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.

Hands up: I’m a musical elitist.

I don’t mean it in a malicious way, I just have pretty specific standards for music. Those being: it has to be well performed, posses some sort of significant form regarding its genre constraints and it has to ignite something emotionally. Whether that’s eviscerating emotional experience or a nice wee dance is irrelevant.

This year I was lucky enough to get accredited to take photographs at Hevy fest. My first official time being a photographer at a music festival. Sure, by the standards of your Reading and Downloads it isn’t big, but by my cooler than thou punk rock standards getting to shoot at the same festival that some of my favorite bands of all time are playing at is pretty big. I was going to get to shoot some of those bands.

The big dog had arrived.

If by big dog you mean slightly unsure, socially awkward and pretty unprepared small ginger puppy.

Recently I saw a pretty interesting BBC4 documentary ¬†called “Whatever Happened to Rock ‘n’ Roll?” hosted by Lauren Laverene. She quizzed a few musicians on whether they thought rock music was dead. Unsurprisingly, the old out of touch men ( in this case Dr John Cooper Clarke and Eric Burdon) said that it was. Because it wasn’t how they remembered it.

The sole female member of the panel, Jehnny Beth, of the wonderful Savages, pointed out that it isn’t. It’s just that music is different, the social landscape is different, the technological experience is totally different. It’s just different.

Death may well be a change, but to change is not to die.

Blah blah something about how I first heard this band and why this show confirms those initial feelings etc. whatever.

Who cares?

Where bands start doesn’t really matter. It’s where they’re going. I’ve no interest in artist’s who lack ambition. Which isn’t to say I expect every band to want to fill stadiums, but I want them to have the ambition to play every show like it really matters. I want them to have the ambition to convince me of their own musical convictions.

I’ve seen shows cancelled for the worst reasons imaginable. Too lazy, mum wouldn’t let them stay out too late, the gear broke you name it and it’s probably happened. A lot of musicians are total flakes. They don’t mean it the way you’re idealistically lead to believe that artists mean it.

Sectioned mean it though. They sound like the mean it. They sound really fucking mean. And when their singer tears the ligaments in his foot two songs in what do they do? They keep playing.

And then go on tour the next day.

Confrontational music is the best. Civil Elegies are about as confrontational as music gets. Ergo, Civil Elegies are a pretty sweet band.

If noise rock that is less self-indulgent and more excessively aggressive sounds like you’re thing then Civil Elegies are exactly what you should be listening to. Their albums are all recorded live, they play with a sense of total desperation and the sense of menace they bring to the stage is actually palpable. Civil Elegies are the soundtrack to a Glasgow kiss. But without any of the intimacy of that particular idiosyncrasy of Scotland’s biggest city.