Wyrd Question Daze: David Salisbury

Hello, my name is David Salisbury and I make weird melodic ambient music and cinematic dronescapes under the name Camp Of Wolves. The name comes from a town I lived in in the interior of British Columbia some years ago which served as a base for working across a very wide, sparlsey populated region. One theory as to the origins of the town name was said to have come from early French-Canadian fur traders in the area who marked it on a map as Camp des Loups. The mysterious and sinister translation of the name really stuck with me and became the inspiration for the project along with the abundant wilderness and brutal landscapes that I found myself in. I have been lucky enough to work with some amazing labels since then including Hotham Sound, Soundtracking the Void, Waxing Crescent and Woodford Halse as well as having a forthcoming album with the Castles in Space sub-library a little later this year. Out right now (as of Feb.24!) is my album Planetar with Subexotic Records, soundtracking a long, lonely and harrowing journey into the darkest corners of the cosmos that is accompanied by a feature length video done by my good friend Mark Holden (Invisible Plan).


Where did you come from and where are you going? 

I was born and raised in a somewhat infamous -at least locally- working-class city/ suburb just outside of Vancouver, BC (which is part of the inspiration behind my album Hills Of Cedar on Hotham Sound). Increasingly as I get older I hope to make the leap to our own little hobby farm or property out somewhere in that vast wilderness.

What preoccupies your mind these days?  

Unfortunately work seems to eat up far too much of my mental energy lately.

Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell. 

Taste – I’m a bit obsessed with a well made west-country style cider and those soft tannins that bite you a bit on the way down. I’ve been trying to make my own for years and picked up a few competitive medals along the way in doing so.

Touch – Dog fur. I have two, one with a plush silky coat and the other with a rough, frayed-rope-thats-been-years-at-sea like quality, they make for a great tactile contrast

Sound – Rain, rustling leaves and trees in the wind

Sight – My wife of course

Smell – Cedar, freshly cut or heated (burning/ cooked with/ saunas/ fences baking in the sun etc). It smells like home to me.

Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares

My dreams tend to be very cinematic or take place in some odd version of my childhood home and neighborhood I grew up in, never really both, but often quite vivid. One that really stands out to me is of the former. I was some small creature in a lab type setting (perhaps mogwai-like?). I was there against my will and it was heavily guarded. One of the guards had placed his helmet on a table. I crawled into it and slowly inched out of the facility unbeknownst to the people around me. I emerged in a crowded train, not dissimilar to the skytrain that cuts it’s way through Vancouver, but it was surrounded by a futuristic mixture of dense city and almost tropical foliage that we passed through. There was a boy who greeted me and I knew him somehow. Our reunification was wrought with emotion before realizing that we urgently needed to escape. He picked me up and pushed his way through the crowded train. Sure enough we were being pursued. We moved through, car after car, as fast as we could always just out of reach of them. Finally we reached the last car and could go no further. We knew being captured was a fate worse than death. We opened a door and leap.   

Have you ever had an uncanny experience? 

When I was about 18 or so I was out driving around with a few girls I knew from school. One of them had brought her younger sister who had in turn brought a oujia board. Sometime after midnight, out of sheer boredom, we decided to stop at a local park called Green Timbers (which, again, inspired an album of the same name I released with Waxing Crescent). We sat on the grass near the small lake and began to “summon a spirit” to talk to. Soon enough we were engaging in some sort of back and forth with something that vaguely indicated he was 16 and had died at the hand of a knife in that very park, let’s say with the initials AK. The eeriness of everything was heightened when each person withdrew their hands to prove they were not controlling the planchette much like I think most people do in this situation. With things getting all a bit too much we decided to say “goodbye”. The planchette with our hands on it kept sliding to “No” as the fear quickly slid into hysterics and tears for some. We decided to just pack up the board and walk back, stopping at a bench before realizing that it had a plaque bolted to it that said: In Memory of A… K… – matching our “visitors” initials. At that point we bolted back to our car. We pulled out into the long dark road through the forested area and began the drive home, being the only car on the street. Not long after with the stereo turned completely off, strange droney bass sounds started eminating from the speakers and the interior light went on and off on its own. As we approached one of the homes of the girl’s the car finally shut off and we slowly rolled to a stop on the side of a road. At this point we were in an area with some traffic around and I was eventually able to wave down a passerby to try to jumpstart the car’s battery, which did not work. Young and being in the pre-internet days, we had no choice but to continue the rest of the way to her house on foot to wake up her dad for some roadside assistance. En route someone had the idea of burning the cardboard ouija board in a park and we did before stomping it out and moving on. Finally we made it and awoke an angry, confused dad who was in disbelief at the story he was hearing. He drove us back to the car, connected jumper cables and wouldn’t you know it, the car started on the first try. Now I’m not a believer in these things and I put this all mostly down to a series of cooincidences, electrical malfunctions and things like the ideomotor effect… BUT you have to admit it’s a pretty weird!

How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself? 

As you might have guessed my sense of place is incredibly important in my creative process. I love the history of a place whether it’s of public record, familial or folkloric in nature… or any combination of these. The two are symbiotic and create the most wonderful atmosphere and world’s in which to tell real or imagined stories or even just soak up.

What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?

I was really inspired when I recently discovered Ernest Hood’s Neighborhoods and then Back to the Woodlands. So much beauty, playfulness, humour, atmosphere, its quite lovely and re-awoke an interest in field recordings for me. I don’t know if I will ever be able to capture a place and time like that musically but I certainly will try.

Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke

Hmm I’d love to tell a joke but I’m drawing a blank at the moment… I guess an entertaining story would be how I met my wife. Many years ago I was nearing my college graduation. I had planned a trip with two friends to fullfill a lifelong dream and backpack through the Amazon rainforest. When I get into something I tend to get a bit obsessive and this was no different. I started to take a deep dive on Brazilian music and decided to download some I had been extensively reading about from the peer-2-peer client Soulseek (not unlike Napster if you are unfamiliar with it). One Tropicalia collection particularly caught my interest and I randomly messaged the person. We struck up a conversation and over the intervening months the relationship blossomed. I soon found myself planning to visit her in Brazil before meeting up with my friends for our Amazonian excursion. Once there it felt like home as she showed me the sites, sounds and food of her culture and I got to know her. While visiting a swampy region in the interior together I managed to contract Dengue fever and became quickly incapacitated. Her family took me in and cared for me, I still have a distinct feverish memory of waking up to her grandma wiping my forehead with a wet cloth while I lay there in my underwear shivering, too sick to be embarrassed. Anyhow, I was nursed back to health and able to go on the trip with my friends in the end, with the whole experience acting as the catalyst to flying back and forth before she moved here and we got married 15+ years ago. I like to think of us as early adopters of internet dating haha.


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