july 2003 - e-mail interview with Cameron Jones by Angus Anderson
A little foreword from Ryan Jones :
Hello- I am in the band Two Guys from Portland, OR. You sent my brother Cameron and me each an interview. He replied, I believe, but I'm just writing to let you know that I won't be. Don't get me wrong, they were good questions, but Two Guys is more Cameron than me, so it just makes more sense for him to do the interview. I just don't know that I'd have much to add. Sorry it took me so long to get this to you, I just moved and have been without internet for a while.
Oh, and thank you for your review of our CD, Recorded. Aside from being creative an entertaining in itself, it was heartening to read such a positive response to the CD. Thanks again.
Hi, Can you introduce yourself? (name, age, sex, hobbies, favourite curse word, taste in ice cream, anything you want.)
I'm Cameron, I play baritone & sing in Two Guys. I'm 24, male, hobbies are...hmm, I don't know if I have any hobbies. I just discovered that I like to play golf. Favorite curse word would probably be "bastard", if that counts. It's funny for some reason. I love mint chip and tin roof sundae but chocolate gives me canker sores so I usually stick to caramel or something of the like.
Can you comment on the ‘simplicity’ of the name ‘Two Guys’ and that of your first album ‘Recorded’? Is this ironical or is this simply representative of your music?
I don't think it's necessarily representative of our music. It's mostly a reaction to what I think is a seriously annoying trend for bands to be as pretentious as possible, even if they can't play their instruments. The habit of having your image be more important than your actual product. We just wanted to have the most straightforward name and image we could think of and focus on the music. What's funny is that our name and "image", or lack thereof, probably gets way more attention than most other bands.
Can you tell us about your former bands (Pinback, Thingy,..) and solo stuff? How did you get to join together? (not considering the fact that you and Ryan are brothers)
We grew up in Northern California and I moved to San Diego when I was 18. I ended up playing with Physics, Thingy, and Pinback during the four years that I lived there. Heavy Vegetable was one of my favorite bands in high school and I continue to admire what the people I played music with in San Diego are doing.
Ryan and I played in a band called Watch Winds Down when we were teenagers and it's just sort of natural for us to play music together, it's mostly been a matter of whether or not we're living in the same city.
I've been recording solo stuff on and off since I was about 17. The stuff on my website is pretty old, at least four years except for "ping pong" which is about two years old. I'm doing solo stuff again and I think it's much better than most of the older stuff.
How do you work together? Is it conflicting? harmonious?
Mostly it's pretty harmonious I think. The way it works with this band is I write a song, show it to Ryan during practice and he writes his part. At first it was kind of awkward because we hadn't played together for a while and Ryan hadn't done much serious songwriting for a while, but now it's pretty intuitive.
Is this an artistic choice to be a duet (guitar and drums) or an accident? Naïve people might jump to the conclusion that you are the next White Stripes…
It's a choice, mostly. I've tried plenty of times to start bands and had it fall flat because of not being able to find other people to play with. So I had the baritone and thought, "hey I could play that and it would be like a guitar and a bass all in one! And I won't have to try to find other people to play with or deal with anyone else besides Ryan." So I started writing songs for baritone and it worked okay.
For the record, we were a band before I think either one of us heard of White Stripes or any of the other trendy duos out there. I don't think anyone would make the mistake of comparing our music to theirs anyway.
The baritone guitar adds original moods to your tortured songs, echoed by the inventiveness of the drum parts. How much do you like mixing different styles together (grind drum gimmick, jazzy interludes, metal sound, pop patterns, catchy chorus, lo-fi stuff, surprising bridges, etc….)?
I guess it comes off that way, as a mixture of different styles, but I hate that way of thinking. Mixing existing styles implies that you're not really creating anything new in a sense; that you're just grabbing something from here, taking some more from over here, etc. I don't consciously think, "I'm going to write a song that blends old school jazz with black metal", although I guess it's easier to see it like that when you listen to the music.
We're both fans of lots of different kinds of music and that ends up being expressed in the music we make. I will say that I enjoy writing music that does things that are somewhat unexpected in whatever genre the listener might think we're working within.
The deconstructive nature of some of your songs like “Beach House Hangover” and “Fantasies” is pleasant and confusing at the same time. How much do you like subverting the listener’s expectations?
I guess I just kind of answered that question, inadvertently. If you could hear all the songs on Recorded and the songs we've written since then in chronological order, you would probably notice that the older ones are the more "proggy", and the newer ones are more pop. So I think a couple years ago when I first started writing music for this band, surprising the listener was something that I was more into. Now I'm more focused on just writing good songs. I guess it's kind of a maturity thing. When you're a teenager all you want to do is BE DIFFERENT. So you do things specifically to that end. As you get older, I think a lot of people come to the conclusion that being different is totally inherent in simply being themselves and being as authentic as they can be. So I guess you could draw that parallel to how our music has evolved so far.
Lyrics deal with sexual frustration, boredom, love, waiting for love,… Can you tell us more about that?
We started Two Guys right when we moved to Portland, which was pretty soon after I'd had a horrible break up. The combination of being bummed out about the girl and being in a new city where I didn't have any friends resulted in me being at times extremely frustrated, bored, all that stuff. So most--actually probably all of the lyrics on Recorded have to do with feeling shitty about life and relationships and going through the typical recovery process(es) that people go through in those kinds of situations.
Do you feel like members of a musical scene?
I think we tend to get lumped in with Pinback and Thingy and that whole San Diego thing, so I guess if we were part of any scene, that would be it. But I don't really feel like we are a part of that, mostly because we live so far from that and the only association with those bands is that I used to play in some of them. I definitely don't feel like we're a part of any scene in Portland. I only know a couple other bands here. It's weird, there's a musical community here but I feel like we're completely outside of it for some reason. Maybe we're not "hip" or stylish enough, maybe we're just not social enough.
Do you have projects for the future?
Yes. I'm working pretty hard on a solo album right now. No idea when it'll be released or who will release it but I'm excited. It's completely different from any other project I've been involved with. I hope at least. Somehow it's ending up being kind of new agey/guitar geeky, two genres that I've always totally detested. Go figure.
We're also starting another band but it's in the very beginning stages. We don't even have all the members yet, so it'll be a while until anyone sees anything from that.
As far as Two Guys, we're hoping to tour in a few months and start work on either a new full length or maybe an ep sometime in the next year.
Thank you for answering these. Here are some silly questions. Feel free.
Where is the ‘savoir faire’?
I'm not sure how to answer that.
Which one would you prefer for a one night stand : Kylie Minogue or Dannii Minogue?
I'll say Kylie Minogue because she's a girl but I honestly don't know what either one of them look like, so who knows?
What’s that smell in the woods?
Is sex better than music?
Depends on what you're trying to achieve. Sex is better for having babies.
Christina Aguilera or Limp Bizkit ?
What’s your favourite chord?
My vocal chords! HA!
Is there a question that you cannot help asking yourself?
What do you look like in a tuxedo?
Super professional, like a penguin.
thank you. see you someday in europe maybe...
thanks for the questions.
/sept 15th 2003/