Follow Me

Close
By

By 2007, my friends and I had stopped sharing headphones. After two years of sitting side by side in classrooms or during breaks just so that we could listen to the same bands, we didn’t like the same kind of music anymore. One of us got into indie, the other went back to listening to pop and I was still a pop punk kid for the most part. That was also our sophomore year of high school and, the more we thought about our careers, the larger the threat we’d start drifting apart. But, then, The Used released Lies for the Liars on May 22, 2007.

Liars turned 10 a little less than a month ago and there was no big announcement, re-release or tour like The Used’s previous albums. It makes sense: Maybe Memories was their first full-length and In Love and Death still is their most famous one. But, for me personally, Liars is the band’s most important record. I remember what I felt listening to each of the songs back then, seeing the band live for the first time, talking to my friends non-stop about tracks like “Earthquake” and “Liar Liar”.

Sharing headphones again and watching Berth–the DVD that followed the band during the Liars recording process at producer John Feldmann’s studio— every Friday night brought my friends and I together again. Hell, it might be the reason that we still talk, even though we all went down completely different paths.

I don’t revisit this album as much as I should, but, in celebration of it turning 10, I decided to. Even though singles “The Bird and the Worm” and “Pretty Handsome Awkward” promised the band wasn’t going too far from the roots, it was easy to notice how much The Used grew up from the making of In Love and Death in 2004. During the past three years, they were on the cover of multiple magazines, their videos were played on MTV, and a group that used to open for them became the biggest band in the world (FYI, I’m talking about My Chemical Romance).

Laughing is, however, just one of the things Bert does better than other “screamo” singers that came after him.

Despite of the opening lyric from “Earthquake” (“She had an earthquake on her mind / I almost heard her cry out as I left her far behind / and knew the world was crashing down around her), Bert McCracken’s approach to love seemed more hopeful. Yes, he did ask a lover if they would smother him, but in a cute way? “Find a Way” and “With Me Tonight” suggest the singer was trying to leave his demons behind—and he had plenty of those to fight.

Hospital” may be my favourite The Used track ever. There’s just something special about Bert’s laughter and how he incorporates it into a song. He’d done it before already on MCR’s “You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison”, which give fans even more reasons to wonder if the diss track was aimed at Gerard Way.

Laughing is, however, just one of the things Bert does better than other “screamo” singers that came after him. Watching him scream at the microphone for a minute and, then, quickly whisper the last words to a song on the DVD made me understand why, although I loved The Used, not every screamo band would have the same effect in me.

There’s one more thing that makes this band different from others of the same genre and they explored in on Lies for the Liars, especially in tracks such as “Paralyzed”. It’s the bass. Yes, The Used plays guitar-driven, fast, angry songs. But bassist Jeph Howard manages to make them groovy at the same time. If you pay attention on him on stage, you’ll see him dancing around while Bert screams his heart out.

10 years later, my friends and I still talk, but it’s rarely about the past. We don’t reminisce about starting a band because of The Used and the bass we bought my friend from her birthday is never mentioned (she sold it a couple years ago to help pay for a backpacking trip). They might not remember the nights we spent listening to our favorite songs over and over again—I had long forgotten about them before I pressed play. And, when it all came crashing down, I pushed the sadness away, smiled and thought: isn’t it curious how a group of songs released over 10 years ago can tell me more about my life at that time than my own memories?

Can you believe Lies for the Liars was released a DECADE ago?!

Join the conversation,  Tweet us!

By

You can call Defend Girls Not Pop Punk a concept organization, a campaign, a movement, or whatever else you want. More than that, it is a safe place. That’s what its creators were proud to celebrate last weekend, when it completed one year of existence.

Their project was a reaction to Parker Cannon of The Story So Far kicking a girl offstage for trying to take a selfie with him, but it was also much more than that. For the teens, who were both 17 at the time, what prevailed from Cannon’s attitude and the way people reacted to it was a sense that there was something wrong in the way female fans were treated in the scene, and they needed to take action. Most concert goers agree that taking selfies on stage is wrong and Cannon had the right to be mad at the girl, but this is not about manners. For (female) fans, it means something else: If you crowd-surf, you could be groped by other audience members and kicked by the band. In other words, both fans and artists can be disrespectful towards you, if they feel like it.

