Band

Interpol: Olympia Theatre by Aaron Corr

This was my second time shooting one of my favourite ever bands, Interpol, and the fourth time I’ve photographed Paul Banks officially. The Dublin leg of the Marauder tour consisted of three nights in the Olympia Theatre, one of their favourites it seems. I shot the opening night for MCD and was just one of three photographers. This made for great space in the photo pit for us. On their last tour for El Pintor the band were quite darkly lit, but the backdrop of the red hands from the album cover behind them led to some shots I really liked. That time I didn’t come out with any great shots of Daniel Kessler, and pretty much none of Sam Fogarino, at the back of the stage on drums. This tour was definitely a better shoot.

Nilüfer Yanya

Nilüfer Yanya

Opening proceedings on the three nights was Londoner Nilüfer Yanya. She was a far calmer and easier support to photograph than Health on the last tour.

Interpol opened with Untitled, and this time Daniel Kessler was better lit and easier to photograph than Paul Banks through the song. I spent a good portion of this song shooting Dan and Sam. I was delighted to get good shots of Sam finally, since he was doing a DJ set on the day of their final show, and I wanted to get a shot of mine signed. I managed to get his signature on the above shot.

The lights and dry ice were a mixed bag throughout the three song shoot, but there was enough time with the songs they played to capture all members of the band well. The biggest frustration were the egg shaped lights between the PA at the front of the stage. It really hindered the vantage points for wider shots. They had a disco-ball overhead (I know right? Interpol and a disco-ball) which was not used to much effect until the last few shots I took. After the three songs, certain songs in the set used it heavily, and it looked fantastic. But while it looked cool, the colours during those songs would have been a nightmare to shoot, and edit, so I’m happy with how the shoot turned out. I went to all three nights and loved every minute of it. They’re still one of the best.

Click here for full gallery, and here to see the set from El Pintor tour.

Fangclub: Album Launch in Tower Records by Aaron Corr

Fangclub

The Thin Air sent me to cover Fangclub's album launch in Tower Records, where the band were performing an acoustic instore before a signing session.  I had hoped to have a quick catch up with the guys since I'd last worked with them at their Whelans headline show for an AAA piece but I arrived just on time to catch the set, and afterwards they were knee deep in signing records and I had to run.  I'm looking forward to asking them all about how their Pixies support slot went since I missed that show because I was in Lisbon.  I know... life is tough.

November Photos by Aaron Corr

ABC

ABC

Oops, I forgot to make an October update.  Did anything happen?  Let me think.  Oh yes!  I shot Jean-Michel Jarre and Death Grips, then went on holiday to Berlin and Prague.  I may post about the Death Grips gig in its own little blog as it was one of, if not the worst gigs I’ve ever shot.  I’ll leave those details til then.  Back to now, and by now I mean November.  What seemed like a lackluster month of shooting again turns out to be quite great in the end.  With everything crammed into one week that bled into December I just had it in mind that these all happened in the month of Christmas, and that ABC would be the only gig I’d shoot that month.  Not the case, so let’s begin. 

Martin Fry and ABC played the Olympia earlier in the month.  It was a finely lit show but the only problem is that Martin walked around loads.  Sure, it’s better than a boring front-man standing still and doing nothing interesting, but he’d go to the back of the stage where it wasn’t well lit, then at the front he mostly had the microphone right in his face (he is a singer after all), leaving few clear shots of his face when he was brightly lit.  The best band part to shoot was the interaction between the saxophonist and the guitarist.  

Brand New

Brand New

Later in the month I headed to the double whammy that was the Biffy Clyro, with support from Brand New.  Brand New were all over my social media pages when they last played in Vicar Street a while back.  It seemed like most people I knew were at it, or complaining that they weren’t.  I only really know that one song that was played loads on MTV2 years ago, back when we had music channels that mostly played music.  I expected dark stage and intermittent spells of light on the band and that’s what I got.  The guitarist on the right of the stage was the coolest member to shoot, as he flailed his guitar and hair around on stage. 

Biffy Clyro

Biffy Clyro

I had come for Biffy however.  Though I’m not a fan of them, I was looking forward to shooting their show.  I knew they’d be energetic, have great lights and leave me with some cool shots to use.  They didn’t disappoint.  The downside was the band’s own video cameras rigs in the pit, and how extra high the stage was to shoot.  It didn’t take a whole lot away from the shoot but the higher the stage, the harder it is to take in a cool shot of the band giving it their all on stage in a wide shot.  I expected Simon Neil to be topless throughout so lucky for me, and not for any admirers looking at the pictures, he had a long white scientist/doctor coat on throughout.  

Hinds

Hinds

Hinds are a band that were on my radar a while but who had yet to play Ireland.  I’d see cool pictures of them pop up in my Instagram feed by great photographers I follow so when I saw they were playing I put my name down for it.  It was quite last minute as it wasn’t well advertised, or at least nothing stood out to me that they were coming.  It was supposed to be The Academy but was moved to the smaller, basement level Academy 2 due to sales.  This made for a far better gig as the space was packed with an enthusiastic crowd, something that gets lost in a half empty, bigger venue.  The tour manager gave the go ahead for photos to be taken during the last 3 songs.  That left me and fellow photographer, Colm Kelly, triying to count the songs out from the napkin set list on stage, a short distance away.  The tour manager swung by again and said we could get 2 songs mid set as well.  I’d seen in images that they tend to crowd surf and realized only then that I should have brought a flash just in case, though we’re never allowed to use it for the regular first three/no flash shoots.  This may have been a different case.

