1. Instrumental Project - Long Eaton

    I realised the other day that I never blogged anything about this shoot, even though it was one of my favourites of last year. The band was an unnamed instrumental project that sadly hasn’t really seen the light of day (yet) featuring Stuart Vallans and Jamie Mitchell (both now part of the reformed Death Of Thieves) and Dave Ridgers (who plays in Without Maps). 

    An hour or so before this shoot, before I’d set off for the location (a lake near Long Eaton), the weather was miserable. I nearly postponed the shoot because I thought it would be a waste of everyone’s time. Stu persuaded me that it would clear up, and he was totally right. Turned out to be spot on.

    Welly-wearing assistant on this shoot was Carla Mundy. That lampshade is now in her flat. 

     
  2. Biffy Clyro @ Leeds Festival 2013

    In 2001, I was one of a small number of rock journalists who fell in love with this oddball Scottish band as they made their first forays on the national music scene (many others wrote them off for having a stupid name). I wrote the press biography which accompanied their debut album. The interview with Simon Neil for that piece went on about five times as long as it should have as we discovered a common musical path - from grunge and older indie rock like Red House Painters, through Fugazi and the post-hardcore scene to the ‘classic’ emo sounds of Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral and more. “You guys could do a great cover of Man Overboard by Far,” I remember saying. “We actually play that song at rehearsals,” he replied.

    12 years later, I found myself at Leeds Festival with cameras in hand, shooting for Rock Sound, in the rain, and witnessing a band who have truly made it the hard way - through constant touring, growing as songwriters, taking the odd opportunity as it has come their way, and sticking out the leaner early years to earn their place as true headliners. In some ways, the scale of what they now do is unrecognisable from their early outings (extra musicians, pyro… etc). But at the heart of it, the core trio actually hasn’t changed all that much. It’s good to see.

    This was my favourite photo from that amazing set. It’s barely what Zack Arias would call ‘blog sharp’ (even worse the way tumblr is currently rendering it) but it has a cool vibe. 

     
  3. Zac Brown Band - backstage at Hard Rock Calling 2013, Olympic Park, London

    Zac Brown Band are a HUGE deal in the US. Nine consecutive number ones on the country music chart. A three-night stand at Red Rocks. They are among the biggest superstars in America’s favourite musical genre. I got the call to shoot a couple of days’ tour photography for them while they were in the UK (for only the second time) and wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

    As it turned out, from the moment I met them, backstage at Hard Rock Calling in Olympic Park, they were a dream to be around. “We’re used to having cameras around,” they told me, “…you can go wherever you want.” 

    And that ‘all-access’ permission was the key to a brilliant couple of days. Within 20 minutes of meeting them I was sitting in, taking a few photos as they played together backstage, warming up their amazing vocal harmonies with a Ryan Adams cover. I love Ryan Adams. I was happy already. 

    I was able to go anywhere on their stage (implicitly, they trusted me not to get between them and their audience). When Zac was invited by Bruce Springsteen to guest on Tenth Avenue Freeze Out, I got to witness/photograph Zac rehearsing the chords and harmonies in his dressing room (the song lyrics pulled up on an iPad) and later I photographed Zac and Bruce chatting when Bruce came offstage.

    At their headline show at Shepherd’s Bush the next night I was able to shadow them from their arrival amid a scrum of overjoyed fans, through soundcheck and gig to post-gig drinks with friends, guests and members of Bruce Springsteen’s band. It was a real privilege to see such an immensely talented and professional band going about their work up close. Not once was I made to feel like I was being obtrusive. 

    Regardless of musical genre, so many bands could learn so much from the way ZBB conduct themselves. They treated me well, trusted me to do my work, and I gave them photos I’m very proud of in return.

    Some of my shots are in this gallery on the ZBB website (mixed in with their personal shots).

     
  4. John Newman @ V Festival 2013, Weston Park

    I’m at V Festival this weekend. Just backing up my photos from day one, and thought I’d share this one of pop-soul star John Newman - the voice of Rudimental’s number one hit ‘Feel The Love’. He recently had a number one of his own with ‘Love Me Again’. 

     
  5. Rudimental @ NCS concert, Gorilla, Manchester

    My favourite shot of current drum and bass chart-hoggers Rudimental from today’s NCS (National Citizen Service) gig in Manchester. The other acts were The 1975, Clean Bandit and Goldierocks.

    NCS provides a unique opportunity for teenagers around England. Visit NCSYes.co.uk for more info.

     
  6. The Script @ Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

    The Voice UK is back on telly tonight. Here’s a shot of judge/mentor Danny O’Donaghue doing his day job at the Capital FM Arena a couple of weeks back. Shortly after this he came down to sing to the front rows and at one point put his glittering, stardust-flecked hand on my humble, tired shoulder. I will never wash that jacket again. I’ve never washed it before, to be fair.

     
  7. Olly Murs @ Capital FM Arena, Nottingham

    Haven’t shot enough live music recently, so it was nice to get back into it with something glitzy like this tour show at the Capital FM Arena.

