An Interview With Tim & Cameron Of 28 Boulevard: “If we didn’t do it we’d kick ourselves afterwards”

28 Boulevard Promo Photo

This week I sat down with Tim Lloyd-Kinngs and Cameron Gipp of Cambridge based 28 Boulevard ahead of their gig at the Cornerhouse in Cambridge. One of four bands on the bill for The Monday Rock Hour Presents show. These guys are two very charismatic characters who are full of laughter!

Who’s in the band?
Cameron: Tim, he’s the singer and lead guitarist. Nicknamed Timmy lyrics by himself.
Tim: You have to bare in mind I gave myself that name when I was three.
Cameron: Yeah he wrote his best hit when he was three, he’s still chasing that fame! Got Lewis Moon, that bassist, Michael Smith who’s the drummer, Tim’s brother Lewis, who’s the lead guitar and I’m the other lead guitarist. When Lewis is back we both do it, when he’s at uni I try to do both parts; trying being the main word.

How did the band get together?
Tim: It’s quite a weird one because me and Mike, the drummer, we’ve being doing stuff musically together since we were 14, maybe. Incrementally picked up people; the band as it is, is about 2 years. Really beforehand we weren’t anything proper, we were a school band who played a couple of school shows and did some covers. Then we decided to take it more seriously and brought Cameron in.
Cameron: I was actually in another band beforehand, since I was 13. When Lewis, Tim’s brother, went off to university they were looking for another guitarist. So I was like, that’s cool I’ll do that. At a Junction gig I went up to them and just hit it off.
Tim: He came up to us to talk while he was with his current band.
Cameron: Yeah they were stood behind me as I said, yeah I’d love to join! Yeah we broke up soon after…

Why 28 Boulevard?
Cameron: Before I joined they were already called 28 Boulevard, I asked the same question. There’s a poster in ‘The Hut’, basically a building at the end of Tim’s garden where we practice. It’s nice in there, it’s not a shed. There’s an old french gramophone poster it just says 28 Boulevard on it. They were doing a gig and needed a name.
Tim: Yeah, it was very early days and we were practicing. We’d come up to one of our first ever gigs and one of the main issues that came came up is that to do a gig you needed a name. So we’ve seen that every day, it’s quite cool. We just thought it kinda worked.
Cameron: I didn’t have any say in it. I wouldn’t change it, it’s got to be 28 Boulevard

What’s the writing process as a band?
Cameron: We’re quite lucky that we’ve all got an interest in recording music so for the first couple of singles before me, they went to a studio. Since we all finished college, we did all did music tech courses and bought ourselves some gear. Michael set up a little studio in his bedroom, so every time we want to release something we can just go over to Michael’s house and in day knock out a track. We can pick and choose how we want to do it. We’re lucky in that aspect. I’m looking at Tim to finish the sentence
Tim: It’s good. I think it works really well, the fact that we have our own studio it means we’re not time pressured or money pressured, cause it’s free and we can actually work at it. It’s one of my favourite things about being in a band, writing as a band. I love gigging but being able to be in a room for ages trying out different parts and seeing how they work. Put the puzzle together as it were.
Cameron: We’re able to craft a sound that we want as well. We’re pretty lo-fi, everyone would agree; we can tailor that. Michael spends ages with all his programmes to get it right; we couldn’t ask that of anyone else.
Tim: It changes up though, I quite often write something that’s just chords in a rough guide track in Logic, a music software, but I don’t really know how to use it so it comes out rough and ready. I do that, and everyone will add parts. Lewis does the same.
Cameron: I come in and tell Tim that I’ve got this cool riff and we’ll jam for a little bit. Tim will put some chords to it and then I’ll come back and it’ll be a completed song. That’s not a bad thing! I like that.
Tim: One of us will come with the bare bones. We’ll work it up together. A lot of it can be how it’s done, for example I’ll come with an acoustic guitar or an electrical guitar and they’ll say maybe you should put a bit of distortion, make a bit heavy or strip that back a bit.