The pit was tiny, which made for awkward to squeeze into position, with the singer, Carlotta, asking if she could grab her drink from the space before I tried squeeze by.  The lights never changed and the girls were well lit, but for each time I went into the pit I didn’t shuffle around too much for different angles in case I’d annoy fans at the barrier or the band.  We shot the last 2 songs, having miscounted, but the band discussed among themselves and did a three song encore.  The tour manager gave us the thumbs up to stay where we were.  I needn’t have worried about the flash for any crowd surfing.  The band opted not to, maybe because of the tight space between the crowd’s heads and the roof of the room.  You could tell they wanted to though, they seemed to like Dublin.

Bo Ningen

Bo Ningen

I was looking forward to potentially shooting Primal Scream during the month and thankfully the photo pass came my way.  I headed along early to shoot the Japanese support, Bo Ningen.  I figured it was going to be a mass of long hair waving every which way.  Combine that with dark red and blue/purple lights and it makes for a tough edit in Lightroom afterwards.

Primal Scream

Primal Scream

Primal Scream on the other hand can teach many a band a few things about stage lighting.  It was perfect, for the first and third song at least.  Straight from the start Bobby Gillespie was wandering the stage, doing his rock star poses, clapping and doing his thing.  It was hard to take a bad shot, though of course I did initially because all my camera settings were prepared for a darker stage and everything was blown out for the first burst of images.  That was quickly fixed.  I tended to stick with the 24-70mm on the Canon 6D and only used the 70-200mm zoom on the Canon 7D a little for the odd close up.  This is my standard practice but in this instance I wanted to capture the full stage and as much of the band as I could.  The set was laced with hits and the band were in top form.  More bands should take note of their use of stage lights.  Then again, that might make the job a little too easy.

Click an image to see the full gallery.

Metronomy Photoshoot by Aaron Corr

At the end of June The Thin Air gave me a great assignment to photograph Joseph Mount of Metronomy.  I'm a big fan of theirs and photographed them live on the main stage at Longitude last year.  They do that thing for me that LCD Soundsystem used to do every time I'd see them live, they'd make me giddy with happiness.  I don't know what it is but it's a rare thing for me to get at every show by one band, even with those who are my absolute favourites.

Joe was in Dublin for the bones of a day to promote the release of their new album, Summer 08, jetting in early that morning for a day of interviews before taking off again that night for more promo in Paris.  We had a half hour slot with him, meeting up in the Dean Hotel in Dublin city centre.  Myself and my Thin Air colleague, Eoghain, agreed to split it as 20 minutes interview, 10 minutes photoshoot.  This gave me quite a tight slot, especially when I did not know what I had to work with, where would be best to do the shoot in the location or how busy it would be with people, given the time of day it was happening.  

At the venue I decided upon using the smoking area on the ground floor as it had fairy lights on one wall, a tiny bit of natural light and a fireplace with multi-coloured glass and fire logs behind it.  The door to the smoking area is so close to the bar that you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for a staff door, which was to my advantage as it was empty inside, save for a guy on a video conference call on his laptop that left minutes before the shoot.

I tested the natural light with my camera and tried my pocket wizards with the flash, using Warner's very helpful rep as a stand in model, to see how it looked in the room.  Ideally I would have brought a bigger set up (tripod & a soft-box for better portrait lighting) but I sacrificed bringing too much for fear of over complicating things within the time constraints.  To get the natural light in the room I had to use a higher ISO than I would have preferred, combined with a slower shutter speed.  

Joe was taller than I expected.  The fairy lights would have made a nice backdrop for a straight on portrait but they were not high up enough on the wall to accommodate the look I wanted, so I asked Joe to sit on a chair so I could feature them in the background.  The first thing I noticed at this point was that he looked very tired.  This was emphasised more as I looked at the previews on the camera display.  This was completely understandable given all the press he had been doing.  To combat this I asked him to look slightly off camera, over my shoulder, up at lights on the ceiling or through a window depending on where I stood him for the shot.  I used photoshop afterwards to help ease things around the eyes.  I did three quick set ups with him.  

  1. As described above. 
  2. I stood him in a position where the one little gap in the wall that let in natural light, and cigarette smoke out, so I could use it to light him while again keeping the fairy lights behind him.  This is the main shot used for the feature.
  3. In front of the fireplace, making use of the lights overhead and the colours behind him.  This proved tricky in not trying to catch myself in the mirror's reflection, particularly in shots where I tried using off camera flash.

I was told that if I needed the extra few minutes that I could continue but I chose not to keep him any longer as he still had more interviews straight away, and a radio show to go present on TXFM before hitting the airport, so I decided to stick with my allotted time.  He was great to deal with, I chatted briefly with him in between shots about his visits to Ireland and such.  As we were saying our goodbyes I quickly remembered that I meant to ask for a quick photo with him.   I asked this of him & frustratingly said "Can I get a selfie?"  Nooooo!!!  Why??  I hate that word.  He graciously obliged and I took a quick snap on my phone and thanked him for his time.

Click here to read the interview with The Thin Air from that day and click any photo above to see the full gallery I posted.

Sleep Thieves by Aaron Corr

What started as a Weapon of Choice feature turned into a full blown interview with the band.  I made the rookie error of handing in a 4,000+ word transcription to my editor without thinking twice about it.  Therefore all the gear talk took a back seat to all the other things we talked about.

A few months before I'd done a feature with Sorcha before and arranged to do this feature with her.  I met up with the band in their rehearsal studio in Dublin city centre and, aware of their tight rehearsal schedule, tried to keep things quick and get out of their way in good time.  I hit record and before I knew it I had 52 minutes recorded with the band.  

The space was tight for using the softball and Tripod but I managed to squeeze it in and get the shots.  Funnily enough this was the same rehearsal room I'd take rehearsal shots of Bitch Falcon the day of the GoldenPlec cover shoot.

I may post the gear details in another blog post but for now here is the main interview feature itself.  Click either picture to see.