10 sick(ish) drummer photos what I took
I get to photograph gigs a lot, which is awesome. I don't often get to photograph drummers while I'm shooting these gigs because..well it's hard. They're at the back, they're badly lit, you're usually limited to three songs...it's hard to get a photo of a drummer unless you have full access to a band.
The frustrating thing is drummers often pull all the best moves, and certainly the best faces. So whenever I do get a good drummer shot I'm usually pretty over the moon. So here's 10 I really like from what we could loosely call my 'photography career' so far and a little bit about them.
Milk Teeth are a banging band, all grunge charm, punk rock fury and pop hooks, and their drummer is a beast. I've shot them 3 times now and every time I've caught some shot of Oli kicking the shit out of his skins with an admirable ferocity. Hitting drums hard is the best way to hit drums.
Sam is a super sick drummer and I really like this photo of him playing some sick drums. Not just because it gives some sense of the power and precision he plays with, but also because I got this in what is easily the worst venue I've ever shot in lighting wise and it still turned out pretty cool.
Thrice are the best. I'm really happy they're back from their hiatus and getting to see them smash out songs as varied and powerful as they have in their back catalogue was amazing. Getting to photograph it was even cooler. I like this photo because it gives an idea of the musical synergy in a band as tight as Thrice are. Also, it looks cool when it seems like they're about to hit their drums really hard.
I've known Gianluca probably longer than either of us would care to admit, and I've seen every version of every band he's been in. The band he's in now, Banshee, are certainly the best of those. His drumming now is also the best it's ever been, he's become a focused and creative drummer whose key interest is the song and not whatever fancy fill he can do. Watching him up his game, and getting the chance to document that since I started taking photos, has been a real pleasure.
I'm told recording drums is hard. I bet it isn't. I bet it's well easy. It's just hitting stuff right? Anyway, if it is hard then Rory often makes it look easy. I got invited along to shoot him recording 10 drums tracks for an album in a single afternoon. He nailed them all with total punk ferocity and technique that was total class. You could say that's down to his incredible work ethic...but it all looked pretty easy if you ask me...
Palm Reader are one of the most underrated bands in the UK. If they burned out before long because inexplicably so few people seem to care I wouldn't blame them, but I hope that doesn't happen. Their passion, intensity and technical ability is second to none, and I really like this photo because it's a rare moment of calm in the chaotic storms that are their sets, but still gets across that sense of tension that's such a vital component of their impact. Also, cool lights too.
Grant is a sick drummer, and incredibly versatile, and he hits his drums really, really hard. Like super hard. It must hurt to be his drum kit. His precision is almost as remarkable as his intensity. Which is almost as remarkable as the sweet drummer faces he pulls. All in all, a pretty remarkable musician to photograph.
I've possibly been more involved with Swallows than I have any other band. Nice of them to take me under their wing (get it?). Documenting them throwing everything over a few days into the "Haunted' EP was pretty special. Not least of all because The Old Mill is a pretty special location to record on. This shot was taken just seconds before Barry laid down his first drum take, and I think it kinda sums up how isolated you can be when you're recording and not actually playing with your band. There is literally just you and your own musicianship. No matter how many seats there are in the room...
George is a nuts drummer. Dude is insane behind the kit. No one should like they're having as much fun when they're playing as much as absurdly extreme and technically demanding as he often does. It's something you can't quite document properly with still photography, but I was really look to be allowed all sorts of access to shoot his final show from one of Glasgow's best bands. They're much missed and when that post-humous album drops it'll blast beat all your faces off.
See when you're that good a drummer you can take a break to put your feet up mid-song and still keep things rolling at the tight and coiled strut of Royal Republic? You're pretty good. I'd never heard this band before shooting and them immediately fell in love with the tongue in cheek, sharply dressed, rock 'n' roll played like a hardcore band that is their trademark. Takes somer drummer to pull all that off when they aren't even trying.