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Behind the Noise: Interview With Nashville's Raw, Upcoming Pop-Punk Artist Cameron Alexander

Edited by Tiffany Mercer

Cameron dressed in all black standing in front of a black and white split colored wall. While holding a pale blue electric guitar looking off to the right side.
Photo Credit: Hayley Hollis

Nashville, Tennessee's Cameron Alexander has been lighting a fire in the pop-punk scene. With the combination of a modern rendition of the throwback, unadulterated pop-punk sound, and vulnerable, relatable lyrics to today's youth, Cameron has set a promising example of the future pop-punk landscape. On March 20th, he released his latest single, 'Insomniac,' to tease and prepare everyone for his upcoming EP, Ice Blue Punk, which is set to release on April 26th. On this edition of Behind the Noise, we had the opportunity to talk to Cameron about the defining memory that made him want to pursue music professionally, his experience in music school, the creative process for his upcoming EP, and more!


Iceis: So, I thought we would start off with some fun questions. The first question is, if you could be stuck in a fictional world for a day, which one would you choose?

Cameron: I feel like if it was [for] forever, [I would choose]  Star Wars. [It’d be cool to] have a cool little spaceship, fly around [to] different planets, [and] hang out with people. [It’s] just a void of like galactic war. So, I feel like I would do that if it was forever. But for one day, I've been watching a lot of The Walking Dead recently, and I love that world. But obviously, living in that would suck a lot. I couldn't imagine something much worse than that. But if I could just see if I could survive one day, [and] maybe kill a few walkers. That would be pretty sick.

Iceis: That would be terrifying but fun. It would be a challenge.

Cameron: Yeah, it would be.

Iceis: Whereas I feel like [with] Star Wars, space would scare me because I don't know enough about it. So, knowing me, I would get sucked into a black hole or something.

Cameron: I would need to learn the Star Wars world. I would need [to] not get robbed or get into some sort of galactic bar fight.

Iceis: Or get into a fight with stormtroopers. You don't want to have a shootout with [them].

Cameron: Yeah, I don't want to piss off the Empire.

 

Iceis: If you were to associate a flavor with a flower, what do you think you would choose? There are some pretty flowers out there.

Cameron: I'm not a huge flower guy. The first flower that comes to mind is a rose. But roses have a flavor.

Iceis: They do?

Cameron: There are rose-flavored things now, yeah.

Iceis: That's probably up there with the lavender-flavored [things] that I don't mess with.

Cameron: Yeah, I'm not big on any of those things. Maybe rose could taste like red velvet. That'd be sick.

Iceis: There you go. Meanwhile, I feel like [it could be] some form of tangy strawberry. That would make sense.

Cameron: That would also make sense. [It] would help if I knew any other flower.

Iceis: Yeah, I’m not much of a botanist either, so you're good.

 

Iceis: If you could become best friends with a video game character, which one would you choose?

Cameron: if I could hang out with a bunch of Pokémon, that'd be pretty sick.

Iceis: That'd be awesome.

Cameron: If I could have some pet Pokémon, that would be pretty awesome.

Iceis: I'd be afraid they might set my house on fire or something.

Cameron: Yeah, that would be hard. That might be hard to control. I'd have to have some more chill Pokémon.

Iceis: [Otherwise, you’d have to be] like, “Charizard, stop fire breathing in the living room!”

Cameron: Yeah, Charizard might burn my house down, so I'd have to be careful. Pikachu might short out the entire electricity grid. So, that could also be dangerous. Maybe [I’d have] an Eevee. Just a nice, little normal type [of Pokémon].

Iceis: Maybe [an] earth type. If they’re a water type, they’d flood your house, and that wouldn’t work either.

Cameron: Yeah, exactly.

 

Iceis: If you had to have a jingle for your ringtone, which one do you think you would choose?

Cameron: I've actually been trying to figure out how to sell ringtones. I'm [still in the early stages of it]. I just started googling it. I haven't put much work into it, but I do want to make the breakdown of my new song, ‘Insomniac,' into a ringtone.

Iceis: That would be sick. Hell yeah, that would work out perfectly. I forgot ringtones were even [something] you could buy.

 

Iceis: If you could get an unlimited amount of an item for free at the store, what would you get?

Cameron: I feel like I would go for a really premium meat source. If I could get free steaks all the time, that would be really helpful. And very nutritious. Either that or protein shakes. I just started drinking these protein shakes that are five dollars apiece. And I'm like, “Oh my god, I'm gonna spend so much money.” So, maybe protein shakes, too.

