The line-up of the band changed several times over the years, but the constant member had been guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Roddy Frame. Founding members included Campbell Owens (bass) and Dave Mulholland (drums). Ex-Bluebells bassist Craig Gannon was a member from 1983 through 1985, before joining The Smiths. Guitarist Malcolm Ross (formerly of Josef K and Orange Juice) also joined in 1983, and appeared on the Knife album.
Aztec Camera first gained recognition as part of the Scottish post-punk scene along with bands like Orange Juice and Josef K, all of which released singles on the influential Glasgow-based label Postcard records. The band's first UK 7" single was released by Postcard in 1981, containing the songs "Just Like Gold" and "We Could Send Letters". The latter was included on the NME's C81 compilation, which pointed strongly towards the future C86 indie pop movement in the United Kingdom.
Though most commonly remembered generally as part of the 80s New Wave era, Aztec Camera has gone through numerous stylistic changes throughout their career, ranging from stripped-down, almost pastoral post-punk to slicker, more sophisticated pop rock as well as jazz and latin influenced acoustic ballads. As Roddy Frame's guitar playing has always been the signature of the band's music, guitar pop might be a more succinct description.
Aztec Camera's debut album, High Land, Hard Rain, was released in 1983. However, Owens and Mulholland left the group before the release, leaving Frame to complete the album alone. The album was quite successful, gathering significant critical acclaim for its well-crafted, multi-layered pop. The band went on to release a total of six albums, although most of these were essentially written and played by Frame. The albums included Knife (1984), Love (1987), Stray (1990), Dreamland (1993) and Frestonia (1995).
After the release of their sixth album, Frestonia, Frame finally dissolved the band to go solo.
A 'Best of' collection was released in 1999.