• Hawke's Bay Compilation Record Showcase - Campbell Burns

Hawke's Bay Compilation Record Showcase - Campbell Burns

Campbell Burns has taken his sound around the world and now Hawke’s Bay is lucky to have his music grace stages and help those across the community.

Burns plays several instruments, including guitar, base and drums, however his music is not limited to just playing. His talents stretch across many platforms including making sound artworks that are featured at the Hastings Gallery and MTG.

Growing up in Sydney, Burns' interest for music started at the young age of 14 with his father, Andy Burns, who is also a musician.

“I've always sort of been around it and it's alway sort of been there as a possibility as a lifestyle, just because I was around him.”

Burns' music has allowed him to travel and live across the world including in Asia and Africa, however, his career started out in his hometown of Sydney.

“I played in obscure middle bands over there for a lot of years and generally sort of in the sort of grunge, post grunge kind of scene in Sydney”

His sound is something he has been trying to define ever since he first started. 

“You have to find a way of blinkering yourself otherwise you can spiral off into a thousand different directions.

“I often was quite jealous of people who seem so sure of this one or two particular styles of music, “I've spent a lot of my musical life jumping back and forth between all sorts of different things.”

However despite his music journey proving to be quite remarkable, it wasn't something that was written in the stars.

“I didn't really lean into it until probably the last year of high school when I thought, ‘okay, f*** it’, I’m just gonna go to uni and when I ran out of ideas of what I was going to do next, I thought - ok I'm going to go study music.”

Despite struggling with the theoretical side of University, Burns is now able to apply his knowledge accrued from experience and apply that to his current role at the Mangaroa Prison.

Burns teaches Music Production and says the way the prisoners view the music and sounds is similar to his own creative understanding.

“Even though some of the guys don't really know instruments when we’re going through sounds and stuff like that they have very strong opinions about what they like and don't like”

Burns is to be featured on the Hawke’s Bay Compilation Record with his song Water, after hearing about it at the Cabana. 

“I actually wrote this song for the compilation. It was one of those things I had it in my calendar saying ok due date, oh yea I'll write something, I'll write something , I'll write something, and of course didn't write anything until the very last moment”

While this process may not be to everyone's taste, Burns says it is how he works best and has created some of his best work using this technique. 

“It's a song about looking internally and the processes of inward investigation”

Saying that the song is about “Dipping into an unsure place”, questioning your motives behind things and questioning the things you do and why you do them and what is behind those decisions.

“So the songs called the water, and the water to me really is more about the emotional landscape and how things can always move and change and you can't always lock it down I suppose that what the song is about” 

Burns describes the sound of this song to be one very fitting for Hawke’s Bay.

“Its kinda chill I supposed kind of down tempo and chill” 

Burns describes it as something simple and stripped back from what he has done in the past

With his song writing process all about finding the chords first then “Trying to catch butterflies” 

“It's been a full cycle so for me to come back and write a song like this which is three simple chords on a piano and it feels like a full circle thing”

The piano has featured heavily as an influence in the song, as he describes the process for discovering the perfect sound for ‘Water’.

“I just found a piano sound that sort of sounded like a really beaten up old piano recorded in the 1920s and I just sort of took it from that one piano sound and just sort of followed my nose”

Being able to simplify the sound of his music is something that Burns views as a progression of his musical abilities. 

As he describes that 15 years ago he would never have used the less is more model for creating his desired sound.

A challenge faced by Burns is being able to turn off the analytical part of his brain and appreciate the music for what it is and not what it is made up of.

“ A lot of musicians aren't good listeners.”

"The main thing of it, is it's just meant to be a vibe song, it's not very hooky,”

“It's hard to be objective about your own songs but I suppose that was just about trying to just catch some feelings, sort of a moody kind of feeling” 

Burns not only writes and produces his own original music but also plays covers of popular songs at gigs across Hawke’s Bay.

However he has big goals of setting up another band, to write, play guitar and to be able to perform with his 14 year old boy.

“My old band broke up a little while ago so just been moving some furniture around in my head trying to work out what I think the next band wants to sound like I've sort of just started getting a picture in my head.”

“I'm just having a renaissance of falling back in love with the guitar again which has been nice”.

“I'm not a young fulla anymore so in some ways it's about rediscovering why you do these things in the first place so for me it's about reconnecting with the instrument and me and my son are going to be working together.”

Campbell has recently returned to music following a time in his life where he was a stay at home dad.

“I thinks its quite hard trying and putting so much of yourself into a certain industry that is so changeable all the time and so it's only now I've come back to it and I can do music again”

Campbell tells fans to stay tuned as he plans to create and release a whole lot of new music.

The Hawke’s Bay Compilation Record- Under the Sun, Vol. 2 was produced by Backline Charitable Trust. 

This record would not have been produced without the help of additional funding through Lion foundation, EIT Te Pukenga (Ideaschool) and Aramex.

There is an event being held at Paisley Stage, Napier to celebrate the completion of the vinyl. It will be on 23rd March 2023. 

For more information about this event, and about our local musicians check out the Hawke’s Bay Music Hub website and Facebook page.