Iceis: Oh, the [price] of protein shakes gets ridiculous sometimes.

Cameron: I know. But I love [them] way more than the powder because they're pre-made. [You] keep [them] in the fridge, [and] whenever you need them, [you] just pop them out.

Iceis: The plant-based ones get even more expensive. [They're] seven to eight dollars for one, and I’m like, “Are you serious? Why? These are plants.”

Cameron: I know. It can get pretty ridiculous, but I guess you pay for the convenience.


Iceis: I feel like there's always a distinct moment for every musician, or even just people in the industry period, when they really fall in love with music, and they realize that that's what they want to do as a full-time career. What [did] that moment [look] like for you when you were younger?

Cameron: I have a lot of a lot of different moments in mind. I got into music when I was really young. It [was] the first thing I really liked, [I] was pretty good at, and really enjoyed doing. It stayed that way for a long time. I realized I wanted to do it fully as a career, and I felt like I could do it [in] my senior year of high school. That was when I started writing songs and doing my own solo artist thing. So, around senior year, when I first started writing my own songs, that was a big moment for me. As [far as me being] like, "Okay, I really think I can do this.” Another one before that was in sixth grade. I had this cover band. We were basically a classic rock cover band, [and] I was the lead vocalist [in it]. We played outside of Jazz Fest in New Orleans. That's where I'm from.

Iceis: It doesn’t make sense to have a rock band at Jazz Fest.

Cameron: They do a lot of different acts there. They have some rock acts and stuff like that. It's just called Jazz Fest. [They also have] a lot of jazz, for sure. So, we played out of someone's garage outside of Jazz Fest, and the people walking back and forth would catch us, [and be] like, "Oh, that's cool.” And [then they’d] keep walking. We ended up building a huge crowd of [about] one thousand people. I was twelve. Everyone else in the band was [around the age of] twelve, [too]. I remember our parents were just blown out of the water. We were blown out of the water, [too]. I was a twelve-year-old kid singing ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ to a thousand drunk adults. That was a pretty insane moment for me. That was my first insane music experience where I was like, “Wow, this is an amazing thing!”

Iceis: First of all, I'm surprised Jazz Fest wasn’t like, "[Who is] this group of kids over here, stealing our patrons?” [But], that’s actually really exciting. Sometimes, getting a little bit of a taste of that performance experience early on becomes quite addictive.

Cameron: Yeah, I can agree with that. I've been doing this for a long time now. I'm very thankful that I got into it when I was young ‘cause I've learned a lot, and I'm much more used to playing shows, and [I’m more] comfortable and [understand] how things work. So, I'm very thankful I got into it when I was younger.

Iceis: You get to make all the mistakes when you're younger, so you can be successful when you're older.

Cameron: That's very true. Although, there are still plenty of mistakes to be made.

Iceis: Hey, we’re just human.

Cameron: Oh, yeah. That’s where the songs come from.

Iceis: Those are the best songs to make, if I’m being honest, the relatable ones.

 

Iceis: [In the past], you’ve talked about in a couple of interviews [about] how you are in music school, or at least you were. Are you still in school?

Cameron: Yeah, I still am.

Iceis: What are you going to school for?

Cameron: I'm actually a songwriting major. It's a pretty interesting major. It's basically just centered around being a commercial songwriter. [But I] take a lot of music business classes as well. So, I've learned a lot about the industry and publishing. And [I] take music recording classes, [which includes] audio engineering classes as well. So, it's a really well-rounded major. I really enjoy doing it.

Iceis: That’s nice [that] you have a little bit of everything. It's not just, "We’re gonna teach you about this one thing. Okay, cool. Off you go.” You get to have a bit of everything.

Cameron: Exactly.

Iceis: [When’s] your graduation year?

Cameron: Hopefully, next May. May 2025.

Iceis: Happy early graduation!

Cameron: Thank you.


Iceis: What do you feel like going to music school has taught you or given you experience-wise that you might not have been exposed to otherwise?

Cameron: The biggest thing that [it has] exposed me to is a community of other people that are trying to do the same thing or very similar things, [as] me. Just being in a massive community of different musicians and people that want to be musicians. Whether it be a songwriter, a guitar player, an engineer, or a music business person, [I’m] around a bunch of people my age [who] are like-minded and driven. Or sometimes, [they are] not like-minded and not driven. It's super useful.

Iceis: Plus, I feel like sometimes when you're talking to other people about different projects, you can inspire certain things, like, "Oh, I wouldn’t have thought about this that way. That's a cool perspective.” And obviously, down the road, who knows, maybe you'll work with some of those people.

