Though its painfully obvious that every band has a finite life time, even if a lot of them aren’t willing to accept that, it hadn’t ever really occurred to me that I’d be at the final Funeral for a Friend shows. They were technically the first “big” band I ever saw live (when they opened for Iron Maiden back in the day to the typical open minded response associated with metal fans: i.e. not open minded) and I’m genuinely sad to see them go.
I don’t have anything as trite or cliche to offer as “this band changed my life” or “this band saved me” or “I got their logo tattooed on my left ass check cause they really speak to me bro” but…I listened to this band, and particularly the two albums they chose to showcase at these farewell shows, a whole lot. Presumably hours logged counts for something. (See what I did there?)
Tour is a strong word for 4 days away I grant you, but if I don’t use strong words to try and look cool then I’m out the game. Not a chance my natural good looks, wit and charm are going to cast that particular illusion.
Anyway, self-deprecation and procrastination aside, I went on what we’ll call a tour for the first time in November with who I feel I can legitimately call my bros in Swallows. The fine gentleman in the band were kind enough to invite me along to take photos and video of the tour. I guess they were just used to playing with my lens in their faces by this point and it’d throw them off if that wasn’t the case. So naturally I took up the offer with a tremendously enthusiastic, “Sure, why not?”
I’m a photographer in so much as I have a camera and people are lucky enough to let me take photos of them and I often get something in return for my work. For my money, that’s the definition of success as a photographer.
That said, 2015 brought me a bit more than I had before: it let me shoot a music festival and tour for the first time ever. I literally got to use a hobby that’s become a ferociously burning passion to travel the country. That’s ludicrous. And so awesome I don’t even have the words.
So here’s a selection of some of my favorite photographs I’ve taken this year a little bit about them, for photo geeks and non-geeks alike.
I’d also like to take this time to thank everyone who’s supported me in anyway, or given me any opportunity, to take photographs in 2015. You’ve been instrumental in what I’m calling “my success.” If you’d like to help me do the same in the coming year I’ll probably buy you a drink or something.
If you’re so inclined you can follow me on social:
This is how punk rock is supposed to sound: ferocious and unforgiving and with raw intensity. That sort of approach seems to have been lost amongst a sea of stylish hair cuts for a lot of bands. Thankfully, bands like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes provide a much needed violent head shave to that kind of music.
The music business is only insincere if you buy into the idea that business side of it is an after thought to its artistic motivations. If you look at it is a business, just one that by and large has a pretty creative output, it’s as sincere as any kind of business can be.
The fact that sales matter, downloading is stealing, image does count for a lot and that perception is just as important as a great record doesn’t detract from the quality of the best music. It’s just how time has forced us to consume it.
Pop music is awesome. I was going to write it always has been…but that isn’t true recently. Because pop is now a genre when once it just meant music that was popular. Music that was in some way accessible to a lot of people.
I’d love to say I miss the days when chart music was simply a measurement of what artists sold the most records that week and not of who had the largest team at the major label, but I don’t. I’m told by people with even more grey in their beards than I have that it was the case once upon a time.
Thrice came back this year. Which if you’re a blubing Thrice fan-boy, or lady, like myself is among the best of the best news. I love that band. I love the odd born again Christian undertones of the latter-day material a lot less, but the tunes are bangin’ right? So I can just pretend they’re deep and personal esoteric metaphors instead.
But Thrice went onto hiatus in the first place because they felt creatively spent and full-time touring is exhausting, debilitating and expensive. Now they’re back and obviously getting offered lovely wads of cash for exclusive festival appearances, like Hevy, and short tours. Does that dilute their legacy of being a fiercely creative band with punk rock roots?
Probably. But I can’t say I care.
I’m not a massive fan of the word “scene” when it comes to music. It’s not obvious what it really means in the context of underground music in 2015. Is your scene your city? The bands you sound like? Your country? The world? Your Facebook group? The people who actually come to your shows? The ones who buy records? The ones who click like?
Who knows? Who even cares. It’s simply a semantic argument about what support matters most. In fact, all that matters is support. Which is why the likes of “launch shows” are so important.
This is the really rewarding aspect of what I do.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love taking photographs of shows. It’s a privilege and so much fun. But getting invited in to help document the creative process and getting an insight that process…that’s the kind of photography that I find really compelling.
Swallows were kind enough to invite me along to the studio for a couple of days while they worked on the six tracks for their new EP: “Haunted”. Here’s a lot of photos and some thoughts about the time I spent with the band.
A gig should be an event. Every show should be something to write home about. Or tweet about. Whatever it is the kids do these days. I don’t know…
Anyway, a every gig should be something else. That’s pretty a romantic approach to music, but I maintain it. Largely because I’m an idealist idiot. That and because there are bands like Arcane Roots.