This is not the worst thing that can happen to you, though.

On May 26, 2016, Allie Terry and Kayla Celius created the #DefendGirlsNotPopPunk hashtag and the @DEFENDGIRLS twitter account. Their first post, now pinned, reads: “This is what we’re about. See the thread below and join us in ending the misogyny in the scene”. Below this tweet, the teens shared think-pieces about the state of the scene and explained they were all about inclusivity, looking to fight for victims of sexual assault, trauma, and abuse. “We are here for all of you” and “We love you”, they guaranteed.

Tired of watching stories of assault and abuse come and go with no real consequences, Allie and Kayla decided pop punk was well-off, girls were the ones in need of protection. Thus, came the name “Defend Girls Not Pop Punk”, inspired by Caitlin DeWeese’s t-shirt design which paid homage to Man Overboard’s “Defend Pop Punk” merch,

First, they created a hashtag and a Twitter account, then stickers and shirts. During the past year, Allie and Kayla’s movement have collected more than 1K followers and the support of many artists. Staircase Spirits and Brendan Lukens from Modern Baseball were just a few names who congratulated DGNPP on their birthday. They also shared opinions on Front Porch Step, Rock for Life, Moose Blood, Neck Deep, PWR BTTM, and whoever else was being called out for their actions. Their movement wasn’t strictly online, though: the teens even organized a concert in Illinois with an inclusive bill – something festival promoters still seem unable to do.

This scene is a lot more than just music for Kayla and Allie, it’s a community they grew up in. When they started to feel like they did not belong anymore, they decided to take it back. As a new wave of pop punk bands gets more and more attention, musicians – and concert goers – need to be reminded that girls are not just characters for their stories about heartbreak, they are a huge part of their public and should be treated with as much respect as their male counterparts. If you also believe that, you are invited to join Defend Girls in ending the misogyny in the scene.

ATB: How did you come up with the idea of Defend Girls Not Pop Punk?

Kayla: Defend Girls was definitely something that was festering inside of us for a while, even though we obviously hadn’t given a name to it yet—we just had the feeling and the desire to bring some change to the music community. I remember idly sitting by as more and more young women who happened to be big music fans came out with their stories of how they had personally been attacked or preyed on by these musicians with large platforms that they think they can do whatever they want with, and I just remember being so angry and knowing and feeling like there was more that I could do besides retweeting, reposting and sharing these stories. I knew I wanted to do more, and I remember being so frustrated to the point of tears at what was happening in general and sending Allie and text message about if I were to create or start something if she would be on board with me—and the rest was really history.

ATB: What are your main goals with the movement?

Kayla: To make a difference, to never shut up about anything and everything, to give more young women in this scene a safe space, to give musicians that aren’t just white men the exposure they deserve, to grow into something so strong and boisterous. To make Defend Girls just as much everyone else’s as it is ours.

ATB: Clearly, there are many problems with this scene and there are still not enough people using their voices to discuss them. How important is it to have a safe space?

Allie: It is SO IMPORTANT that we make the scene a safe space. So many people consider the music scene a home, but what’s a home when you feel out of place because you’re not represented? People go to shows to get away from stress, not experience it. The music scene was created originally as safe space from the “real world” but it’s really just turned into a white guy’s club, as most things do. There are so many issues to talk about in the scene, so I’m just going to use the term “inclusivity” to bundle all of that together. If we’re looking at specifics, REFORM WARPED TOUR. This wasn’t supposed to be a boy’s club. This scene is for everyone. We want people to go to shows and see themselves represented on stage, we want women to go to shows and feel safe. I can’t tell you how many times I felt I needed to watch my back at a show because some gross drunk guy was going to come up behind me and touch me inappropriately, and, unfortunately, this isn’t an isolated incident.

ATB: What can each of us do to defend girls?

Allie: Never ever ever shut up. Always speak up when you see something wrong, do not be afraid to call anyone out. Sympathize with victims of injustice forever and always.

ATB: In November of 2016, you organized a show in Illinois. How did it go?