Have you found your sound?
Cameron: We’ve tailored a sound over the last couple of EP’s. We’ve gone for a DIY, fuzzy, indie rock scene. It’s changing a lot. We’re currently sat on an EP we’re ready to release soonish, which I think is our best sound to date. Tim’s got some rough drafts for the next EP which is still evolving. We haven’t found a sound and say, that’s it.
Tim: It changes up quite a lot but it stays the same because the same people are writing it so you get the same kind of mind sets. Quite often you want to explore different ideas, for example the next one, a song we’ve written recently, it’s not going to be on the next batch but the batch after, which is a bit synth pop potentially. It’s fun to change up and do different things.
Cameron: It goes back to how we write songs because Tim’s written this synth pop but we don’t have a synth player! It’ll probably end up being a guitar riff.
Tim: Depending on the time, what’s happening to you and what bands you’re in to, you write differently. It goes through the band prism; the light goes in and it comes out sounding like it’s the same band.
Cameron: That’s deep!
Tim: You don’t want it sounding completely different because it’s pointless.
Cameron: Yeah, you want people to say, oh yeah that’s that Cambridge band, 28 Boulevard, I hate those guys!

Are there bands that you can hear influences of in your music?
Cameron: Yeah, we all have massively different music tastes. Quite a wide variety.
Tim: Me, you and Lewis are okay.
Cameron: Us three, are quite similar, we like the same stuff. You got Lewis Moon who likes his pop-punk and into Blink. Mike, we’ll leave him out of it!
Tim: No no, he likes good music. It’s useful because he likes a lot of mainstream music.
Cameron: He brings us down to Earth as we’ve got some crazy ideas.
Tim: He makes sure we’ve got a vague hook that you can sing.
Cameron: Main influences are Bloc Party and now it’s evolved to Pavement-ish, Weezer-ish, kind of fuzzy influences from Yuck.
Tim: It changes quite a lot. A lot moment I’ve say one of my main influences it quite a small band called Wolf Alice, I’m just really into them at the moment.
Cameron: It’s kinda fuzzy and off beat, then we put our own twist on it.

Which bands’ fans would be fans of yours?
Cameron: I’d say its quite a long list because we take influences from a load of people. If you like Yuck, you’d like some of the guitar lines.
Tim: It’s difficult. I remember one of the reviews for our song, Oh Hello, they said ‘When I first heard this I thought oh wow that’s weird. Gave it a second listen and said yeah I quite like this.’ He said it was like nothing he’s ever heard.
Cameron: One person said 28 Boulevard is a love child between…
Tim: Blur and something weird. Combination of Fall Out Boy and Pavement
Cameron: I don’t get that…
Tim: Well if you’re fans of Fall Out Boy and Pavement, give us a listen and see what you think!
Cameron: You may like us, you never know.

From practice room to stage, how does it feel?
Cameron: Gigging is probably my favourite part of it. I know Tim likes the writing because he writes more than I do. The feeling you when people are actually listening. We were lucky enough to get in the bill at the Junction a couple of months ago when a couple of bands had sold out all their tickets. That was crazy, just people listening; when you clap and they clap back. Seeing people actually enjoying it as well, it’s kinda nice. You walk off stage buzzing like mad!
Tim: It’s different. Recording is quite considered; calculating how everything works together. Where as it’s pure energy and an adrenaline rush on stage; completely different feeling but equally as good.
Cameron: The crowd makes a massive difference. You can play the tiniest venue, but there are four of five people who absolutely love it, it could be one of the best gigs. If you get a hundred people standing around looking bored, you’re gonna hate it.

