Interview with Andrew Latimer about “Harbour Of Tears”

From Issue 15 of the defunct online French progressive rock magazine “Big Bang”.

Q: It is something new for Camel fans to hear melodies with a definitive “Celtic” character on a Camel album. Is it also something new for you ? Would this mean that Camel’s music, until now, reflected only a part of your own musical “personality” ?

Andrew: As far as the Celtic side of the character, yes it is new, but all Camel albums have a flavour of whatever it requires. It’s whatever the story demands, and I hope every album explores a new part of my personality. I hope I haven’t discovered all of my personality yet. For me it’s not a conscious thing to do any style of music. It’s just however the feeling takes me at the time.

Q: Reading the concept of the album for the first time made me expect a very nostalgic and sad album, some kind of “Dust & Dreams, Part 2”. I was surprised to find much more optimism and positive energy, as though your Irish ancestors leaving their native land was not only filled with desperation, but also with high expectations and hope for a new, wealthier life. Is this what you wanted to express ?

Andrew: Yes, partly. I partly wanted to portray the excitement of a new life. But also to portray the sadness of leaving the family and the sadness of how a father and son cannot communicate their true feelings to one another. The procedure of making music is from the heart, not from the head, so my feelings for each piece are both kind of personal and I find it difficult to explain. I actually don’t want to tell people what I was thinking. I like them to take whatever they get out of it.

Q: There is, in my opinion, a strong sense of release towards the end of both “Dust & Dreams” and “Harbour Of Tears”, as if you could only really “take off”, full steam ahead, once you’re done with the vocal, concept-related stuff. This is not to criticize the vocals, especially on the nw album, yet I find the climax is really in the second, mainly instrumental, half…

Andrew: I think the simple answer to this is that I like to set a musical stage. To do that, there has to be a beginning and an end. Hopefully, the climax is at the end and you’ll want to start again, from the beginning, not the middle or end.

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