I was first exposed to photography in 2005 while still in school. In my second year I received the Achievement Award for Photography. I was obsessed with the geometrical form of the city at the time, focusing almost exclusively on architectural photography. Growing up in Hobart however, there was a limited palette to work with architecturally. It was enough to complete my two years at school but after that my source was running dry. I moved to Melbourne.
I went out and created photographic tangrams from the city’s shapes, relishing in the new territory I’d placed myself in until I eventually reached my threshold. I wanted something more challenging and alive so I bought a flash for my Nikon F3 and took it to the band rooms, which is where I was spending most weekends anyway. This was a major breath of inspiration for me as I could still get drunk and watch bands, but also do my photography in the process. The photographs that feature in From The Band Room were taken predominately over the last year.
While looking over some early band photos of mine, I discovered that it was more than just the actual bands that I found intriguing, but the entire setting and culture that surrounded it.
Personally I find a lot of professional band photography quite uninspiring, as the intention of art is often replaced with the purpose of completing a job. And who can really be bothered looking at another photo of Nick Cave in a suit? I wanted to photograph the local bands, the ones that people were talking about because they were brilliant but still unknown to most people. I see the band room as a nucleus of creativity, where bands evolve from their primal stages, and either continue to produce inspiring art or are deselected by other bands that do. Some will go on to become well known and even famous but that’s not the point, the point is that it all happened here and now.
Kirin J. Callinan
The first time I saw Kirin play he was supporting Rowland S Howard at the Workers Club in 2009. A lot of us didn’t really know what to think at first with this young prince from Sydney prancing around the stage with his shirt off wailing with his suspiciously confident operatic baritone. I stood at the back feeling compelled to understand what the fuck he was doing. The show was broken up between songs by a slightly awkward but entirely engaging commentary, mixing banter with comic timing. I remember one in particular where he announced prophetically “Sydney’s a great place, the sun, the beaches…Melbourne’s also a great place actually, very easy to take your boyfriend on a holiday to Sydney”. His shows have evolved since then with ferocious displays of androgyny, extensive peddle and loop use, and a songwriting style that can be haunting and poignant at the same time.
She wore a black velvet dress that rose just above her feet and covered the length of her arms. She leant forward with her dark fringe covering her eyes. A white fender hung around her neck, matching her ghost like skin which could be seen only on the hands and face. It was the dead middle of Autumn. The lights dimmed and she began to sing from behind the darkness, just her and the microphone. The fender hung untouched. After a intensely exposing story of her self she rose from the microphone and acknowledged the devoted crowd. The band joined her. Batrider exploded with raw grunge fury and the sweet sweet passion of a girl that felt like screaming.
Zond leave my ears ringing for a day every time I seem them. I read an interesting theory recently on how animals and humans purposefully hinder their chances in life, for the polar opposite effect of surviving and therefore living a better life. The theory went that our animal precursors had to prove that they had the strongest genes in order to live long enough to reproduce. The example given was the relationship between a lion and a gazelle. A mere growl or paw scratch wouldn’t cut it for the tender gazelle because any lion would soon work out that it didn’t mean shit because some were faking it. To combat this the gazelle would hop on the spot (called stotting) which is basically saying I’m so fast that I will give you a head start and you still won’t catch me. Stotting gazelles don’t get chased by lions anymore and therefore get to have more roots with other gazelles. This is called the handicap principle. Human beings follow this trait by means of substance abuse and noise music. I can’t tell if I enjoy Zond so much because of my animalistic traits or because they are so perfect.
Zeni Geva are a legendary experimental hardcore band from Tokyo that headlined the Static Age festival on grand final night in 2010. People could hardly hear any more by the time they came on so they played louder and then everyone could hear again. I had seen the singer KK Null do a solo set at the RRR performance room a few months earlier. It was an alcohol free seated event and it was Sunday and therefore pretty subdued by comparison. There was however, one guy that stood up the front of everyone banging his head throwing his hand around. Some people thought he was a mental patient wanderer and some people thought he was having a private festival with all the drugs in the world. He even lost control once and let out a scream until he realised where he was again. He appears in one of the Zeni Geva photos playing some vicious air guitar. This show is dedicated to him.
Panel of Judges
Fuck me, Panel of Judges are Melbourne. They have been owning the crowds of Melbourne band rooms way before anyone of us even lived here. Some historians even say that Panel of Judges were founding members of the Melbourne settlement in 1835. John Batman just took the trophy because he had a pretty good name apparently. Despite the petty foundation claims, Panel of Judges flourished through the Victorian gold rush days, they ordered the hanging of George Melville the notorious bushranger in 1853, they lay brick and mortar in the 1890′s as the empire strengthened, and after the war they invented modern pop music. Nowadays the legacy continues as they deliver their unique take on pop to the ever appreciating music community. And they haven’t hung anyone for a long time so are also leading advocates in the quest for ultimate humanitarianism.
I used to think analytically of emotions. In regards to their ability to distort one’s sense of judgment and clarity. I would stand at a distance from emotions as I was the analyser. I thought observing them was experiencing them. This changed recently when my girlfriend taught me the importance of actually being taken by them, as emotions essential make you more alive. I then thought back to the principles I characterise good art by; as an aesthetically pleasing and convincing lie. It then struck me that these same properties are at the basis of human emotion. It does feel good to feel, and emotions do delude us. They are also very realistic at the time, just like when you are having a dream. Life is realistic, not real. And thats the best thing about it. Parading.
I went skating for too long
I got tired and ended up sweating in my t shirt
so I bought a long neck
then I couldn’t skate as good
so I sat down and had a smoke
and talked to some girl that was 17
she wanted to get hungry jacks
I wanted to kick flip the conversation
we settled on going to her house
her brother had an xbox
but instead we went to her room and smoked out the window
and listened to some rowland s howard
she was pretty hot too but I got a bit bored
so I went to taylor’s place
lauren and matt were there
then brendan came over with tom and raph
too many dudes so raph called some girls
then anna and steph came over with emma and grace
they brought a couple of boxes of goon with them so we all got pissed
then we needed another one so me and matt skated to BWS
we drank half of it in a park with some chicks we met that we over from perth
then we all walked back to taylor’s
raph was trying to chat up grace in the kitchen
we went to the lounge room where everyone else was and rolled ciggies
someone put on dead prez
taylor did that stupid dance again but it was kind of funny this time because the perth girls hadn’t seen it before
I think he might have rooted one of them that night actually