Music is what drives us at Play MPE, and our individual tastes are totally eclectic. From those who laud U2’s Joshua Tree as the best album ever made, to fans of a-bit-of-everything – whether it be screamo, hip-hop, disco, grime…or who exclusively listen to classical instrumental soundtracks while they plug away at their desk. Perhaps one of the more exuberant audiophiles on staff is also our newest, Florence Van Camerijk.
We all have very different origin stories here, so we perpetually ask the question – how’d you get into this racket?! ’I started working in record stores and playing in bands when I was a teenager in London, that eventually led to a job as Label Manager for [PIAS] (in London). When I moved to Vancouver back in 2018 I was determined to continue working in the music industry but found it quite difficult to break into the scene! Once I became a Permanent Resident some doors started opening and I’m super happy to now be part of the Play MPE team! I’m a real music nerd, and having worked as a recording and touring artist myself as well as on the inside of the industry, I feel I have a well rounded approach when it comes to understanding the needs of artists and labels in order to reach their desired goals.’
Pandemic shifts have wrought havoc on all of us in some way, but we’re rolling with the punches. One might speculate that the word ‘pivot’ has unexpectedly exploded in usage (right alongside Gamestop stock!) For musicians like Van Camerijk that means some disappointment that live shows have subsided. ‘I haven’t played…since I left London in 2018. I’m looking forward to venues opening up again. Invite me to your karaoke party – any time! I went to see Devours, Automatic and Shopping at The Biltmore in March 2020… SXSW had just been cancelled and no one knew how serious it was or what was going on in the world. It was the last time I saw some friends from back in London (Shopping) pre-pandemic. One week later we went into lockdown, so it’s extra memorable for that reason!’
The belief that music is valuable extends to the whole work culture at Play MPE, and there are always opportunities to merge music and work in our sphere. But it’s also fun to fantasize about the Ultimate Concert, and Florence has some thoughts on that: ‘I’d love to transport myself to LA in 1980, and go see the Gun Club at the Whisky a Go Go. It would be a hologram setting, everything as it was back then. Band and venue, all holograms, a fully immersive experience. Maybe even recreate the smell of the venue haha!’
If music can help us recollect smells, and fantasize about a not-so-sci-fi future, it can also help us create personal identity and style – or you know, at least keep us clothed. ‘I collect vintage band tshirts. Only from artists I love though! My most treasured ones are my 1987 Madonna t-shirt, 1988 Cure t-shirt and a 1989 Bangles t-shirt.’ If you’re a fan of that notorious Material Girl you should check out her bio-pic Truth or Dare, says Van Camerijk, it’s ‘beautifully filmed and hilarious.’
But Florence’s interests don’t stop at the music – she’s equally enthralled by the lived experiences of artists and their biographical tales. Pressed to pick a favourite, she cites Richard Hell’s ‘I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp’, Julian Cope’s (Teardrop Explodes) ‘Head On’ and Robert Forster’s (The Go-Betweens) ‘Grant & I’. Says Van Camerijk ‘All paint a great picture of time and place, memories are very well preserved, even though those memories are probably coated in a heavy layer of substance abuse!’Of course, with interests like these, it will come as no surprise she has an eye for memorabilia and oddities. ‘I’ve held onto a large piece of confetti with a poem on it from Kate Bush’s run of Hammersmith Apollo shows in 2014. That was spectacular.’
Finally, we asked Florence to paint a self-portrait using only genre categories, and her answers are pretty instructive: Post-Punk, Disco, Shoegaze, 80s Pop/New Wave and Minimal Wave. Those tastes are also reflected in her expansive vinyl collection; ranging from ‘60’s french ye-ye and girl groups, to 70s disco, punk and post punk, to 80s Pop, 90s grunge all the way into whatever I bought this week. Which was Spellling’s latest album ‘The Turning Wheel’ and ‘An Overview on Phenomenal Nature’ by Cassandra Jenkins.’
‘No genre is left unturned really! It’s my pension haha!’
Find Florence on IG to learn more.