Allie: For the lack of a better term, it was LIT. It was really really cool to be able to bring people together to support women and allies in music. I can’t wait to put on another one!

ATB: How did you come up with the idea of a concert? Was it hard at all to create an inclusive bill?

Allie: I figured that a show would be the best way to get our message across seeing as we are critiquing the scene. At first it was rough finding bands with women in them, I contacted three bands I had previously seen before, As We Once Were, Dead Split Egos and City Mouth to see if they would like to participate. Unfortunately, City Mouth couldn’t, but they suggested so many bands with girls in them and that’s how I got Pelafina. Then, I literally googled “awesome bands with women Chicago” and instantly fell in love with Blizzard Babies. Then, I asked Jackie Heuser of City Mouth to do an acoustic set because I love her, and then Caving, a good friend of mine, was recruited and we ended up with a totally awesome line up. Putting together this show really broadened my network and music taste.

ATB: You identify as intersectional feminists. How did feminism come into your lives? How important is this identification for you, as people and as a movement?

Allie: I’ve really been a feminist for as long as I can remember. Every year in elementary school, I would do a project on women my little heart found to be badass aka Susan B Anthony, Juliette Lowe, and Helen Keller. I never really started identifying as a feminist until my freshman year of high-school, though. Intersectional feminism is so important to me. I am unabashedly a social justice warrior and I will stop at nothing to ensure every human being regardless of race, sexuality, class, gender, etc. has achieved equity. Intersectional feminism is also important to our movement because, if we didn’t have this identification, our words would be fruitless and this movement would have no real meaning.

What do you do to help make the scene a better place?

Join the conversation,  Tweet us!

By
california

Blink-182

California (Deluxe)


They are more self-aware than ever, and who’s to say growing up isn’t a good thing?

Before you start reading this review, here’s something you need to know about the person writing it: I don’t miss Tom DeLonge. I’m not too fond of Angels & Airwaves and how much DeLonge’s songwriting on it influenced blink-182’s comeback album, Neighborhoods. Also, as a longtime blink fan who never got to watch the band live, I desperately wanted them to keep releasing music and playing shows as much as possible. Add that to my profound admiration of both Matt Skiba and John Feldmann, and California might be my favourite blink album.

Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about the deluxe edition of California.

After their comeback, it took blink-182 five years—and countless media-fueled arguments—to release new music. Only two singles and less than a year, the band is back with a deluxe edition of California. Mark Hoppus, Matt Skiba and Travis Barker clearly had enough songs for a new full-length: they gave fans 11 new songs, and an acoustic version of “Bored to Death”.  Quantity doesn’t mean quality, though, and it’s easy to understand why these tracks didn’t make the first cut.

Almost half of the tracks had already been released before the record dropped on May 19th: “Parking Lot”, “Misery”, “Wildfire”, “6/8”, “Can’t Get You More Pregnant”, as well as “Hey I’m Sorry”, which was on the Japanese edition of California. For those who were hoping to understand Skiba’s real role in the band, these songs show he’s not there just because the band needed a guitarist. Just like Hoppus had done with “San Diego” on the standard version, Skiba starts the album reminding everyone of his Chicago roots in “Parking Lot”. It wasn’t always all about California, at least not for him. “6/8”–probably the most different song blink has ever done—and “Hey I’m Sorry”—which takes an unexpected political turn—are other Skiba-heavy songs.

Thematically, nostalgia is a huge part of the album. “Parking Lot”, “Last Train Home”, and “Wildfire” are examples of this need of going back to the roots, looking at decisions made in the past and wishing to change the present. This is interesting on a first listen, but gets old really fast—I mean, did fans really need another 30-second song?  The repetition makes the album as a whole easy to forget and hard to come back to.

If anything is to be praised about this album, it’s how risky it is. California’s standard version played safe for the most part, but the deluxe edition shows the band can go further. Yes, they are borrowing (and sometimes even copying, such as when “Don’t Mean Anything” sounds a little too much like “Adam’s Song”) from old blink-182, but they are also more self-aware than ever, and who’s to say growing up isn’t a good thing?

