Having just completed a coast to coast tour of North America, Camera Obscura are taking a short break before hitting the festival circuit in Europe this summer. Camera Obscura will be bringing their “heartfelt, bittersweet, cerebral pop music”, as Vic put it, to Ireland, France and Sweden. And the band are already planning a more extensive tour in Europe for the autumn.

What’s changing the fortunes of Camera Obscura is the relationship with their Swedish producer, Jari Haapalainen, or “wee Gary” as he is known to the band. He has given them the confidence they need, realised their lush, produced sound, and made Campbell understand that she is most definitely a singer. Haapalainen produced their last breakthrough album, returned for this one, and has become a kind of Lee Hazlewood to her Nancy Sinatra. “He came along and blew the cobwebs off,” says Campbell. “You can’t regret what you’ve done in the past but I wonder if we had made the first two albums with someone like him around what they might have sounded like.”

Twelve years on, it’s finally starting to happen. They recently signed to a UK label for the first time, the legendary 4AD. Their popularity in the US has been followed by success in Taiwan, Indonesia, Singapore, South America, and, yes, now Britain. “I love reading about bands that have broken America and then we go and play bigger venues than them,” says Campbell with a smile.

Two months ago they finally became a full-time band. This, for Campbell, is what constitutes success for Camera Obscura. She gave up work two years ago, but it has taken longer for the rest of the band to follow suit. “You’re almost not a real band when you’re still working,” she says. “Our drummer says he felt like Superman. We would go away on tour, play all these massive gigs where people were running down the street after us, and then come home to Glasgow where he would put on his suit and go back to work. Now, we can say this is what we do.”

The Scotsman, April 12, 2009

Tour dates below.