Makeshift Innocence looks to cash in on big payday
Band eyes $200,000 prize for radio contest to be hosted at The Hub
Makeshift Innocence is a local roots-rock-reggae band that has been gaining momentum in Calgary and all over Canada in the last couple years.
The band will be competing a second time in the Amp Radio Rock Star Finals on Feb. 4 at Mount Royal’s Wyckham House for a grand prize of $200,000 toward their music career according to the competition rules.
The first time the band competed they took home second place. This time around the band’s frontman, Jesse James Cameron, hopes they can take it all.
“Our city’s warmed up,” he said. “We’ve been blessed with a lot of good fans and a lot of great friends here, so I think this year will be different.”
The band is in a very different place from where they were even a few years ago. Cameron said the band has recently signed a major publishing deal in Los Angeles, CA, though Cameron said they plan to stay in Calgary.
“We want to be home grown, we don’t want to just take off from the city,” he said. “But, ultimately, I’d like to spend a lot of the time in the winter in Los Angeles.”
Cameron is an avid supporter of Calgary’s music scene, saying there are many good bands out there and it’s gaining momentum. He even went as far as to defend the infamous Alberta-born rock band, Nickelback.
“People hate on them, but they’re one of the biggest bands in the world,” he said. “People give so much credit to the Calgary Flames even when they suck, but they can’t give credit to their music scene when they succeed. It’s like winning the Stanley Cup and being booed.”
Makeshift Innocence has also recently put out their second studio album entitled Yours To Keep, which differs greatly from their first album, Between Heaven and Hell.
“Yours To Keep is a completely different line up of people, and it’s professionally produced,” Cameron said. “Professionally mixed and mastered.
“The first record was a $500 record, live off the floor and made within eight hours. This record took a year to really make it and we had some amazing people in the studio helping us out.”
One thing that hasn’t changed between records is that Cameron has generally remained the band’s leader.
“I have been primarily the vision. I do all the writing.”
However he added that his bassist, Tammy Amstutz, has been more deeply involved recently.
“She’s on board,” he said. “She’s the other half of everything right now.”
The first single from the new album “All You Need Is Love,” is a very personal song to Cameron. It’s a plea for his estranged mom to come back, he explained.
“It was like, ‘I love you and the best things about me come from you. I want you to know that so you can come back to this part of my life,’” Cameron said.
Cameron admitted to getting extremely emotional while performing it on stage.
“The first time I ever played it live I started crying because that song is so personal to me,” he said. “When it came to the chorus I couldn’t even sing it. I live in that moment so deeply and I couldn’t sing those words. I was paralyzed.”
“I turn around (on stage) and I’m like, ‘I can’t sing it,’ and behind me there’s this roar. This sea of people is singing it and I’m like, ‘holy shit.’
“It’s a powerful moment.”
He spoke of playing live as an incredible experience.
“You’re naked, you’re completely transparent. You have to sing your songs, you have to lay them out for people and be judged. Doesn’t matter how many people, whether it’s one or 1000—every single person has eyes on you and they’re tearing you apart.
“They’re either going to love you or hate you and that moment on stage when they accept you, that’s the only time in my life that I’ve ever felt completely embraced by people.”