Follow Blink-182

By
Staircase Spirits - War Stories Review // AtTheBarricade.net

Staircase Spirits

War Stories EP


Although most people say they turn to their favorite artists for relief, music also has a way of making one face feelings they didn’t want to—or weren’t ready for. Staircase Spirits’ new EP, War Stories, does exactly that. There is not one song on this second part of a trilogy about exiting an abusive relationship that leaves listeners untouched. It may be sympathy, distress or anger.

The latter is exactly what the Los Angeles duo, singer Anna Maria and drummer Eva Friedman, were trying to encompass. Do not expect screaming or loud guitars, though. Staircase Spirit never abandons their pop sensibilities, even when Anna Maria repeatedly tells her ex to shut up on “Good Ex-Girlfriend”, the EP’s first single. When she’s that mad, she resembles Amanda Palmer.

Another similarity is that both musicians have a vein for impacting listeners with the significance of their words, which becomes clear on “That Night (II)”. At first, it’s as if one’s sitting next to the singer as she tells them her tale. However, as the song builds up, the details start to weigh in and one can’t help but become passionate about the story.

Then the last song, “Rewriting History”, introduces a new feeling: sadness, making one wonder if that is the step they will take on their third EP.

War Stories may seem like an easy listen at first due to the light essence of pop music—the true impact comes from the lyrics. It’s not a record to listen to on repeat at any time, but it will be there if you need it.

Follow Staircase Spirits

By
LLL

The Maine

Lovely Little Lonely


Release: April 7, 2017

Label: 8123

At 12:30 A.M. Eastern Time, The Maine’s sixth studio album reached second place on the iTunes alternative chart and drummer Pat Kirch celebrated the news on Twitter. Lovely Little Lonely marks their 10th year as band and fourth independent release through 8123, which it makes it even more incredible to see how much people still genuinely care for the band. This love is easily justifiable, though, because The Maine keeps growing and putting out strong material.

Before the release on April 7th, the band had already shared three tracks: the first single “Bad Behavior”, reminiscent of American Candy’s “English Girls“; the moody “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu”, an easy sing-along song; and the anthemic “Do You Remember? (The Other Half of 23)”, arguably the weakest tune on the record.

The best tracks from Lovely Little Lonely are the first and last tracks, “Don’t Come Down”, and  “How Do You Feel?” – nothing new here, though. The Maine have been writing strong openers and closers throughout their career, from Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’s “We’ll All Be…” to American Candy’s “Another Night on Mars”, and Pioneer’s “Identify” to Forever Halloween’s “Take What You Can Carry”. What comes in between, however, is the most cohesive set of songs the band has ever released.

Every song fits perfectly next to the other as if they were a continuous piece (as albums should technically be); and, when they don’t, the interludes “Lovely” and “Little” provide a perfect flow between contrasting tracks. To be fully appreciated, this album needs to be listened to from front to back at least once.

Sonically, Lovely Little Lonely falls somewhere in between Pioneer (2011) and American Candy (2015). Both albums were also produced by Colby Wedgeworth. However, there’s not one single song that could fit on the previous records: no reworked discarded tracks or forgotten demos. What LLL shows is a struggle between upbeat and more vibe-y tracks, trying to experiment and wanting a pop-sounding production, darker lyrics and cheerful sounds.

Lyrically, it may be the band’s weakest work in a few years. There are highlights, of course, such as “The only thing I’m really sure of, I’m unsure of almost everything” from “I Only Wanna Talk to You” and “When you asked me “Is the sadness everlasting?” / I pulled you closer, looked at you and said “Love, I think it is” from “Taxi”. In general, though, they are focusing on relationships and all that surround them. It’s fine: everyone writes about love and vocalist John O’Callaghan still makes feelings sound better than most people in the music industry. Nevertheless, the odes to being young and even the social commentary from American Candy are missing, as well as the striking pain and doubt from Forever Halloween (2013).

Six albums in, one thing about The Maine remains: they are not going to release the same things twice. They work too hard and care too much about their fans to not try their best every single time. And, for that, they should be praised.

Follow The Maine

By
 
Simple Plan is currently celebrating the 15th anniversary of their first record, No Pads, No Helmets…Just Balls, but this Tuesday at the House of Blues in Cleveland they did more than help fans relive their younger years.
 
