A life-changing illness. Pregnancy and childbirth. Relocation. A change in working hours. Each of these show up on the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, which ranks major life “stressors.”
They also describe the last few years in the life of Camera Obscura, the indie-pop band from Scotland. Keyboardist Carey Lander was diagnosed with cancer (she’s doing better), lead singer Tracyanne Campbell had her first child, the band recorded its latest album in Portland, Oregon, rather than its home city of Glasgow, and it had to truncate its 2013 tour due to “maternity leave.”
“It’s difficult, because I know everyone in the band really wants to be able to go do this, to play shows and promote a record that we’re really proud of,” Lander said. “But it’s increasingly difficult, with real life getting in the way.”
amNewYork caught up with Lander to chat about resilience and "Desire Lines," its fifth full-length release.
With all you’ve been through, how has the band stayed together?
It’s because that we’ve been going for so long that we try to keep going, even though there’s been a lot of difficulties in our last few years. Nobody wants to give up, not for these reasons. We still really enjoy it. A lot of people don’t make it past their first album — they do one, then they split up. It still feels like we’ve got more in us.
For "Desire Lines," the band recruited Tucker Martine (producer of albums for My Morning Jacket and R.E.M.). Where do you hear his influence in the record?
I can definitely hear the difference. Our last albums were with Jari in Sweden, and he was quite controlling, in a good way — we needed to be bossed around back then. This time we wanted more time to try new things. … And this one is a lot of just the band playing.
This album seems to be much more focused on the band.
It’s quite satisfying when you know that what’s good about the album is us, that it’s not down to someone else’s string arrangements. I’m very grateful to anyone who’s contributed to an album of ours, but we knew that we had put the songs together and the ideas within the songs. We’re not always the most confident band, but we managed to believe that those ideas were worth doing and that was enough.
Camera Obscura performs at (Le) Poisson Rouge Tuesday at 9 p.m., 158 Bleeker St., 212-505-3474, $25.
The band is at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Wednesday at 9 p.m., 66 N. Sixth St., Williamsburg, 718-486-5400, sold out.