For my ten years as a music photographer I have told the story that people are more familiar with: the live shows, the build up, the fans, recordings, and the backstage antics. I’ve been privileged to work with some people who have, by just about any measure, “made it.” I love being in the midst of an artist making their career happen, and am lucky to have been with some bands from the start. I want to go back a few more steps and document the not so glamorous, but just as real and essential-music at its roots today.
“Making it” is a tricky term. It looks different to different people at different moments in their career...and looks quite different to someone on the inside of this lifestyle than it might look to someone on the outside--be they music fan or a family member. Something we’ll be doing with this project is, in addition to the photographs, inviting the band members to speak for themselves in interviews we’ll be posting along with the work.
I’m partnering with other creatives on this project, Amelia Conophy to help me track down bands, and Katie Dwyer to help with the writing.
One thing all bands have in common is they all started from a similar spot. Nothing. No name. No songs. No fans. Just ideas. Just that they want to play songs. Something drives these people. It’s actually quite mad. It’s like some part of their brain is switched off. Rent, bills, life all seems to come so far down the list. Because another thing they all have in common is they all have that same buzz when they get on the stage. I have seen bands play to 1 person and a barman all the way to 22,000 and more. The buzz is there. It’s what they’re all living and working for. With everything they’ve got.
That’s what I’m working on with this collection. The work. The “look” and struggle of a band trying to make it. In rehearsal spaces, in small-town pubs, in bedsits and on festival side-stages. All across Ireland.
And after ten years as a music photographer, with all the luck I’ve had that’s taken me around the world with bands I love, this project is also me getting to be back at work where I call home as well--at my roots in Dublin.
Unmade in Ireland tells the story of the bands who haven’t made it yet--the music at its start here in Ireland.