Judging by the number of hands that went up when Pierre Bouvier asked who had never seen them before, last Tuesday was many people’s first Simple Plan concert. That realization was weird at first for me – someone who’s had her fair share of watching, talking to and taking pictures with all of the members – and for the band, who kept reminding the public how nostalgic it was to play songs written over 15 years ago.
 
The show was sold out and the house was already packed when Seaway took the stage. Their short set managed to engage the audience with their own songs (“Best Mistake” and “Freak” being highlights) and covers (not one person could help but sing along to Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom”). The second band on the bill, Set It Off, felt less like an opener. Fans sang along to vocalist Cody Carson, enthralled by the band’s dynamic on stage. However, as much as some people knew the lyrics, their songs were too new and fresh for the night.
SP

Simple Plan in Cleveland. Photo by Natasha Heinz.

There wasn’t much suspense on the set list. They played the album top to bottom, from “I’d Do Anything” to “Perfect“, including the Japanese bonus track “Grow Up” (in which they sing about listening Good Charlotte, Sum 41, blink-182, and MxPx is his room). The band still plays most singles on current tours, so the real delight was in songs such as “Meet You There“, “One Day“, and “My Alien“. There’s a probability those tracks were long-forgotten, but fans knew the lyrics to every one of the verses. It makes sense: No Pads was released in 2002, well before Youtube or Spotify. This was a time when people bought records and listened all the way through them. The CD – an act, physical CD – probably played on the stereos in their rooms, their cars and their walkmen.

 
As a 25-year-old, it is really hard to relate to lyrics such as “I’m just a kid and life is a nightmare” or verses that whine about parents not letting you go out. However, these are the first songs I heard from a band that define a great part of my teenage years. This show reminded me why I fell in love with this band in the first place. It assured me that I’ll keep listening to every single song they put out, going to shows and singing along to every word. Judging by the number of people who raised their hands when Pierre asked who’d come back to their concert next time, I’m not the only one.

Have you been to any shows on this tour? Can you believe this album is 15 YEARS OLD!?

Join our crippling nostalgia,  tweet us!

By

It’s 2017, I feel like we shouldn’t have to be talking about this again, but festival season is approaching. Line-ups are being announced and again there’s an astonishing lack of women on the bills. This is not a new thing: lack of representation has been a huge issue, and fans and journalists alike have been calling out festival organizers, especially in the last couple of years. We would think by now they got the message, right? I know.

In January, UK festival Reading & Leeds began announcing their line up. In the first announcement, there was only one woman on the list of 11 performers. That’s on the other side of the Atlantic, though; what about North America?

On Wednesday, both Lollapalooza and Warped Tour announced their line ups. The latter is taking 90 bands on the road; 14 are made up of women and 3 of them are playing the main stages. However little in number they are, these acts might be the most interesting ones on the whole tour. I’ll explain below.

Reading and Leeds: Back at it again with sexism

On January 20th, the first batch of performers for Reading & Leeds festival were announced and included headliners such as Muse and Kasabian. 20 acts, 57 male and 1 female: Against The Current’s singer Chrissy Costanza. Here’s a visual that shows a startling reality.

 

Were people happy? Of course not. Reading & Leeds organizers were called out, stories were written on the lack of representation, hell broke loose on social media. Alternative Press interviewed Chrissy about the situation and, of course, she agreed it was infuriating to say the least, but she also brought a different perspective to the discussion: fans need to support female artists and bands first so that promoters know what to look for. She referred to a poll about the Reading & Leeds line up that asked who people wanted to see on the festival. All they got were male bands (and obvious choices such as Paramore and PVRIS). Chrissy’s point is that we have to directly show organizers we are into female acts so that they can be aware of who to book.

It’s an interesting point of view, which leads me to ask… isn’t pointing out the lack of female representation directly showing promoters we want more diversity in festivals? Is media doing enough to forward the talk on representation? How much influence do fans actually have on line ups? I can’t actually answer all of these questions, but there’s definitely enough to think about there.

Can these women save this year’s Warped Tour?