Cameron: Oh, one hundred percent. I think I'll see lots of people I've met at school throughout my life, especially if I stay in Nashville.


Iceis: You actually write and create all the instrumentals for your music. What do you feel like are some of the pros, cons, and challenges of doing it independently versus [doing] something like a group collaboration?

Cameron: I originally got into it [doing it the collaborative] way. [As] I told you, I did that band when I was twelve. And since then, I've just been in and out of bands for a long time. I just never really found a group of people that wanted to do the type of music I wanted to do. I never found anyone [who] was into pop-punk and wanted to do that kind of thing. And even beyond that, [I never found] people I really clicked with. I knew all the instruments myself anyway, and I was starting to use Ableton Live at the time. So, I just started doing all the instruments myself. The pros are it's less communication with other people, so I can take full control. That can be really nice. And it is really nice when I'm obsessed with the music [I’m making], and I love it, and it's everything I do. But it can also be a burden because [I usually take] on the role of four other people. It takes more time and effort from me, but it makes the music that much more special to me. So, it's a fair trade-off.

Iceis: That's fair. You do get [a lot of] creative control with that, which is nice. Do you feel like there's anyone you would want to possibly collaborate in the future with?

Cameron: Yeah, for sure. I do a lot of stuff on my own, but I work with two different producers, and I play live with a band. I have a guitar player, [a] bass player, and a drummer, and they're all great guys. My drummer, specifically, will give me a lot of tips and stuff on my music. So, not [everything is] one hundred percent [by] me, but a lot of [it is by] me. I would never shy away from working with [other] people. I'm totally down to work with tons of different people. [I’ll work with] whoever is interested in working with me, really. But I feel like a dream collaboration would be with Travis Barker because he works with many artists [who are] up and coming, [including] huge artists. And [blink-182] is my biggest influence. So, that would be like a full-circle moment for me. Oh, yeah.

Iceis: Yeah, Travis Barker [has] been everywhere. He was with Avril Lavigne for a while, [and] I remember he did a collaboration with mgk and YUNGBLUD.

Cameron: [He has worked on] tons and tons of different [people’s] stuff. He fully produced Machine Gun Kelly's first pop-punk record. [He might have done] the second one, too. I'm not entirely sure. [He has] done stuff with YUNGBLUD. He works a lot with this artist [named] KennyHoopla. I'm a huge fan of [him]. He's a huge inspiration for my music and my songwriting. He works with a ton of really awesome artists.

Iceis: Hell yeah. I’ll have to check out KennyHoopla. I haven't heard [his] name before. So, that’ll add something to my playlist for me to listen to.

Cameron: I would totally recommend it. He's amazing.

 

Iceis: Talking about producers, you have worked with Justin Cortelyou and Liam Muckala. What does that process and dynamic look like when you guys are working together?

Cameron: It usually starts off with me writing a lot of the song [by myself] or having a lot of the song prepared myself, at least in my head. And then I go to Liam. Liam is my recording guy, and Justin is my mixing guy. So, I usually spend a lot of time with Liam recording, and he also helps smooth out the edges of the song and [etc]. He's the second set of eyes after me. Justin [and I] also work a decent amount together on some other stuff like that. I'll usually record drums at Justin’s studio because he works at Soultrain Sound Studios here in Nashville, which has amazing gear and everything. So, usually, it starts with Liam, and then [I start working with] Justin.

 

Iceis: I feel like within the past ten years or so, [there has] been this reignition of the pop-punk scene. We've seen more acts try to get in and make that scene nice and lively again. That being said, because I feel like there are so many people at this point trying to be in that scene, what do you feel like sets your music apart from some of the other artists we have right now?

Cameron: I feel like what sets my music apart is a lot of my music is a little bit more meaningful. In terms of writing lyrics about things that matter to me in my life, friendships, romantic relationships, life lessons, [and] things like that. I try to make my music very emotionally relatable for people going through similar things, and I think that's what sets my music apart.

Iceis: Yeah. I feel like that's a big reason why so many of us got into pop-punk, emo music, or whatever when [we were] teenagers. We're going through [something], and someone else is singing about something that [makes us be] like, "Hey, I feel like that, too!” It's always nice to have that element in music.

Cameron: Yeah, exactly. That's one of my biggest goals when it comes to creating. [I want to create] something that can resonate with someone on a very raw level.

Iceis: Yeah. It's more about that than having a cool instrumental and a catchy chorus. Otherwise, we would be back in the pop genre. We wouldn't be pop-punk.

