Camp Cope

Camp Cope are an Australian alternative rock trio from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Founded in 2015, the group consists of singer, songwriter and guitarist Georgia “Georgia Maq” McDonald, lead bassist Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich, and drummer Sarah "Thomo" Thompson. Camp Cope are signed with independent Melbourne label Poison City Records - where Thompson also works,[1] and independent Boston label Run For Cover Records distributes their releases in North America and Europe.[2]

Camp Cope
Georgia Maq performs with Camp Cope at St Jerome's Laneway Festival, 2019
Background information
OriginMelbourne, Victoria, Australia
GenresAlternative rock, indie rock
Years active2015–present
LabelsRun for Cover, Poison City Records
Associated actsWürst Nürse, Kelso, TV Haze, Cayetana, Palmar Grasp, Razel
MembersGeorgia McDonald
Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich
Sarah Thompson

Their eponymous debut album, released in April 2016, reached the top 40 in the ARIA Albums Chart, and was nominated for a J Award for Australian Album of the Year.[3] They were also nominated in six categories at the inaugural National Live Music Awards and won the 'Heatseeker Award'.[4] Website Faster Louder choose Camp Cope's self-titled debut album as their Album of the Year for 2016.[5] The group also won Best Emerging Act at the 2016 The Age Music Victoria Awards.[6] In 2019, Happy Mag placed them at no.3 on their list of "The 15 Australian female artists changing the game right now".[7]

Camp Cope has been described as "part Courtney Barnett, part Juliana Hatfield",[8] and "melodic, uplifting and aching".[9] The band describes themselves as "power emo".[10]


As a regular of the Australian singer/songwriter circuit and with a handful of solo releases under her belt, McDonald decided to bring together Kelly-Dawn Hellmrich on bass and Sarah Thompson on drums to flesh out her solo project. Hellmrich had previously played in Sydney band Palmar Grasp, while Thompson had previously played in Brisbane band Razel. The band was named Camp Cope as a reference to Sydney beach Camp Cove, as Sydney native Hellmrich was feeling homesick.[11] The band played support slots with the likes of The Hotelier, Andrew Jackson Jihad, and Waxahatchee, as well as playing their own headline shows.[12]

The trio entered the studio, and by the end of the year had recorded their debut album with producer Sam Johnson. Released on Poison City in April 2016, their eight-track self-titled debut earned them critical acclaim and entered the ARIA albums chart at number 36.[12] "Lost: Season One", a single from the album referencing the television show Lost, was performed by Camp Cope for Like a Version in September 2016, along with a cover of "Maps" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.[13]

After a joint tour of Australia at the end of 2016 with Philadelphia's Cayetana, Poison City issued a limited split single that featured new material by both bands.[12]

In 2017 Camp Cope supported Against Me! and Modern Baseball on their Australian tours, toured the United States with Worriers, performed at the St Jerome's Laneway Festival and sold out two shows in the Drama Theatre at the Sydney Opera House. At the end of the year, they returned to the studio to record their sophomore album.[12]

The band's second studio album, How to Socialise & Make Friends, was released on 2 March 2018 by Poison City Records and Run for Cover Records.[12] In June and July 2018, they took part in their second United States tour, co-headlining with Run For Cover label mate Petal.[14] In late August and early September 2018 they undertook a partial UK and European tour with English band Caves.[15]

In early February 2019, Camp Cope announced their first North American headlining tour starting in April,[16] supported by Thin Lips, Oceanator and An Horse.[17] On this tour, Maq has started playing a new unreleased song.[18] In September 2019, they will embark on a UK tour with post-punk band Witching Waves[19].

Other ventures

Side projects

All members of Camp Cope have been involved in other bands. Hellmrich currently plays in indie-pop band Kelso, with Gab Strum of Japanese Wallpaper and Xavier Rubetzki Noonan of Self Talk.[20] Self-described as 'cute weird songs for cute weird people', Kelso has released several singles from 2017-2019.[21]

McDonald was the vocalist for nurse punk band Würst Nürse, and appeared on debut EP Hot Hot Hot.[22] However, she left the band in November 2018 after several vocal surgeries.[23]

On December 5th 2019, McDonald released her first solo album, Pleaser, a pop record which she has described as "Paul Westerberg meets Robyn"[24].

Thompson plays drums in Melbourne indie rock band TV Haze,[25] which has released three albums since 2016.[26]


In 2016, Camp Cope led a campaign dedicated to preventing and reporting incidents at concerts and festivals called It Takes One. Through this, they put out t-shirts saying 'The Person Wearing This T-shirt Stands Against Sexual Assault And Demands A Change.' Many other artists such as Courtney Barnett, Chris Farren, DZ Deathrays, Ecca Vandal, Dune Rats and Alex Lahey have worn the shirt in support.[27]

While playing the Falls Festival in 2017, Camp Cope changed the lyrics of their song "The Opener" to reflect the lack of female artists playing the festival.[28]

In 2019, McDonald accused ex-boyfriend Wil Wagner—frontman of the Smith Street Band—of emotional abuse.[29]

Musical style

Camp Cope is known for McDonald's powerful voice, Hellmrich's distinctive basslines, and Thompson's 'steady, stoic drumming'[30][31]. They have been described as 'rough, minimal rock [with] a punk edge'[32], and the lyrics 'articulate human entanglements with a lack of sentimentality that belies how much [McDonald] cares'[33]. Songs are initially written by McDonald, who then sends a 'crappy phone recording' to Hellmrich and Thompson, before they all come together and create the finished song[34].