March 22nd brought us the Warped Tour line up announcement. It may be only me, but it feels like this is the least exciting group of acts this tour has ever had—I can’t honestly remember the last time when I went through the list and couldn’t find one band that made me want to go. (To be fair, it might mean I am getting old, but remember how amazing last year was?)

Earlier this year, Kevin Lyman & co. had already given fans the Warped Rewind at Sea cruise, which is happening in the fall. 14 bands and 2 special guests are confirmed, and the only woman is Babs from Emo Nite. There are still more acts to be announced, though.

All things considered, there wasn’t much hope for women at Warped Tour this year–I mean, do female musicians want to go on a tour who supports anti-choice organizations and gives a platform for pedophiles?

Despite all that, Warped’s line up has 16 acts made up of females or with females in them. This constitutes 17.7% of the 90 performers. Three of these acts are on the Journeys’ main stages: New Years Day, Jule Vera, and Save Ferris.

Since I am complaining about this situation, I believe it’s fair to say that apart from the bands playing the main stages, I did not know many of the female acts on Warped Tour this year. Maybe they are not the style I’m into, maybe they weren’t on my radar, or maybe I simply ignored them.

I wasn’t excited about any of the “male bands” (should we start saying male bands like we do girl bands?) I knew, so I went out to check the “female bands”. I opened all of their Facebook pages, as well as searched their songs on Spotify. One of the first bands I came across was War On Women. They followed the Warped announcement with the following post:

War On Women has accepted an offer to play Vans Warped Tour this summer. This might be surprising for some, and I understand why. We are “anti-” a lot of things that Warped Tour seems neutral on, or even worse, “pro-”. While in the past it might have been on a smaller scale, we have always been fully comfortable forcing our way into potentially hostile environments to share our intersectional feminist messages with folks who might not hear it otherwise. We take that challenge on because we are very privileged people in most ways, and we always hope that if we’ve opened a few people up to the things we value, they might be more likely to find out about bands like G.L.O.S.S., Downtown Boys, and La Armada. We won’t be checking our activism at the door this summer, and we are so excited to share our safer spaces project with you in the coming days. Stay tuned.

You can check out the full statement here.

It made me wonder: are women going to use this platform to promote change? Warped Tour is a show where a lot of people, especially young people, go to check out acts they don’t already know. The festival goers are so immersed into the music and the scene that what happens affects them. People find their new favorite bands on Warped Tour. If they’re moving through stages and catch War on Women talking about the issues they care about, is it likely they’ll catch the message?

I sure hope so. The people in this scene have had enough of important voices not taking sides. Kids have had enough of not feeling safe in what was supposed to be their safe space. Maybe attending this year’s Warped Tour is less about singing along to the same songs by the same bands all over again; maybe it is about hearing more important messages. Maybe it’s not about the number of women, but what they can say.


What do you think needs to be done for the festival scene to progress forward?

Join the conversation,  tweet us!

By

If you ever wondered what it was like being on tour, Brittany O’Brien says it involves a lot of dirt and gas stations. As you can imagine, the music photographer would not change it for anything. The reasons involve drinking on the beach, tropical storms, Pokemon GO (we’ll get to it soon, I promise), and probably also having a job she absolutely adores. In her own words, “I love documenting the art of other people through my art.” She also likes polaroid cameras, loud music and editing gritty film.

O’Brien is based out of Oakland, CA, but you will most likely find her on tour with bands like FinishTicket and Fitz and the Tantrums. This summer she will be following the latter around a 42-date arena tour of North America with One Republic. Her resume also includes the likes of Foals and Twenty One Pilots, which she describes as one of her favourite bands to photograph: “Their live show is out of this world and that contributes to the ease and fun of shooting their set.” The pictures surely show the fun side of things.

@twentyonepilots last nite part 2 🚩 // #twentyonepilots

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

The easy part, however, may take a while to understand but is directly connected to O’Brien’s love of music. Music has a huge importance to a lot people; for some, it’s a way of connecting to others, many see it as an escape. But what about when you work with music? Does it ever get tiring hearing the same songs again and again? Not for Brittany O’Brien, who says she is inspired by it: “I listen to music while editing, I search for new music while on the road. I fall in love with music while watching it live.” I guess that explains what makes it so simple.