 

Iceis: You have an EP coming out [called] Ice Blue Punk. Congratulations!

Cameron: Thank you.

Iceis: Going into that, what did the creative process look like from start to finish?

Cameron: From start to finish, a lot of the songs [had] been written throughout the process of me moving from my hometown to Nashville, starting school, meeting my producer, all my different friends, and a bunch of people in the music industry. So, a lot of [the songs were written during] my journey of getting my music career started so far. [I wrote] pretty much all the songs throughout the past two years. And then, eventually, it was Liam [and I] working together for a while. Then we met Justin, and Justin was very interested in working with me and helping me get an EP going. So, flash forward about a year, [and] I've been working on it, recording it, writing it, and getting ready for everyone to hear.

 

Iceis: That release is coming up pretty soon [on] April 26th. When you look at the creative process for Ice Blue Punk versus the previous songs you had made, what do you think [are] some of the similarities and differences?

Cameron: I think the process for all of them [was] been pretty similar throughout. I wouldn't say my writing process necessarily changed. I just wrote songs throughout the past few years, and then whichever ones felt right landed a spot on the EP.

Iceis: That makes sense. The process was the same, but different experiences and emotions going into it.

Cameron: Exactly. I do think the process would change for something like a full record. I think this EP, in particular, has a vibe, and it has my vibe. But I wanted all the songs to feel different in certain ways. Just to show that I can hit different emotional notes, different types [of sounds], just sound differently across [all of] the songs. I do think [the] writing process for a record might change. I would sit down in a studio or somewhere with a specific group of people and actually write an album. It would be a little bit of a different process compared to just writing songs slowly throughout a few years.

Iceis: Yeah. And with an album (everybody has their different opinions on album sounds), I feel like, personally, if each song has its own vibe, that's cool. But you want it to be cohesive. You don't want it to be all over the place, throwing you curve balls left and right. I’ve been listening to a lot of metalcore lately, [and] I don't want to go from [a] sweet ballad [into] metalcore, metalcore, [and back] into [a] ballad. It needs to flow. With EPs, I feel like you can have a bit more freedom with the things you put [on] there. But [with] albums, things [definitely] need to be a bit more grounded with each other.

Cameron: Yeah, I agree. I think this EP has a flow. I really enjoy listening to it all the way through. I also [think] the point of an EP is to be [like] a taste test, [so you’re] like, "Okay, who is this person? Let me play this song. Oh, Okay. This is a fun, upbeat song [that has] an emotional tinge to it. Let's try this song. Oh, this is a really fun, happy song.” You pick throughout it. [I agree]. I think albums are definitely supposed to be [listened to in order]. I love listening to an album in order.

Iceis: Exactly. I feel like if you don’t, it just throws the whole vibe off. You have to have the whole experience from start to finish. That's also why there are some albums I haven't heard yet. I haven't had the time to sit down and listen to them from start to finish. And that's the proper way to do it.

Cameron: Yeah, for sure.

 

Iceis: I have a sentence here that I would like you to fill in the blanks for. "Ice Blue Punk Is the best EP to listen to when you're doing blank because blank.”

Cameron: “[Ice Blue Punk is] the best EP [to listen to when you’re blowing] off some emotional steam [because you can] jump around to [it].”

 

Iceis: When people are done listening [to your music] for the first time, what feelings or thoughts do you hope they walk away with?

Cameron: I hope they're inspired to do what they want to do and be themselves. Go outside and go for a walk, or pick up the pen and write your own song or book. Go practice [being a] better version of yourself.

Iceis: Art does inspire art, as they say.

 

Iceis: Other than this new EP that's coming out, is there anything you're looking forward to professionally, personally, or both?

Cameron: Yeah, I'm playing a show on the 27th, which will be after my EP release. It will be [like] an EP celebration for me. I'm going to be opening for this band called The Criticals. [They] are a pretty sick band here in Nashville. We're expecting a pretty big turnout, so it's going to be a ton of fun. I'm really excited for that. [Also], I’m just excited to continue to play shows in general. I think my music, and pop-punk in general, is meant to be heard live, and I'm really excited to be able to play live for people.

Iceis: The live experience for pop-punk is always fun. Obviously, you're there to hear music, but you're also there to have fun. It's not like when you go to the opera, and you're just staring at people [singing] on stage. It's a very different atmosphere.

Cameron: Exactly! The live aspect is a huge part of why [I got] into the genre in the first place. It's just so fun and so energetic.



 

Cameron Alexander is playing a show with The Criticals in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 27th, 2024. Check out the promo poster here!


Cameron Alexander

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