Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with Boston’s Cameron Lane. Together we discussed North Carolina, their songwriting process, their two cats, their album “Creature”, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them. How are you doing today?
Thanks for having me! 😀 I’m good!! I’m writing back to you from a library right now and it feels very productive haha
2. You welcome listeners to your brain on your bandcamp profile. What is your favorite greeting?
Right now I think “howdy”, my sister got me on a cowboy kick this past summer.
3. Are all humans handmade from a bed in North Carolina? Where do you recommend humans check out in North Carolina?
Yeah every one. North Carolina has some cool spots!! I always tell people it’s the type of place you’d go to raise your proverbial kids. Personal favorites are Hanging Rock and Mayo River. Brevard is absolutely beautiful as well, it has spots like Hooker Falls where you can swim and climb behind waterfalls. I miss home/the outdoors so much when I’m in the city :’)
4. What song (or album) had an impact on you?
Oh my gosh so many! I’m gonna go back to my roots for this one and say “Red” by Taylor Swift. What a freaking moment in history. I got a copy on CD and tour tickets (my first concert ever!) for my 10th birthday and it literally changed my life. I would spend hours a day in my room listening to the songs over and over again on a Hello Kitty CD player, feeling this utter devastation and elation and nostalgia for situations and relationships I had never experienced. My tiny mind was blown. I had to know all the quiz bowl trivia, all the lyrics to every song, all the secrets hidden in the liner notes. I made music videos and cover videos of those songs with my friends and forced my whole 4th grade class to watch them. I wrote essays about her! I can’t ever seem to pinpoint an exact shift for when I decided to pursue music myself, but this definitely solidified it. I wanted to create anything that felt so all-consuming.
5. You’ve been writing songs for about 10 years. Do you remember the first song you wrote? How have you grown as a songwriter since starting?
Hahhh yes I do remember my first song! Or at least I remember a really early one; it was called “Flame” and I wrote it in Microsoft Word and then printed out the lyrics to perform for my parents. It was kind of a mish mash of all the breakup song tropes I’d heard up until that point. I think my actual first ever song was based on some poetry I wrote in my diary in 3rd grade (I remember being on the playground when I wrote it, by my favorite tree, which was my favorite because I was convinced it had fairies living in it) but I don’t remember the words or the tune unfortunately!
6. Music Shelf has been grateful to interview artists such as yourself from Berklee College. What are you studying? What is your experience like so far?
I’m an Independent Recording and Production major (IRP)!! So far I really like it here. It’s definitely been overwhelming at times but I’ve gotten to meet so many lovely people and have such ridiculously cool experiences it makes it all worth it. That’s a big part of the draw of Berklee for most people I think; just the location and connections. Hate calling them “connections” LOL that feels so pretentious. But every single one of my friends or even just anyone I know peripherally is so so talented, I can’t wait to see where everyone is headed, and it’s comforting knowing there will eventually be people I know spread out all over the world. Honestly last year I was super unconvinced on the actual school part of Berklee but getting into my major I’m starting to appreciate it a lot more. I’m just really excited to nerd out about production for the next few years I think it’ll be fun 🙂
7. Who are some of your favorite songwriters?
Samia!!! Forever and always I adore her writing it feels like a hug from a friend you haven’t seen in ages. Lately I’ve also been really into Snail Mail and illuminati hotties’ writing; both of them are so deeply creative and emotive in everything they say.
8. Who (or what) influences you?
Most days I’m influenced by what I listen to, as uninteresting as that is. I find that any artist I’m obsessed with at any point will invariably make their way into the music I write. I start thinking “man I wish I wrote this” and then a couple weeks later find I’m unconsciously emulating them haha. I’m also always so inspired by watching people perform! House shows especially are so energizing, I always leave feeling like I could make something. On a smaller level I’m influenced a lot by conversations with people; I have a folder in my notes app of phrases I’ve either heard from someone else or come up with while mulling over words in my brain. I find unusual turns of phrase or non-standard uses of common thoughts/sayings really cool!
9. You’re the proud aunt of two tiny cats. What was it like collaborating with your cat? Will there any be future collaborations?
