Regret is a powerful thing. It’s not that Jameson Ghalioungui of Camp Edwards feels stifled by regret, but the wondering “what if?” does drive the title track on the band’s new EP “Beloit,” out today on all streaming services.
What started as a senior songwriting project while Ghalioungui, the band’s lead songwriter, was finishing his final year as a biochemistry and music double major at Beloit College turned into a full-blown band. Having played with his brother Marshall at Rock Academy during high school, he hadn’t ever really been in a formal band.
“I found songwriting really fun and rewarding in ways that the biochem degree was not,” he said. “It was my creative outlet.”
Even though he had been playing with some musicians at school, he brought his songs to his Downers Grove hometown and brought Camp Edwards to life with his brother and their friends Johnny Niebauer and Charlie Michka.
“We got back from school and started trucking with the new songs,” he said.
The five tracks on the EP, led off by the poignant title piece, put Ghalioungui’s thoughts about his college experience into words.
“The songs are lyrically about a darker time,” he explained. “About leaving Beloit College, but maybe you’re not ready to leave. You’re reflecting.”
“I spent the better part of three years living in one area. I was a fraternity person, and that’s all I did. I didn’t branch out and try other things,” he said about the lead track. “There’s a music house, and an art house … if you’re interested in all that, like if you want to be a part of a club. And I wish I had moved into the music house. That could have been the house where I could have had a better creative outlet.”
The song is a pensive piece about different paths life can take and missing what one found too late.
“I didn’t start songwriting until senior year,” he said. “I did it all at the tail end really quickly. Why didn’t I figure that out earlier?”
But don’t be mistaken — Camp Edwards is anything but an emo band. “I generalize us as indie rock,” Ghalioungui said. “But it’s just me trying to make songs. I’m trying to get a feeling out there, and I don’t always know what genre it’s going to be.”
The five songs on the EP give the young band room to grow into what it’s supposed to become. It tests its muscles on the questioning “Beloit.” It wades through a more mellow groove on “Waiting.” It plays with a more intense energy on the fun “Another Round.” It cherishes its freedom.
Ghalioungui has a lot to say, and not labeling his band yet gives him the flexibility to feel all that his newfound musical life has to offer.
The band, whose last show show was a DIY extravaganza they set up at the American Football house in Urbana, Illinois, celebrates the new release Saturday, Nov. 30, at Elmwood Park’s CT House with Earth Program, Superkick and Dumb House.
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Camp Edwards EP release show with Earth Program, Superkick and Dumb House
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30
Where: CT House, Elmwood Park – Message band members for address information
Tickets: $10 at the door; all attendees also get a download code for the band’s new “Beloit” EP