Or scrambled eggs. I could make him breakfast for dinner. I think he’d like that.

Ambiguous World is out October 11 on Flesh & Bone Records. Pre-order it here.