     
  8. Kagoule - shot for LeftLion magazine in Nottingham

    I’ve passed this derelict clothing place every time I’ve gone into Nottingham on the bus and always wanted to shoot a band in front of it. When LeftLion gave me a band whose name is an item of clothing and who didn’t want to be posed (just wanted to hang out somewhere kind of grimy), I realised this was my chance. Only problem was - it’s a busy road and people were just leaving town after the Christmas lights switch-on. I had to shoot from the other side of the road, with intrepid assistant Dave Parry keeping an eye on the cars/buses and jumping out with lighting gear every time we got a break in traffic. It was also very, very cold - but that’s par for the course.

    Big thanks to Dave for the help with this one. Go see his own photography at www.davidparryimaging.com

    Kagoule are @Kagoule on Twitter and they’re also on Facebook here.

     
  9. Akarusa Yami - promo shot

    A shot from a recent promo shoot for Nottingham-based industrial metal band Akarusa Yami. The band were after something simple and clean - and had a pretty clear idea of how they wanted to set this up. It’s rare I shoot in studios - I tend to shoot bands on location - so the controlled environment made a nice change. 

    You can hear the band on their Soundcloud page.

     
  10. Mastodon @ Leeds Festival 2012

    I will do a full post about Leeds Festival at some point, but for now here’s a ‘Tumblr exclusive’ shot of Troy Sanders from Mastodon (aka The Greatest Heavy Metal Band On The Planet) tearing up the NME/Radio 1 stage on Sunday. 

     
  11. REFUSED at DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2012: fanboy photograph

    Proper Download blog post coming soon, but for now here’s a fanboy shot I took from way back in the crowd of reformed Swedish hardcore legends Refused being absolutely, mind-blowingly immense. (I wasn’t shooting them for Rock Sound, I just went to watch.) Refused, Soundgarden, Metallica, Lamb Of God… I saw some unbelievably good bands this weekend. See www.rocksound.tv for mine and Carla Mundy’s photo galleries.

     
  12. TRASH TALK at DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL 2011: shot for Rock Sound

    I’m off to Download Festival once more tomorrow - again shooting for Rock Sound. Looks like being very wet, very windy, very muddy and quite a challenge - especially as I’m shooting the main stage, so will be exposed to the elements for every band. But, as a photographer and rock music fan, the fact that I will get to take photos of Black Sabbath, Metallica, Soundgarden and the like is pretty bloody exciting. Stupidly so, actually.

    I’m not sure that huge photo/safety pit for the main stage will yield anything like this up-close shot from one of the tents last year though. It’s Lee Spielman from Trash Talk passing some Handy Andies to a girl on the front row who’d been damaged by his relentless interaction with his crowd. If you’ve ever seen the insanity of a Trash Talk gig, you’ll know what I mean. Nice to see he cares though.

    Okay… Download 2012. Waterproofs, boots, camera rainsleeves and indeed Handy Andies packed. Wish. Me. Luck.

     
  13. CRAZY ARM at HIT THE DECK FESTIVAL, NOTTINGHAM: personal shot.

    Yesterday I shot Hit The Deck festival in Nottingham for Rock Sound. Devon-based rootsy punk crew Crazy Arm were not on my shot list, but RS writers Amy Bangs and Pete Withers enthused about them so I went for a look. I could only stick around for a few songs but it was probably the best thing I saw all day - gutsy, melodic songwriting with a bit of Thin Lizzy harmony guitar action thrown in and a full-pelt live delivery. A total surprise to be honest, and I’ll be checking out more of their stuff. Worth taking a photo of too… 

     
  14. DRY THE RIVER at Rescue Rooms, Nottingham: shot for the band.

    I had a great time last night hanging out with Dry The River at the Rescue Rooms. There was champagne. And beer. And Quality Street (sort of). There was a LOT of Michael Jackson (on an iPod, not in person, obviously). There was the promise of Genesis, Rush and Whitesnake in a DJ set (which I had to bloody well miss because of work commitments this morning). On top of all this, there was a great gig - Dry The River have just arrived back from a huge US support tour and their live show is amazing - a much grungier take on the alt-folk sound of the last few years. They have impressive vocal harmonies but they’re not afraid to hit the gas too - as you can probably tell from the photo. Intrigued? Go check them out. I’m going to try and catch them again in London on May 2.

     
  15. DEATH BY ORCHESTRA: promo shoot, March 2012

    I did a promo shoot with this ambitious Notts-based rock band last week. They wanted a retro sort of vibe, perhaps in a bar. I thought of student mega-pub Spanky Van Dykes in Nottingham, which has a bunch of different angles to shoot from, and manager Simeon kindly allowed us to set up in there before they opened last Saturday. Chose this set-up because of the seven-inch sleeves on the underside of the stairs, and I liked the lamp on the left.

    Shoot assistant: Will J Carman

    Check out the cool video for Death By Orchestra’s song ‘For You No Tomorrow’ by clicking here or visit them on Facebook.