Episode 1: The January Lanterns
Andrew and Kristen Camp are the married duo who make up the band The January Lanterns. They came by KBIA's Studio B to play a set, and sat down with host Connor McGovern to chat about their latest album “For the Kids, When They’re Older,” released last January.
The couple have been friends since they were 15, performing in show choir and bonding as bus buddies throughout high school, but started releasing music as a band in 2017.
Their songs chronicle a tumultuous and soulful journey navigating young love, marriage and parenthood since their early 20s. They said they find peace and company in the music they share together. With keen intention behind their lyrics and a deep rooted love for music and each other, The January Lanterns brought a gentle stillness to KBIA’s Studio B.
Here are some highlights from the set and the conversation.
First up in their set, Kristen and Andrew performed "Preacher’s Room."
C. McGovern – I’m curious about your lyrics. They’re transparent and also vulnerable. So, is it hard to be that open and honest with your audience and give your listeners a peek behind the curtain of what life is like as the Camps?
A. Camp – I don’t look at it like it’s hard … I don’t care about ripping down the curtain, but I want what's behind the curtain to mean something to them. I don’t really feel shy about just being honest.
K. Camp – We’ve had such a positive response from our lyrics that I don't really feel nervous or scared. Because I do feel like it's such a strong connection. Even if you haven't gone through that specific, zoomed in moment in our lives, you probably can connect with the larger theme of the song in one way or the other. … It's really special to be able to connect, although it may not be with the exact story that we have. There's these larger themes of just being human and living this, you know, hard and beautiful life.
Following "Preacher’s Room," Kristen and Andrew performed "Faint Line."
K. Camp – We had a really low point in our marriage – we had a lot of trauma. We became parents at a really, really young age. I think we were 23, newly married and we did not know what to do. That’s where ‘Faint Line’ comes in—when we saw the pregnancy test and there was that line showing us “Yup, you’re gonna be parents! Your whole lives are changing.”
We went through a lot in those early years, and there was one point where I just looked at Andrew and went, “What do you want from me? I have nothing left to give.” We [were] just at our bitter end, and I thought he was going to list off all these things that he wanted me to do better or be better at, and instead he just said, “I want to get up and have coffee with you on the deck in the morning.”
I was totally shocked. And so we started getting up at 5 a.m., before all the kids woke up, and we started having coffee on the deck. And that is where The January Lanterns was born.
We started working through a lot of our trauma through songwriting – it came out really naturally. You know, there were some really hard moments in those early mornings, but we started working through a lot of it through song writing. We were like, "What if we just didn’t make this perfect and just did this music thing?" That’s where we started dreaming up the name for the band and what it would be about.
Up next: "Little Closer" details the love the Camps hold for each other through their shared trauma.
C. McGovern – What do you guys want this album to represent for your children?
A. Camp – We love the idea of the kids watching their mom and dad do something together [that’s] meaningful. … It will teach them to do things together themselves, or to do something that’s maybe hard. And so we just wanted to be that model for them. To show them, they can do hard things, they can do things that will take time, that require patience.
To finish their session, The January Lanterns closed with "Flyover Country."
C. McGovern – How come you guys decided to release the album [last January]?
K. Camp – Well, I have kind of a story behind that. We snuck away for our 10-year wedding anniversary to Flagstaff, Arizona. It's so beautiful. And we snuck away just Andrew and I. And it was really, really a special time to just remember our 10 years, you know, being married together. We've been through a lot. And there was this giant mountain that Andrew wanted me to climb. It was called [Humphreys Peak]. And it's the tallest mountain in Arizona.
A. Camp – When you think Arizona, you don’t think mountain.
K. Camp – Yeah, I was just thinking, "I don't know if I can do that. That's too scary." I have so much anxiety about it every day that we would look at the mountain and have like this big storm clouds surrounding it, because storms can just come in out of nowhere.
And so I really felt like that was a metaphor for this album. I was so scared to release it because it felt like the storms of life could just cut it off at any moment. You know, with everything with COVID, it's like things are getting better. No, they're not. They're definitely not. But through it all, we were able to climb to the top of mount Humphreys Peak. And it was so beautiful. And it was something that we got to do together. Nobody else did it for us. It was us, you know?
And so I think after we climb that mountain, we got back and we just really started talking about – let's just do this. It doesn't matter what storms of life come. We've got to just put it out there, it's important.