Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Swashbuckle: Pirates of the Mason Dixon

I've been friends with the guys in Swashbuckle for years now and this April they asked me to shoot their promo photos for the upcoming album Crime Always Pays. Always up for a good time with some friends I headed down to central NJ with a bag full of lights.

I got to Commodore Redrum's house to find a game of Battleship set up on the table in the basement. We knocked out a few photos of the guys playing the game and looking angry with each other before we busted out what I like to consider my "Pulp Fiction" pose, as seen below.

Would you mess with these guys? I wouldn't!

We headed over to a bar that we had reserved for shooting in and snapped off a few more shots by the beer taps and in front of a nice big wine rack wall. I really liked lighting in the smaller space because it allows for more creativity since it's more challenging. It's easy to flood a room with an even wash of light and call attention to details in a broad sense. It's a very different story to purposely play with shadows and direct the light where you want it. This is where I have the most fun. I light the wine rack from behind each pirate while giving a soft but directional blast from the side. The result is a glowing wine rack, great separation from the background, and enough light and shadow to make these guys look like they were lurking in the galley waiting for an unsuspecting victim. We wrapped up after about 4 hours of shooting and I sent off the files to the guys once they were sorted and edited.

A few weeks ago I met up with them again in New York City on the Panic Across North America Tour. The Commodore showed me the mock up artwork for the new album and it's full of the photos we shot, including a 2-page center spread of one of the photos from the basement. It's very exciting for me as it's the first time my work will be published as part of a major label release.

I hung around and shot their set, including some video at the end. These guys are different from most bands in costume, mainly because they don't take themselves overly serious. Sure, they're serious about their music, but they know they're a bunch of guys from New Jersey wearing pirate costumes in the 21st Century. Which means they have fun with their performance, and that translates into the audience and everyone has a blast. Below are some more photos, as well as live video of "It Came From The Deep" and "X Marks The Spot."

It's also not too late to catch them live if you haven't seen them yet. You can get info on the rest of their tour dates here

Click here to view the full gallery of promo photos
Click here to view the photos from the NYC show

More soon,

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Plaza of Fear: Fear Factory in NYC

Last weekend (7/25/10) Fear Factory returned to Irving Plaza in New York City for the first time in a while. I was lucky enough to be in the photo pit for this amazing performance. The chemistry between Dino and Burton is undeniable and with the incredible rhythm section of Byron Stroud (bass) and Gene Hoglan (drums) they are a force to be reckoned with.

Opening with the title track from their new album Mechanize, they made it clear to anyone who has not yet heard the new material that they were back to their classic sound with no compromises. The one-two punch of "Shock" and "Edgecrusher" followed.

We were treated to "Smasher/Devourer," "Acres of Skin," and "Linchpin" before launching into another new song called "Powershifter" which was quickly followed by "Fear Campaign." After the 2 new songs Burton and the guys reached way back to Soul of a New Machine and played "Martyr" before switching gears to the more somber "Final Exit."

After a brief break they came back out to perform what would be considered the encore of the night. Burton said a few words regarding BP and oil spill in the Gulf before going into "Demanufacture" which featured the chant "BP Must Pay" through the middle.  The show was closed out with "Self Biased Resistor," "Zero Signal," "Hunter-Killer," and of course, "Replica."

I've seen Fear Factory a few times now and this was easily one of, if not the best show they've ever put on. I followed up the show photos with a phone interview with Burton a few days later which will be a feature at ParagonMag.com in the very near future.  In the meantime you can view the rest of the photos from the show right here.

More soon,