An Interview with The Camel City Blackouts

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I recently had a chance to chat with Ryan Sizemore of The Camel City Blackouts, a pop-punk band out of Winston-Salem, NC. Ryan does vocals and guitar while Derek Gilreath plays bass. The band was formed in 2017 and has put out 3 EP’s (Come Back Down, 13, and Wild Card) and one full album (Possession) in that time. This is what Ryan had to say about the band, and about their latest EP, Wild Card:

How would you describe yourselves as a band to any potential new fans that may read this? 

I have heard us described by others as a happier Alkaline Trio which is great because we love the Trio. I’m not sure how I would describe us other than as a pop-punk band with meaningful lyrics that aren’t sappy. We are just a band on a mission.

Is there a story behind your band name? 

Our name comes from 2 different stories. For a while, we were just The Blackouts because we enjoyed drinking, partying, and forgetting. We were aware that other bands had that same name but we didn’t give a shit. We were repping what we liked to do and playing music. But we eventually decided maybe we should diversify ourselves so we incorporated the nickname of Winston-Salem into our name. Winston was the city where we first started jamming together, thus we became The Camel City Blackouts.

photo by Melanie Mae Bryan

Has your musical style evolved since you started? And do you think it will in the future?

I think we have evolved. Derek is a beast at bass, I’m using different guitar chords, my vocals how gotten stronger, and I feel like our songs have more rhythm and sound smoother. I think to survive as a band that you have to evolve if you hope to continue to have an audience. The world around us is always changing and styles and trends do, too. The outside world affects us all and while it’s evolving we should as well. Evolution, in any aspect of life, seems inevitable.

Who writes the lyrics for your songs? What is your creative process like? 

I, Ryan Sizemore, write our lyrics. Now that I’m reading that statement it seems like I have an ego. I don’t…I don’t think…My creative process involves me, usually struggling with personal demons. I use writing songs as a way to exorcise those demons that I’m dealing with. I think about how I’m feeling and rip it out and put it on paper. During that time I’m so deep in my thought process that it feels like I’m in a trance so I never really appreciate what I have written until I finish writing. Once I finish a song I may tweak it a bit or destroy it, depending on if I like the finished product. Sometimes I’ll play it for my wife for a second opinion and she’ll give me good feedback when I’m unsure. Then I’ll show Derek!

photo by Melanie Mae Bryan

Which song off of the new EP Wild Card means the most to you, and why? 

Memory is the song that I’m the most bonded to. It is a song I wrote for someone that I love who had died. Writing that song helped me deal with the grieving process. I wrote the song in a way that made it seem like our separation was only geographical distance instead of life and death. Its just comforting to think that I could still see them again.

What’s next for The Camel City Blackouts? 

We have a couple of things going on. We have a possible show next month with a fill-in drummer (we are still looking for a drummer). We are planning on shooting music videos for all of our new songs on our new EP, Wild Card, I am still writing songs for our next EP, and we are hoping to record those within the next few months. We are also hoping to gain a little momentum to get noticed by some labels and other bands which may or may not include a feather, some vasoline, and a few golf balls. I’m not sure how many golf balls yet though.

photo by Melanie Mae Bryan
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About Author

Melanie Mae Bryan is a music photographer and journalist based in North Carolina.

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