Jamie Campbell Bower is a man of many talents. He acts, models, writes but, of course, he’s also the frontman for rock outfit Counterfeit.
When they first appeared in 2015, and with debut album ‘Together We Are Stronger’, they held a wave of anger; clothed in leather jackets, tight haircuts and scowls that burned. This time around, Jamie and the rest of the band have decided that enough is enough.
“I’m excited to begin a new chapter of the band, and of my growth as a person,” he says excitedly. “I think by the end of the last cycle we were so exhausted from giving a strong, angry, almost negative energy, that we went through into a new thing that’s got a bit more joy and bit more hope and a bit more fun to it.”
He’s currently posted up in Yorkshire, a world away from his new home-base of Los Angeles. Eagerly prepping for Counterfeit’s upcoming tour, but more importantly, the release of new single ‘It Gets Better’.
There’s no more apt way to demonstrate that you’ve embraced a more positive outlook than a song that rouses as much as it offers advice and a reassuring pat on the back.
“When we started writing I was like ‘Man, I’m just really… sad?'” Jamie chuckles with disbelief in his voice. “I’m really sad with what’s going on in the world, and I need to try and pull myself out of this.”
“While [the debut] definitely had messages of positivity in it, it was very much self-absorbed and in itself,” he continues. “With [‘It Gets Better’], what I wanted to try and do is pull myself up and make myself more aware; to speak honestly and truthfully about the things that I’ve experienced and what it is that I’ve seen. What it means to be a person.”
Holding this concept tight in his palm, it became the voracious building blocks for the new era of Counterfeit; one that he’s more than happy to share because really, we’re all going through the same motions.
“That concept was important because on a personal level. No matter what I go through, or what I feel when I’m in the lowest depths of my person – this too shall pass.
“On a social level, my whole meaning of existence at the moment, including this band, is to try and unify people, to make them look at one another as people again.”
It’s why a Counterfeit show may appear to be an exorcism of sorts. Someone who professes to give “one-hundred per cent of who it is I am in any art form,” the tortured artist is by no stretch a character, but the dumping of all the emotional turmoil that Jamie feels at the time.
“I definitely can enjoy that role because it feeds into the negative parts of myself that I am very aware of but the journey that I’ve been on,” he says.
“I’ve always tried to be open and honest, particularly with those people who connect with the music and who come to the shows, so if I ever meet somebody and they want to talk about addiction or depression, they’re talking to somebody who understands what those things are, and the depths that those places can take you too, the places they can take you within yourself.
“Recently I was stood outside a hotel, getting into the character, and I had an actor say, ‘Are you alright, man?’ And I was like ‘I’m just in it, I’m just fucking in it’. He said, ‘You know, you don’t have to be the tortured artist? What you’re doing is entertainment’.
“And I said, ‘Yeah I do see that, and I do agree. There’s an element of entertainment to anything that’s in this industry. But my goal as an artist is to always be as truthful to myself as possible’. I’m never going to sit there and sing about something that I don’t believe in.”
Delving into the many facets of his life brings with it its own subliminal charge. “I try not to let it weigh on me, but I’m not sure I’m conscious of it… yet,” he smirks. “Perhaps I’ll become more conscious of it. I’m not sitting in as much pain as I used to, I’m moving forward from it with each day that passes, and that’s really enlightening for us.
“If I sit in that pain, and I’m in my ego, and all the bad parts of me, I’m like, I’m comfortable sure, but I’m actually really ‘uncomfortable’ because it’s painful. Happiness, joy, love and acceptance of yourself and accepting of our surroundings is uncomfortable.”
Not a rock star hiding in the shadows, Jamie’s ready to be the self-confessed “stroppy” figure who leans into the emotions and waves of life.
“I’m a sassy, theatrical motherfucker. I have no problem with that. I used to want to be the hard guy, the tough dude – I don’t care about that anymore,” he enthuses.
“I wanna me be! And camp! And theatrical! Be stroppy, loving, and giving and kind and just sharing that. I think that hopefully what this journey and this experience moving forward will give me and teach me is a real sense of myself, and just being okay with me. That’s what I want for everybody.”
With the second Counterfeit full-length fast approaching, Jamie wants it to encompass the same therapeutic feeling that he’s been discovering on his journey to this point.
“As the process goes on, I’m trying to put as much of myself in there as possible. Even with the artwork, I’ve created a character that’s based on a fucking teddy bear that I still have!” he chuckles. “He still travels the world with me, and his character is going to be a part of the world of Counterfeit!”
So, with all that, it would seem that Counterfeit – a name that itself implies a level a conscious imitation – are now the antithesis to that very word.
“Yeah, totally! Maybe it was… call it serendipity, call it foresight, call it whatever you want,” he ends with a husky laugh.
Taken from the October issue of Upset.