Slater is a wonderful collaborator. Francis steps on my computer until it shuts down. There will be no future collaborations. (For real though they are both huge music fans and it’s adorable. Having them around is great for my brain)
10. You have posted a lot of covers on YouTube. Do you have a favorite? How do you decide what to cover?
My favorite one right now is the “Cool Dry Place” cover!! It was really fun experimenting with the different sounds my pedals can make and there’s this sick guitar line in the 2nd and 3rd choruses I go back to all the time. I don’t really plan my covers at all, they just happen whenever I learn any given song and then can’t stop playing it for a few days. I usually sit down to just record an acoustic video and then start thinking how cool drums would sound on it and then all of a sudden it’s a whole thing and it’s taken the whole day to make. I work great with that process though! Gotta catch the ideas when they’re fresh 🙂
10. In 2019 you released “Make Me New” in which you asked to be folded over and made new. What was the inspiration behind this single?
I wrote “Make Me New” at summer camp! Just was frustrated with life and who I was and felt like I wanted to start over and be a newer, more pleasant version of myself. Someone who could wake up at 8am and go for a jog or something. A lot of the lyrics kind of dance around that subject noncommittally, I was definitely still trying to find my sound when I wrote it and was more focused on the sound/feeling than the content! I still appreciate it a lot for what it was, just happy to have grown some since it came out 🙂
11. Valentine’s Day is a human holiday where you celebrate your loved ones. Did you share your song “Stupid Happy” with your special human? What is your favorite thing about Valentine’s Day?
HAH yes “Stupid Happy” was about/a gift for my partner at the time. I have a really hard time writing love songs because they always feel very trite and embarrassing to me but I still love this one. I really got the feeling right I think. Trying to internalize even now that love and happiness are not embarrassing to feel and talk about! My favorite thing about Valentine’s Day is making dumb cards for all my friends and seeing people do cute things for their partners.
12. Last July you released “Creature” which features songs about high school. Are these songs based on your time there?
Oh absolutely. High school was rough, man. This is in no way a unique experience haha but I had a really hard time for a lot of that period, struggling with making friends and feeling secure and confident about who I was. I still very much struggle with this but I like to think I’ve learned to deal with it a little better. Music is an absolute lifesaver because it allows me to communicate retroactively with people I never got closure with, or who I felt really loud feelings about, in a healthy, non-confrontational way. What’s done is done, but writing about how I felt/am feeling just helps me process. As much as I wish I could go back and have a do-over sometimes I would never, ever be 14 again.
13. Mustard has observed some humans consider themselves a creature. Was this the inspiration behind the title? Could you elaborate more on the title “Creature?”
That title is my proudest moment. As soon as I wrote/titled Creature the song I knew it would be the hallmark of a larger project. It just absolutely nails how I was feeling at the time and it’s been really funny seeing “creature” being used more and more by people as a self-descriptive word. Honestly when I wrote the song I didn’t really know that was a thing yet! I was just finally beyond a situation that had made me feel like absolute garbage and getting to the point where I could look at it and make fun of it all (including the way I acted throughout). I was looking for a monster to turn myself into to complete the metaphor and the whole chorus just plopped out of me. A magical moment. That kind of thing really doesn’t happen to me often, I’m a very slow writer! But as soon as I heard it I just knew it was perfect. It was the biggest relief after I hadn’t up until that point been able to write anything at all about the situation; everything had always just felt too pitiful. But my favorite part of Creature is the duality of it, how calling yourself a creature can be self-deprecating as well as really confident and defiant— something to own wholeheartedly. I can be a creature in that I am made of sludge and sapping everyone’s energy and generally being a destructive nuisance. But I can also be a creature in the way that I’m something unique and lovely and crafted by all of my idiosyncracies. Something very human and distinctly inhuman, made up of equal parts disgusting and beautiful. Beyond just being a project about my mid-teens and coming of age, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Creature because it was the first time I really began examining and coming to terms with the relationship between my best traits and my flaws, and how both of those affected my world and my relationships up until the point I graduated high school and moved on from that era of my life. Sorry for the essay LOL I could talk about lyrical analysis for actual days!
14. What’s next for Cameron Lane?
Well I just put out my first post-Creature release, a song called Backseat! I’m absolutely ecstatic to be releasing music again after pretty much a year and a half of radio silence on that front. I’ve got a couple other singles coming soon that I’m equally excited for— all of this new stuff feels like Creature’s more sure-footed companion. Still writing songs about being embarrassed and deeply flawed haha. The two pillar emotions. But I’m so proud of everything yet to come and I can’t wait for you to hear it 🙂
15. Where can readers listen to your music?
I’m on all streaming platforms plus Bandcamp and YouTube! All my links and everything are on my website https://www.cameronlanemusic.com. Thanks so much for hanging out, hopefully I’ll see you soon 🙂