We were fortunate enough to catch up with Camille Miller and Denis Expert from MAJOR KAMI; enjoy the full interview below!
Hi Camille Miller and Denis Expert, what is your writing process?
Camille: The writing process of Major Kami is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word. The musical seed is first created by Denis Expert and Dan Burkhart in Bordeaux. They then send the piece to me in Singapore. The same goes for the singer S.J Hawley (Massive Attack), who produced the song “Wild Bo…”.
All the tracks Major Kami released are written in honour of David Bowie, but his name is never mentioned. I would spend some time coming up with lyrics and melodies and send them back to Denis. Denis would listen, choose what he liked, and add vocal ideas and/or lines in “pretend English” (the French have a term that roughly translates to “singing in yoghurt”, which means pretending to be English or gibberish).
Often I wrote the lyrics based on the sounds and phrasing Denis suggested. After a lot of back and forth, additions, deletions, cuts, rehashes and rewrites, an agreement was reached. At this point, the demo was sent to Dan Burkhart, who set to work polishing, shining, adding vocal effects, percussion, rhythms, etc., to create the 80’s style of alternative electro-pop for which Major Kami’s songs are now known.
Denis: Camille’s texts immediately transported me by their originality in keeping with the imposed David Bowie theme, as well as their effectiveness.
Infinite Light” is a great EP; why did you choose to release an EP instead of singles?
Denis: I bear this responsibility (haha) by wishing to offer listeners this “big gap”, this ability that Major Kami has to go from a “fun” song, rhythmically more square (Infinite Light), to a more technical song in the entanglement of voices, in the steamy atmosphere that comes out (Mystical Musical Maze chorus).
With “Infinite Light” and “Mystical Musical Maze”, summer has been prematurely installed! Now it’s up to you, Internet users, to give your impressions, which we are impatiently waiting for.
What attracts you to the electronic pop genre?
Denis: It’s a huge chance to have a friend like Dan Burkart, a true specialist in alternative electro-pop, who allowed us to arrange, co-compose and mix the eleven current songs of Major Kami.
The choice of this genre is also linked to the fact that we were going to talk about David Bowie and that it was important to create a universe that was up to the challenge by bringing in current sounds while integrating them into “80s vibe” ambiences.
We think we have met the challenge, but only internet users can confirm it! (haha)
What message do you think your music conveys to your fans?
Denis: Our first message is in the idea of entertaining, of creating an interesting sound to transmit, full of dynamism, nuances and small quirks that raise the whole to a level of singular or absurd creativity, as long as it does not leave one indifferent.
Camille: Music is such a powerful elixir… It unites us all, even if it’s only for the moment we listen to the song… We would like to share a message of acceptance and embrace our differences… It is these differences that make the colours and different textures of our lives… It is the differences that make us stronger.
Who are your musical influences?
David Bowie, Kae Tempest, Gorillaz, Bjork, Daft Punk, M83
What are your non-musical influences?
Camille: I’m inspired by everything that is cosy and colourful… I am inspired by the outdoors, reading and my family… I am inspired by our ability as humans to pick ourselves up and start again… It gives me a lot to look forward to.
Denis: My passions and commitments outside of music are my admiration for contemporary dance (Ohad Naharin or Angelin Preljocaj, for example) or my commitment to fight against abusive powers as well as environmental issues (at my humble level)… reducing our carbon footprints. Major Kami’s scene will be part of this thinking that I am currently preparing to bring another look to the art of live performances by considering them differently when success is achieved, and everything becomes excessive.
What scares you most when releasing music?
Camille: I get scared that it will just get lost in the shuffle…There are so many ways of promoting music now; it’s hard to keep up with all of the avenues…
What do you think are the biggest obstacles facing bands/artists today?
Camille: I think the biggest obstacle today is turning online “fans” into real people, real bodies… The cost of touring is very high, and without the support of a label, it is even higher.
Denis: The whole future of an artist, of a group, lies in the way they are going to present themselves to the public and what attitudes they have to adopt, taking into account the issues proposed to deal with their stewardship and to create their scenes according to the economic evolutions.
What advice would you give to other bands/artists starting out?
Camille: I guess the mantra I am constantly reminding myself of is: This is about the long run. Eventually, given that we don’t give up and quit, we will find success…Whatever style of music or genre of music you are involved with, find others to be inspired by, and make friends who are doing the same as you so you create a support network…Take the time to reach out to fans who have found you online, make the messages personable and be as sincere as you can be, even if it hurts… Don’t give up… The majority around you will.
What are your hopes for the next two years?
Now our goal is to prepare scenes…but by bringing another look, several faces because”Major Kami” is a musical identity with several faces. A singer in each port. We conceived everything (up to our relationships), by internet. With an idea reinforced by the Covid constraints: we can develop a universe, music, a sound without being physically together.
This proposal was created by Denis Expert, who, like the hummingbird, wants to contribute to the protection of the planet. On the agenda now is a tour where we continue the idea: one sound, strong, alternative electro-pop in the 80’s style, nostalgic and a voice in each port.
No big tour with the carbon footprint of a presidential plane, but a reduced team, local cooperation, and the same identity for a common cause. A way of doing things that is right for the times.
Concerts are planned for 2024, but we need the public, YOU! :)”
FVMusicBlog May 2023