Camp Cope has been influenced by many bands, such as Philadelphia indie rock bands Hop Along, and Cayetana, which were the records they gave their engineer before recording How to Socialise & Make Friends. Bassist Hellmrich is also influenced by Peter Hook - bass player for Joy Division - and Mark Hoppus - bass player for Blink-182.


Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title Album details Peak chart positions
Camp Cope
  • Released: 22 April 2016
  • Label: Poison City Records (PCR120CD)
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download
How to Socialise & Make Friends
  • Released: 2 March 2018
  • Label: Poison City Records (PCR150CD)
  • Format: CD, LP, digital download, streaming


List of Extended Plays
Title Album details
Camp Cope / Cayetana
(with Cayetana)
  • Released: 20 January 2017 [36]
  • Label: Poison City Records
  • Format: digital download, streaming
Camp Cope On Audiotree Live
  • Released: 15 August 2017 [37]
  • Label: Poison City Records
  • Format: digital download, streaming


Year Title Album
2016 "Lost (Season One)" Camp Cope
"Jet Fuel Can't Melt Steel Beams"
"Keep Growing" Camp Cope / Cayetana Split
2017 "The Opener" How to Socialise & Make Friends
2018 "How to Socialise & Make Friends"

Music videos

Year Album Title Director Reference
2016 Camp Cope "Lost (Season One)" Anoushka Wootton [38]
"Done" Paul Voge [39]
2018 How To Socialise & Make Friends "The Opener" VERSUS [40]
"Sagan-Indiana" Anoushka Wootton


  1. Mathieson, Craig (15 February 2017). "Camp Cope say it's their way and the highway". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  2. "Run For Cover Records". Run For Cover Records. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  3. Greg Moskovitch (12 October 2016). "THE SONG TRIPLE J WOULDN'T LET CAMP COPE COVER FOR LIKE A VERSION". Tonedeaf. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  4. "The results are in… here are your winners of the inaugural National Live Music Awards! – National Live Music Awards". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. "The 50 best albums of 2016". 8 December 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  6. Mike Hohnen (17 November 2016). "King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Dominate 2016 The Age Music Victoria Awards". Music Feeds. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  7. "The 15 Australian female artists changing the game right now". Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  8. Mikey Cahill (21 April 2016). "Latest Album Reviews: Paul Kelly, Dami Im, Paul Young, A$AP Ferg & Camp Cope". Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  9. Oliver Pelling (27 April 2016). "Camp Cope: Camp Cope". Rolling Stone Australia. Archived from the original on 25 December 2016. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  10. vuitton, spewey (10 May 2019). "camp cope's genre is "power emo"". @GeorgiaMaq. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  11. Story, It's A. Long. "Kelly-Dawn Helmrich | Camp Cope – It's A Long Story – Podcast". Podtail. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  12. Wilson, Rich. "Camp Cope Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  13. Triple J (23 September 2016). "Like A Version: Camp Cope - Maps". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  14. "Camp Cope & Petal announce US summer tour". BrooklynVegan. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  15. "Camp Cope Announce Debut UK/European Tour". DIY. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2018.
  17. "CAMP COPE on Instagram: "very excited to have some of our favourite mates and favourite bands coming along this april and may 🎉❤️ @oceanatorband, @anhorse, &…"". Instagram. Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  18. "Camp Cope Setlist at Neurolux, Boise". Retrieved 21 May 2019.
  19., Giraffic Themes |. "UK mates - CAMP COPE are returning this Septmeber..." Retrieved 26 August 2019.
  20. "Premiere: Kelso return with special new single, Oh God There Is So Much Love In Me". PILERATS. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  21. "Kelso, by Kelso". Kelso. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  22. "Würst Nürse". Würst Nürse. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  23. "GEORGIA MAQ?! on Instagram: "hey everyone. today i say goodbye to würst nürse. it has been advised that after three vocal surgeries in six months, that i should no…"". Instagram. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  24. "How Camp Cope's Georgia Maq made Pleaser, her debut solo album". The FADER. Retrieved 5 December 2019.
  25. "TV HAZE 'S/t' LP". POISON CITY RECORDS. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  26. "TV HAZE". TV HAZE. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  27. Butler, Josh (8 January 2018). "Aussie Musicians Stood Against Sexual Assault At A Music Festival This Weekend". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  28. Hennessy, Kate (8 March 2018). "'You expect us not to call you out?' – Camp Cope and the Australian musicians fighting industry sexism". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  29. "Camp Cope's Georgia Maq Reveals Herself As One Of Wil Wagner's Accusers". Music Feeds. 26 February 2019. Retrieved 4 July 2019.
  30. "Camp Cope: How to Socialise & Make Friends". Pitchfork. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  31. "Album of the Week: Camp Cope, 'How To Socialise And Make Friends'". The Industry Observer. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  32. "Review: Camp Cope, 'How To Socialise & Make Friends'". Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  33. "Review: Camp Cope, 'How to Socialise & Make Friends'". Spin. 15 March 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  34. "A conversation with Camp Cope: we discuss the band's new album, their involvement with #TimesUp, getting matching band tattoos and more". The 405. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  35. Hung, Steffen. " - Camp Cope - Camp Cope". Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  36. "Split EP". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  37. "Camp Cope On Audiotree Live EP". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  38. Camp Cope (26 January 2016). "Camp Cope - Lost: Season One (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  39. Camp Cope (9 June 2016). "Camp Cope - Done (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  40. Camp Cope (11 January 2018). "Camp Cope - The Opener (Official Music Video)". Sydney Opera House Music. Retrieved 28 March 2018 via YouTube.
  41. Poison City Records (8 November 2018), Camp Cope - Sagan-Indiana (Official Music Video), retrieved 28 February 2019
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