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Q&A with Campfires & Constellations

Campfires & Constellations is a local country rock band packed with heart and a lot of grit. From instruments ranging from mandolins and banjos to heavy bass and guitars, their sound could best be described as Lefty Frizzell on methamphetamine. Consisting of members Charlie Smith, Corey Bax, Stephen Mooneyhan, Ernest Thompson and Daniel Perry, the Campfire boys sit down and discuss their upcoming album, influences and music videos.

Diversionsz: How would you describe your sound?

Charlie Smith: Outlaw music — that’s just what we play. We play outlaw music. I don’t know how to describe it much better than that. If any of y’all want to take a stab at it.

Stephen Mooneyhan: I think we definitely have influences from country, folk, bluegrass, Americana and that sort of thing- southern rock – but I mean we play it a lot faster and harder than that. So yeah, I think it’s kind of like outlaw music like Charlie said.

Dive: What is your song creation process like?

Corey Bax: I mean, Charlie Smith and I take care of the lyric parts of our song I guess and then everybody contributes to the rest, you know?

CS: I think really that’s what makes our songs cool, is that you know, Corey and I write the lyrics usually, but what we come up with is no where near being a finished product. It takes a lot of time all working together and we all have a lot of different influences, we all like a lot of different things and so it all kind of comes out in the music. It’s a very collaborative process.

Dive: Who are some of your biggest influences?

CS: Mine personally, Waylon Jennings, Robert Earl Keen Jr. and Willie Nelson.

Daniel Perry: One of the biggest influences in my life is Merle Haggard. I got to meet him one time and he’s a very nice person.

Ernest Thompson: We like the odd number, Hank Williams. I mean I personally listen to a whole ton of classic country like honky tonk music — Carl Smith, Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell — that kind of thing.

SM: And I don’t know if I ever really listened to this kind of music as much as before I started playing it. I was always kind of into punk and punk bands. So I think I helped with playing fast quite a bit (laughs).

CB: Yeah, I definitely have more heavier music influences in sort of the hardcore genres. That’s where I kind of came from but also with like the folk and stuff. And so, I definitely think I try to make our music a bit grungier and ,you know, grittier.

Dive: You guys recently released a couple of new music videos. Were you a large part of the creative process?

CS: Oh yeah, it was totally a collaborative process. Carter (Fourqurean), he was the one that originally had the idea for doing a video. He just came over and asked us what we wanted to do, and he had some ideas and he chipped in. It turned out being really cool and I was very excited about it. Carter’s been really good about trying to get more live videos and so we actually just last night put a live video for our song “Black Muddy River“9 on YouTube which is pretty cool. Yeah, we were all there for every step of it. I mean, it’s just a good time working together.

Dive: Favorite venues?

DP: Well I’ve only been in the band for a year, but some of my favorite venues that we played is definitely He’s Not Here. That’s always a rowdy time, always a good time. We’ve played in countless bars — little honkytonk bars that we enjoyed doing. It’s always a good time.

SM: We had a birthday show for me on my 21st birthday. It went until about one in the morning, but I had a pretty good time. I ended up in my underwear. But when was that? That was some other time. Somebody wrote a review about it and I don’t want people to read that review (laughs). They called my friends some dad bands and they called us easy listening – something I never want to be associated with (laughs).

CS: I would estimate that Stephen drank 90 beers that night (laughs).

ET: We’ve also played at The Station and The Pour House and the Local 506 and where else and we do some tailgates for fraternity parties. That’s a lot of times where we develop our chops. We’ll have like a three hour frat gig and we’ll just use that time to explore new ideas and stuff.

Dive: How did you all meet?

CS: Corey and I both grew up in Dunn, North Carolina and we’ve known each other about our whole lives. We started the Campfires and Constellations two-man acoustic band when we were in high school and just kind of picked up folks along the way. We never really had a plan or intention of growing the band. We just kind of waited, you know, to find cool guys to hang out with who could also play instruments and that’s how we got where we got today.

Dive: Future plans?

CS: Well we’re hoping to release our album January or February and hoping to go on tour this summer and see what happens, you know? Everybody wants to be a musician for a living and so do we. We want to give it a shot and we’re putting together a tour book for this summer and we’re really excited about it.

Dive: Final Thoughts?

CS: We don’t want to hold your hand with our music, we want to go ahead and pop you in the mouth.

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