Have you ever come off stage and thought that it was a really bad show?
Tim: There’s been times. We actually are quite lucky that we know people who can film gigs. Well when I say we know people, I mean my parents.
Cameron: We got hooked.
Tim: We record our gigs and watch it back to see what it was like. The thing we tend to get, even when you think it’s gone wrong and you get down because you’ve made a lot of mistake but when you watch it back, you struggle to see your own mistakes. Some bands will think it’s a terrible set but you think it was really good.
Cameron: It’s a personal thing as well. Three people could come off stage thinking it’s been amazing but if the other guys have had a blunder with their gear or something didn’t go right, it could ruin the whole thing. I don’t think we’ve ever come off stage as a band and said that that was terrible. As a whole we’re normally pretty happy, even if wasn’t great, we always have fun.
Tim: It’s the taking part that counts.

There’s a week to go until a gig, whats the routine?
Tim: We try and get a few practices in.
Cameron: Panic practices.
Tim: Yeah panic practices, like, Woah, that’s tomorrow?
Cameron: One thing we do as well is that we change little bits or our set every gig. It might sound ridiculous but we spend half an hour saying, if we end that song with this riff that we just made up we can lead in into this song. So a lot of practices are making it flow; oh yeah we can put this little blues riff in and that’d be quite cool.
Tim: We don’t really have any pre-gig routines, I don’t think. A lot of the gigs we want to watch the other bands. Plus we don’t have time, we don’t have roadies setting up our gear for us. It’s watching the band before hand, it’s be rude not to, and usually you get to see a lot of great music you haven’t seen before, then suddenly we’re on. It gets quite mechanically; are the amps plugged in?
Cameron: Of course we have the ritual where we put our hands in the middle.
Tim: We’ve actually done that a couple of times. Cameron absolutely hates it. We always do it on purpose because we know he hates it. We make sure he’s seen by everyone.
Cameron: It’s always me as well! Nah we’re pretty normal before gigs.

What does the future hold for 28 Boulevard?
Tim: We always look at each other to see who’s gonna talk! We’ve just done a set of recordings of seven songs. We’re releasing a 4 track EP with probably a double A-side afterwards. It’s in the motion, nothing confirmed. At the moment, out of the seven tracks, it could be any four, but we have a good idea.
Cameron: That is our main trouble, because we have access to a studio. We don’t pick the four we want to do before we go in, we record everything we have and then we get to this point, this is the third time we’ve had this situation now where we’ve got too many tracks and not enough space, what we gonna do.
Tim: Everyone has different favourites.
Cameron: On this one thought we’re quite close.
Tim: It’s interesting the other day, our track got played on the radio and the presenter announced it by saying, this is a track from 28 Boulevard who are releasing their next EP in May. As far as I’m concerned, I didn’t know that at all. It’s either May or June, we’re sorting it out.
Cameron: We’d like it to be earlier, give it a bit of a push. It’s a lot of fun hard work.
Tim: Yeah, behind an EP release isn’t not just about recording tracks. Preferably you want a new set of photos done, video ideas and artwork. You also want a buzz, it seems like a waste if you put a lot of effort in to writing the EP and then release it without actually trying to time the release well and push it out to people to get it heard more. A lot of that goes on behind the scenes which can get a bit frustrating and you’re just sitting on it, but it’s absolutely necessary.
Cameron: If we didn’t do it we’d kick ourselves afterwards. Do it properly or not at all, that was the ethos of taking out a year to focus on the band. We all want to do it for life, hopefully!

At the end the guys embraced in the manliest of man hugs possible. There is real passion in this band that you definitely need to listen and see for yourself.

Recommended tracks:
Tim: Well Hello, Cinnamon, Who are you.
Cameron: Electric Feet.

For fans of:
Bloc Party

Upcoming gigs:
30th – The Cornerhouse, Cambridge
May 14th – The Sanctuary, Basingstoke
May 15th – Cambridge Junction, Cambridge
May 24th – The Abstracts – Album launch
June 11th – The Portland Arms, Cambridge
June 20th – The Unsigned Music Festival, Main Stage, Northam

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