The Crocodile Presents:
Campfire OK - Album Release Show
Sean Nelson, Rafe Pearlman with Dust & Gold
2200 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA, 98121
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
“I couldn’t stop thinking of Mariachi bands,” confesses Mychal Cohen of Campfire
OK, “we wanted to find a way to perform for people where there wasn’t a commitment, a ticket, a formal venue. We just wanted to introduce ourselves… and the only thing I could think of was a Mariachi band.” Fast-forward a few weeks and the band (comprised of Cohen, Andrew Eckes, Brandon Milner, Aaron Huffman, and Zarni De Wet) is circling dinner tables at restaurants, serenading surprised diners with their just-as-appetizing tunes. Pretty soon they would grow a reputation as the band that famously performs pop-up shows, strumming and harmonizing while roving around tables and evading restaurant managers.
Not only does their youthful spirit and risk-taking tenacity exhibit itself in action, it’s a great representation of their music: their playful notes surprise you, their spontaneity and willful risk engage you, and their performances won’t leave you.
Campfire Ok is not easy to forget.
They were quickly shooed into the Seattle music scene by way of festivals like Doe Bay, Bumbershoot, and The Capitol Hill Block Party. Their first album, Strange Like We Are, drew a large and empathic fan base quickly. Inspired and in awe of their supporters, Cohen and co. began creating what would become their sophomore album, When You Have Arrived.
When You Have Arrived takes a large leap forward from their first album, both thematically and instrumentally. The album demonstrates who the artists are and where they’re going, in what Cohen says is “a good representation of where we’ll be in ten years.” Whether it be instrumental lilts and cannonades or silk-like serenades,
Campfire Ok does well honing in a cohesive sound while standing apart from any other music out there. Making the decision to release not one or two, but five singles, the band didn’t want to make their fans wait to hear their matured sound.
It’s a pop record unlike any other.
“We aren’t afraid to be the odd one out. We don’t fit into a niche, and we’re proud of that,” owns Cohen.
The album, steeped in colorful showers of synth and horn, unassailable harmonies, and catchy melodies, gladly replays in the mind long after it’s been heard. Some tracks present themselves in a sprightly, electro-pop manner, some introduce romantic and vulnerable lullabies, and others dance between rhythmic intonations that remind you just how unique Campfire Ok is. All artists in the band are of varying ages and musical backgrounds – a perfect mix of eclectic talent that pools and produces the unique sound the band so proudly claims as their own.
For instance, “Our Hearts Beat Light (To an Orange Grove)”, stripped down to soft instrumentals and rich vocals, waltzes tenderly between poetic verse and serene piano. The lyrics “You are a puzzle and I am a riddle / each of us know how solve / I am an island and you’ve been flying /right where we both wanted to go” transparently portrays individuals interweaving with one another. This process, of which we can all identify, truly touches the listener as Cohen croons the authentic and relatable emotions of feeling close with someone.
Equally as captivating is the track “When You Have Arrived”, which candidly discusses the struggle and search for success. The song tells the story of a man who breaks into a home for the sake of knowledge, asking “Do you know who I am / do you know what I want? / Tell me what it’s like to rise / Tell me how it feels to be admired / tell me how you know when you’ve arrived.” The song is a musical mélange of surprises; from solo piano, fluorescent bursts of the trumpet, to a chorus of backup vocals, the track inhales like a breeze and exhales like an eruption.
“Wishing You The Best”, “Pretty and Kind”, and “2+3” embody the same spontaneity, with animated outbreaks of banjo, horn, and harmony that make Campfire Ok’s music both appealing and impossible not to move to. The incandescent, matchless sound they produce has created a genre unto itself.
“Listeners are afraid to get into things they don’t know,” explains Cohen, “but when they take those risks, and when we’ve taken those risks, it’s always really gratifying.”
You know what they say: big risk, big reward.
The first official batch of recordings to bear the name of Seattle musician Sean Nelson isn’t a solo album in the classic sense. Make Good Choices includes playing/songwriting/recording contributions from, among others, Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie), Peter Buck (R.E.M./Minus 5), Matt Pence & Scott Danbom (Centro-Matic), Howard Draper (Shearwater), Dave Depper (Loch Lomond, Fruit Bats), Rachel Blumberg (Decemberists/M. Ward), Adam Selzer (Norfolk & Western), Steve Fisk (player: Pell Mell, Pigeonhed; producer: Nirvana, Beat Happening, Unwound), and others. Sessions arose casually over the course of several years, between Nelson and his collaborators’ other projects, with no deadline, no master plan, and above all, no rush. The unorthodox process yielded great results, but required he take the long view . When he realized he’d been taking it for nearly a decade, it was probably time to write a press release.