Hal Camplin came to Bristol via an operation on his spine in New York to form a band with ex-Chronics frontman Jimmy Barnett.
They setup a gambling company called The Flying Foal instead. When Barnett was taken into care, Camplin set up an arts space in 2002 called Kangaroo Kourt where he recorded in a floorless loft studio. He helped develop a new performance scene with local poets and graffiti artists.
Badgertrap is the purest and most lunatic black humour you'll ever come across.
Spare Velvet-like chords provide the bedding for wry Richman-echoing songs with ace lines like : “We can get married wherever we like, we just can’t have sex in Nebraska because you’re 13 and I’m 21. And also you’re my sister so all our children will be blue.”
-Julian Owen of Venue magazine, Bristol UK
An Interview with the artist, musician and founder of Kangaroo Kourt, Hal Camplin. Summer 06.
So you set up an art space in 2002, can you tell us a bit about how it developed into Kangaroo Kourt?
2001 Just after Sept. 11th I returned from New York after an operation on my spine and started a horse racing
betting line business in Bristol (after leaving London). We named our business HQ Kangaroo Kourt and put a slate
sign up outside the house I was renting with others in north Bristol off the Gloucester rd (I was on good terms
with the house owner).
2002 I tidied up my front room where I was living in Bristol and advertised for artists and boarded up the windows to show a cinecam projection.
2003 I put on about seven shows, many with stencil graffiti some with installation.
2004 I started a group called SWALC (South West Artists’ Little Cartel) with eight artists such as Peter Hunter and gHOSTbOY.
2005 I conceived The Dead Inventive, a show about inventions that didn’t work (were unmarketable!) and put on some live art shows with artists from around the UK. SWALC then became Kangaroo Kourt because it made communications easier.
2006 A cat called Larry, born round the corner from Kangaroo Kourt, had shown an interest in making art so I decided he should have his own show. I invited artists I knew and artists I didn’t to get involved in Moggy Marks:a collaboration with cat artist Larry.
Do you have some kind of manifesto?
We have no manifesto- except we believe that art is a doing thing which is really what the DIY art scene is all about- just getting your arse in gear and doing things for yourself worrying little about the consequences (time,money, tears, aches and pains)
Who do you respect, who would you consider to be your role model?
People I haven’t stopped repecting yet for their dry, dark and surreal humour (and would like to be) include
Mark E Smith, a songwriter called John Darnielle ( The Mountatin Goats), Bill Murray and the stand up comedian
I was reading the list of your musical influences on myspace, it is similar to mine except for a lack of The
(I’ve got Mark E Smith though…)
Funny you mention it – as I also play in band called The Great Admirers whose lead singer (Pat Reid ) wrote a book
on Morrissey- and I have actually been listening to them quite a bit very recently. But the reason for the omission is that they hold bad memories for me. I used to fancy a red-head at art college who loved Morrissey – just as it seemed she was interested in me one time we were out clubbing I accidently snogged her friend and then she went off with a Morrissey look alike.
Badgers seem to be a reoccurring theme in the life of my co editor, they tend to pop up at quite frequent intervals, tell us something about the laconic badger trap, what's with the name?
My grandad gave me a stuffed badger when I was really young (instead of a teddy bear perhaps) and so it has felt
like my particular animal. The black and white seemed to suit any image and graphics I wanted to create so it felt
right. But I had read of acts called the badger this and that so I skewed it to be the trap rather than the badger, particularly as I was getting into the National Badger Groups’ politics ( to do with culling of badgers who farmers’ suspect of giving their cattle TB). And laconic which I read to be curt or rude sort of summed up how I wanted my songs to sound and how I often behave when I get excited according to most women who know me well. And there continues to be a stream of ‘The’ bands- so I thought it was funny to put that in especially as I am essentially a one man band- and a lot of radio presenters assume I am a whole band just because I don’t just use my own name for the act.