Interview: Naomi Campbell from Motel Sundown

From left: Karen Turley, Naomi Campbell and Rob Johnson

Having recently returned from playing at Melodica Reykjavik in Iceland, and with new music in the offing, we sat down with Naomi Campbell from Motel Sundown to talk about the band and their trip to the frozen north…

Oak Tree Music: How did you meet your bandmates?

Naomi Campbell: That’s a funny story because there’s three of us: myself, Karen and Rob. Rob’s from London. He came to Liverpool for uni, as did Karen, but me and Karen are actually from the same town back in Northern Ireland. We met over here in Liverpool, which is weird; we didn’t know each other back home. We met via a mutual friend, and we started singing together. Rob’s been floating around for a few years or so, playing gigs with different people, so we all started jamming together.

OTM: Was Motel Sundown a covers band first or have you always played original music?

NC: Yeah, we did covers first. Me and Karen did a lot of duo gigs together, and then we got into writing as a duo, and then Rob brought his songs to us too.

OTM: How would you describe your style?

NC: I think we’d say we’re mostly Americana, and I’d say Rob brings a bit of folk to it. Me and Karen are obviously quite country, so the good thing is that we all have different styles. Rob has a bit of a 90s thing to his writing, kind of like Cheryl Crow, and myself and Karen love Dolly Parton!

OTM: What is your line up? Do you all play?

NC: Rob plays electric guitar. Me and Karen both play acoustic guitar, and we all sing together. Having three-part harmonies is quite nice!

OTM: Tell us about your recent trip to Iceland.

NC: That was fun! I met a guy in Nashville last year who is from Iceland. Every year, he runs a festival called Melodica over in Reykjavik. We applied and got accepted to play this year. It was really fun, and they took really good care of us. They put us in a house, and every night of the festival they had soup and beer for everyone! Everyone listened to everyone else’s set. There was no talking during performances and everyone supported everyone else, which was really nice.

OTM: Was this your first time in Iceland or had any you been there before?

NC: No, it was the first time for all of us, and we all loved it!

OTM: What’s the country like?

NC: It’s really cold, but the thing you notice is how clean it is as well. The streets seem so clean, and it’s literally like a breath of fresh air. There’s no litter or graffiti anywhere; there’s lovely murals on the walls… And they do nice fish and chips as well!

OTM: Did you play just one set while you were there? 

NC: They put on an open mic session for us to all get to know each other on the first night. That was probably more intimidating than the festival itself! Even then, they were listening really intently, so it was kind of nerve-wracking! But by the time we played our set on the Saturday night, we were relaxed, as we already knew everyone. And the rest of the time, it was karaoke at the local bar!

OTM: You’d go back then?

NC: Yes! We’d love to play again next year!

OTM: What’s your favourite song to play live?

NC: Well, at the minute there’s one called “One More For The Road”, and we like that one because we play it at the end of the set. It started off as a slow ballad that Karen wrote, and she brought it to Rob, and the more we played it live, the more it sped up! It’s like Fleetwood Mac double time towards the end.

OTM: Now you’re with the band, are you still playing as Naomi Campbell solo?

NC: I’ve not done original stuff by myself for ages, unless I’m asked to. It’s fun doing it with the band!

OTM: What’s next for Motel Sundown?

NC: We’ve got a single launch coming up for a song called “Chicago”. That will be exciting, as it will be our first release as a band!

Check out Naomi Campbell‘s and Motel Sundown‘s profiles to find out more, and drop us a line to book.