As an actor, model and the frontman of fast-rising UK rockers Counterfeit, Jamie Campbell Bower is a man who has traveled a lot. Having featured in both the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises as well as a slew of Hollywood and European films, the 28-year-old Brit has spent a great deal of time shooting on location in far-flung places while his band has torn up stages across Europe. Add to this a passion for surfing and the fact he has enthusiasm to burn, and it’s no wonder his passport is bulging with stamps—and his devout love of music has meant only the best tunes have accompanied his adventures.
1. ‘Emily’—Lower Than Atlantis
I work for a charity in Hong Kong called FilmAid and I travel there once or twice a year to do fundraising events. On one trip I was fortunate enough to travel to a refugee camp they work with on the Thai-Burmese border, which was a very moving experience. Lower Than Atlantis’ self-titled album had just come out at the time, and that whole trip my friend and I were blaring it as much as we could. Thinking about it, I feel terrible that I don’t actually know an Emily! I’ve met some, of course, but I feel like I should have a close friend named Emily so it could hold even greater significance for me.
When I was a kid my mum introduced me to this Danish band Kashmir, who are massive in Denmark, and they’ve been a big part of my life ever since. I went to Shanghai with my girlfriend about three years ago for work, which was the first time we’d traveled so far together, and we stayed in a beautiful hotel and had a really nice time. Melpomene is kind of ‘our song.’ On our last day it was raining while we were packing for the trip home, and I put it on and it was a real moment for us. It was beautiful.
3. ‘Crazy Amanda Bunkface’—Sum 41
I was in Africa in 2009 [shooting a miniseries] and this song was consistently played over the two and a half to three months I was in Namibia, and stayed in heavy rotation when we moved on to Cape Town. They’re vastly different places—the former is just desert, while the latter is this crazy, beautiful and wild place, and of course I got some surfing in. For some reason, at that point in my life I wanted to listen to lots of angry pop-punk. I’m sure Sum 41 would hate me calling them pop-punk, but regardless this song made me really happy at the time!
4. ‘Small Town Big Time’—Blake Shelton
I was on a press tour in the US, and what I love about short domestic flights is that the in-flight entertainment is basically a new music library with stuff you haven’t listened to on your iPod a thousand times. I always find that emotions are heightened in the air, and songs that would mean nothing to you on the ground mean so much in this setting. I found this song and was totally jamming out in my seat! I was having a great time, and moments like that—random as they are—are always kind of awesome.
5. ‘When the Ship Goes Down’—Cypress Hill
I used to be in another band with two of the Counterfeit guys, and we played some showcases in LA. While we were there, we decided it would be really wise to rent a car—which was actually the dumbest thing ever, because none of us had driven in America before and for some reason people in that city don’t know how to use a steering wheel! Regardless, we decided to drive to the beach in this massive SUV. We were rolling along the freeway blasting this song, and as long as the windows stayed up we looked like gangstas. As soon as they came down it was a very different picture, indeed!
6. ‘Saint Veronika’—Billy Talent
This song always reminds me of being in Berlin. Billy Talent are huge in Germany, and I remember seeing the video for this late one night on German MTV—and big up to them for putting on some decent tunes! The city is a very interesting place; I had never spent much time there before, and we shot through the winter and into the summer so I had some time to really get into it. It was a heavy shoot with very long days but I loved being there, and the difference between the hard winter and the vibrant, open and warm city it becomes in the summer only made me love it more.
7. ‘Alice’—Tom Waits
I got super into Nick Cave at school through a friend of mine, but I wanted my own damaged songwriter-poet-actor kind of guy, and when I was 14 or 15 I discovered Tom Waits. I was watching the film Short Cuts and wanted to know more about this guy, and I started listening to him and reading about him and loving everything I encountered. I was in Salt Lake City at one point, and the day before I flew back I was having a smoke outside the hotel. It was cold and dark and so America, and I put this song on my iPod and it made me feel so very warm.
8. ‘Hold Fire’—Counterfeit
We had to drive overnight from London to Amsterdam for a show, and our van broke down on the side of the road in Belgium. We were freaking out but ultimately managed to get back on the road, only to arrive at the venue as the support band played the last chord of their last song, and everything went mental as we tried to set up as fast as we could. We opened with this song, and having been so frantic it unleashed this unreal energy that I got caught up in, and within moments I climbed onto the bar and then up into the rafters. There was this insane moment of clarity where I was thinking, ‘We walked in 15 minutes ago and I’m already up here—what the hell is going on!?’
9. ‘Black Eyes’—Gallows
I was shooting a movie in Vancouver where I had to play a really nasty guy, and I would psych myself up every day by listening to the second Gallows record, and particularly this song. I would get pumped to it! Frank Carter’s delivery as he snarls out his vocals is so very, very mean. Because I was working I didn’t have the chance to get up a mountain, as I had hoped to while I was there, but I loved the city. Gastown still had that gritty element at the time. There were loads of weird secondhand stores, and it was just a beautiful place to be.
10. ‘Breathe’—The Prodigy
I’ve had a lot of amazing moments at festivals. One that comes to mind is seeing The Strokes play ‘Last Nite’ at V Festival, and seeing The Prodigy at the Isle of Wight Festival when I was 17 was kind of like a religious experience. It gets so packed and tight in the crowd, and what’s happening on the stage is a visual and sonic onslaught that you can’t get away from even if you want to. Being that age, you just want to have a great time with everyone else, and then seeing a show of that scale in the midst of that is life-changing. It really is.
11. ‘Can You Feel My Heart?’—Bring Me The Horizon
Any song from Bring Me The Horizon’s Sempiternal is always going to take me back to a trip I made to Bali not long after that album came out. I was there for a surfing expedition, and that album soundtracked my time in the country. I stayed on an island about 40 minutes from the Bali mainland. The beach was right on the doorstep; it was paradise, really. Before I get in the water, if I want to really thrash it, I’ll psych myself up with something heavy like this. But of course we all have our Jack Johnson days too. It’s nothing to be proud of, but we all have them!