If you’re looking to book me to shoot your show, you’re out of luck – I don’t take bookings, at all, I just go to the shows I want to. Sorry. If you want to ask me about who’d be a great photographer for your show though, feel free to ask me, I know of loads of them out there (and they’re all better than me anyway btw).
If you’re just looking to get in touch, Facebook or Instagram messages are your best bet, or you can email me at email@example.com.
I started this particular thing back in 2014 because it’s basically what I’ve been doing for about a hundred years in different shapes and forms in London, in Scotland, and now here in sunny Sydney. I started off writing about bands in fanzines, then for magazines and then websites, then filming them doing live sessions – but now I basically just shoot live shows and write about tracks I really like.
I’m not chasing the ‘big’ bands. I don’t find it interesting going to gigs at stadiums, or even at decent-sized rooms anymore. I’ve done plenty of that. I’m not such a twit that I think bands get worse as they get bigger – it’s just that I have so much more fun shooting at a venue the size of my hat, where I can run into the band afterwards, where I don’t need to have a photo pass, where I don’t need to give a toss about ‘firstthreesongsonlynoflash’ and all that (although I never use a flash and I try really hard to be done quickly, and stay out of the way). It’s more personal in smaller venues, it’s sweatier, it’s closer to the action. It’s also usually a lot more raucous and unhinged.
I’m also not in this for any money either. I actually have a Day Job that I really like, so this is my little way of putting something back into a scene that I’ve taken so much from. I pay for every single show I go to, I spend money behind the bar, and I’ll try and buy merch whenever I really like the bands. I think I’m also buying enough tikka rolls after gigs from the Indian place near me to put their kids through college. Anyway, I try to be a net contributor to the band economy. And seriously, who asks for a guest list for a show that costs $5 anyway? Shitehawks, that’s who.
Now, Sydney may not exactly be renowned for its musical scene or its nightlife (it’s in recovery though), but as an immigrant to Australia, I’m still consistently blown away at how much fun it is, how brilliant the bands are, and what a generally friendly and smart scene it is here. Live music as an industry lives a pretty precarious existence, so it’s more important than ever that we all – the discerning music fans – get out to the exactly the types of venues I’m usually lurking in. Not because of the usual sanctimonious “support your scene” bullshit, but simply because it’s just such bloody good fun. The more of us that go, the more fun there is in the world – and that’s a thing worth doing, right?
Personally, I do it because I wanted a project that would capture the action in Sydney’s smaller venues. These venues are the hearts and lungs of music in any city, and I wanted to record that. Since 2014 I’ve shot literally hundreds of sets (850+ and counting!), and posted over ten thousand photos, all of which I’ve given away to the bands. Sometimes I’ve been in the middle of a moshing frenzy, sometimes I’ve been the only punter there – I’ve loved it all.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s how annoying it is when people – the press, fans, scenesters, anyone – describe bands who play in these venues as “unsigned”, “local”, or “small”. Fuck that. If you’re playing music, you’re in a damn band and that’s it. I once saw Graham Coxon – who I *adore* – and the show was basically “meh”. But I’ve seen bands from Sydney play to the barman, me and the other bands on the bill and it’s been up there with the best sets I’ve ever seen. Let’s stop apologising for not having millions of adoring fans, and let’s start celebrating what we’re part of instead – a thriving, pounding, pulsating underground.
Anyway, I hope you like all this nonsense. You can follow me on all the usual stuff, but it’d be really cool to see you at a show. If you’re at Wayward’s, or
The Captain Cook, or The Oxford Art Factory, or The Lansdowne, or The Valve Bar, or Moshpit, or Frankie’s, or The Sly Fox, or The Hideaway Bar, or any of the other great little rooms in Sydney (that are still in business) and you see a lanky scruffbag down the front semi-drunkenly trying to change a lens or trying to edit photos on his phone, come say hi.
See you down the front.