Camden Cox is, quite literally, all the rave. Born in the Midlands to a drummer father and a Drum & Base promoter mother, a career in music may as well have been written in the stars. The singer, songwriter and most recently, DJ, is making waves in the dance music industry, perfecting her sound to produce (and perform) tracks hotter than her pink locks. Camden Cox talks to 5ELEVEN about her inspirations, aspirations, her new single Oblivion, and everything in between.
Words by Charlotte O’Neill.
Tell me a little about your upbringing and how it led you to pursue a career in music. Do you come from a musical family?
I’m from a little town near Birmingham in the Midlands. My dad used to drum in bands so I would go and watch his shows, and my mum used to be a Drum & Base promoter! So, I spent a lot of time around music and very quickly got into the rave scene as a teenager. Birmingham has some awesome warehouse parties.
You were singing and songwriting long before you went down the DJing route. What made you take this leap and how long did it take for you to find your own unique sound?
I was always asking DJs to play my songs, or songs I’ve written, so it occurred to me that with such a growing collection of dance tunes, why not play them all out myself? It’s so fun being able to do that now.
You’ve had an incredibly busy (and successful year!) Can you tell me a little bit about your new music coming out and the inspiration behind it?
I have loads of new songs coming out this year, both collabs and solo singles! I’m really going to hammer the tunes out this year because I’ve been focusing on getting my sound perfected, and I think it’s ready to be heard! My label and I have been getting prepped for 2023 so I’m really excited. The DJing has been a massive inspiration for me, as I’ve been able to test out tunes and see how they react in a club environment.
They say that the music from our teens stays with us forever. There’s apparently actual evidence that structural elements of music get physically tied to our memories. What was that music for you? When you go back and listen to it, are you like, yes, THIS is whoI am?
Absolutely! Mine was Drum & Base and Trance music. I used to collect compilation CDs and have them on repeat. I’ve been told a lot that you can hear those nostalgic early 2000’s melodies in my writing, which I’m totally here for!
Who are your musical inspirations currently?
I love Robyn, Camelphat, Fred Again, ToveLo, Kx5, Bicep, and Tinlicker to name a few!
To you, what is the most special thing about dance music?
I love the culture. It’s like a big family. Dance music also has the ability to cater to your current feelings, whether you’re feeling emotional or super happy. It’s like therapy.
What would you say has been the biggest ‘pinch me’ moment so far in your career?
When I played The Capital Weekender with Diplo, James Hype and Mistajam! Unreal.
As an artist, do you feel the pressures of being a ‘creator’ on social media or are you able to actually enjoy it and have fun with Instagram and TikTok still?
It’s a bit of both… Sometimes I really enjoy it but other times I just want to make tunes and then switch off. There’s definitely a pressure to keep your fans happy and stay ‘relevant’ online. There’s a fear of being out of sight, out of mind if you take too much time away from it. It’s all about finding the perfect balance.
The music video for ‘Elevated’ is really dreamy and trance-like. Watching it you can almost feel that fuzziness of being a couple drinks in at a club. How important is it to have control over your music’s visuals?
So important! It’s what really tells the story behind the songwriting. A lot of people don’t listen to lyrics, they just feel the music. So if you can tell the story through visuals as well, it’s hopefully going to resonate with more people!
If you could pick any musician to collaborate with, dead or alive, who would it be?
Roisin Murphy from Moloko. She’s just an absolute icon.
I want to talk about fashion’s role in music. I think you have such cool style. You’re not one to shy away from a strong look and you are no stranger to a fashion week show. How would you describe your style, and do you have any style icons?
I love my fashion. I adore experimenting with patterns and colours. I like bold statements and a clashing of textures. I guess I’d describe it to be a little out of the ordinary! Clothes are for having fun with and the options are endless. My biggest style icon is Vivienne Westwood.
When you’re dressing for shows, do your outfits provide a sense of armour between performer Camden and day to day Camden, or are the lines (and wardrobes) blurred?
I would say they’re blurred! I don’t think there’s anything I’ve worn for a show that I wouldn’t rock up to a studio session n. I’m pretty much always wearing some sort of bright colour or a bit of sparkle.
There’s that age old saying, love what you do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. Has there been a point in the last couple years where your career HAS felt like a job, or have you been good at maintaining the same level of passion and patience?
It’s never felt like a job, which I feel so lucky to be able to say. There’s nothing in this world I’d rather do. I have no choice but to keep it exciting and keep pushing for it to get better and better. Every day is different and I love it.
Do you get writer’s block when it comes to songwriting? How do you get past it ?
Sometimes. I think we all do! Personally, I find the best way to get past it is to stop trying for a minute. Go away for a few days, hang with family and friends, and don’t force it. Forced creativity only leads to half decent results. It’s better to keep the quality over quantity.
What’s your writing process like?
Usually I vibe to ready made beats and instrumentals. I love switching on the mic and freestyling a load of melodies. Sometimes they just write themselves! It’s usually the first take that’s the best so I just roll with it.
Sometimes the biggest learnings happen from the failures. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from a situation in your career that didn’t go as planned?
I was signed to a big label in 2014 and then dropped within 3 months. The label went bust so even though it was out of my control, I let it get to me for a minute thinking it was ‘a sign.’ But I picked myself up and told myself that it just wasn’t the right time for me. I kept going and it took years to get signed again! It just shows that persistence and self belief is key.
What are some future goals or dreams as a musical artist or creative that you’d love to tick off next? Whether it’s something like headlining a specific arena or working with a certain artist…anything!
To do my own tour would be incredible!
What excites you about the music industry right now?
The females coming through. There are so many exciting new artists teaming up to do all-female collabs and support each other. I have a few in the pipeline myself and it’s super refreshing!
What’s next for you?
Expect lots of new music this year, I’ll be rolling it out! I’m also playing EDC Vegas in May which is a bucket list moment for me.