We asked Brittany a few questions about photography, being a woman in the music industry and advice she has to young photographers.

lots of luv every nite on tour with @fitzandthetantrumsofficial a few months ago 🌸

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

ATB: How did you get involved with photography?

BO: I got involved in photography in High School! I was a yearbook photographer and got put in charge of taking all the "senior awards" photos. I loved getting creative and telling stories through those photos and kept it up after graduation. I was offered a photo internship in San Francisco shortly after I graduated and moved south. While in the city, I fell in love with the music scene and starting weaving myself and my camera in the industry.

ATB: How did music photography come into your life?

BO: After moving into San Francisco, I started going to shows constantly. There was just always something to see or something going on. I was heavily guided by Alex DiDonato (the guitarist of Finish Ticket) as he had been in the Bay Area music scene for years. With his musical guidance, I started practicing/falling in love with music photography when Finish Ticket played around the Bay Area. I started working with other artists in the area and eventually artists around the U.S. since I was constantly being introduced to new people. It is a rough industry but I have been lucky to work with people that have inspired me to keep pushing into it.

from the archive: on set with @finishticket in '15 // #finishticket

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

ATB: I feel like everyone who loves music wonders what is it like to be on tour. Do you have any fun stories to share?

BO: A favorite tour story of mine happened while I was on a tour with Finish Ticket last summer. We had a day off in South Carolina, so obviously, we stayed in Myrtle Beach. Haha. We decided to go all out and stay at one of the old school “resorts” on the beach that had like a giant indoor pool. (This was right when Pokemon GO became a thing.) So we made a plan to go drink on the beach and swim in the Atlantic ocean, but one guy on our crew only wanted to play Pokemon GO. He goes off by himself and the rest of us drink and swim and then the most INSANE tropical storm I’ve ever experienced happens out of nowhere and they make everyone go inside and get out of the ocean\pool. We all go back to our hotel room and one of the guys in the band is so concerned about our friend who ran off to play Pokemon GO. Maybe 30 minutes later he shows up to the hotel room soaking wet but stoked because he had caught all the Pokemon he wanted. Anyway, we ended drinking in our room and watching the lightning over the ocean from our room. It was so awesome.

ATB: A lot of women come through with stories about how they are treated working in the music industry. What is like being a female photographer on tour?

BO: Being a female on tour is wild. Let me tell you — you have to be cool with dirt, poop jokes, gas stations and cold. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Honestly, I am treated wonderfully by all the bands I’ve ever worked with. I’m treated the same as the guys. It feels safe, it feels empowering and it feels awesome to be around men who want me to push myself and go further in an industry dominated by other men.  There have been a few times in venues around the U.S. where the staff didn’t take me seriously. Or would ask “Darlin’, you need help lifting that?” I’m like: “Uh, no. I do this every night.”

🚫 // #35mm

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

ATB: Can you walk us through a day in your life?

BO: On the road my day is simple. I get up around 12, find food in whatever city I wake up in that day, check out the venue, get my gear ready, go follow the band around and shoot, say hey and interview fans in line, shoot the show, break down and load up the van/bus, then hang with the guys until 2-3 a.m. and crawl into bed.  Off the road my day varies. Generally I edit, scout around Oakland for good spots for future shoots coming up, look for photo work, sometimes go outside and wander for a while then hopefully check out a show somewhere in the Bay Area.

ATB: What advice would you give to young music photographers starting in the business?

BO: My biggest advice is confidence. It’s so important to push yourself and act like you know what you’re doing even when you don’t! People feed off other people and their confidence. It works wonders with managers and bands. I always recommend going to small local shows and getting to know the people on stage. Meet up with them after the show and tell them you’ll send them your stuff! Bands always love having content to share. Confidence and a drive to succeed. Networking and practice.

 

shot @dnce last nite. it was wild. more comin soon // #DNCE

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

lotsa hard work in the studio 🙌 // #finishticket

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

when it's 100 but you still gotta rock 🤘 nashville // #35mm

A post shared by brittany o'brien (@britobrien) on

If you could photograph any band or artist, who would it be?

Join the conversation,  tweet us!