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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

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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 🌸

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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

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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

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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

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lotsa hard work in the studio 🙌 // #finishticket

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

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

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As far as live shows go there are a lot of things that can be done to make a show great. Twenty One Pilots is one of the best bands by far at putting on an amazing live performance. They have all the lights and confetti that one could want in a show and then there’s more that they do to make the show memorable.

Twenty One Pilots recently played at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA for two sold out shows for the second leg of the Emotional Roadshow. The show had new songs and elements to it that weren’t present in the first leg of the tour. Building up anticipation seems to be a strong suit for the boys as they began the show with the pre-chorus part to “Fairly Local”, dropped a curtain and went straight into “Heavydirtysoul”.

Frontman Tyler Joseph moved around the arena a lot. At one point to the audiences surprise, he ended up in the nosebleed seats singing “Hometown”. Moving back down to the normal stage, “Heathens” was played along with a medley of “House Of Gold/We Don’t Believe What’s On TV”. Tyler and drummer Josh Dun then ran over to the B-Stage and played their cover of My Chemical Romance’s “Cancer” along with a few other songs. During “Cancer”, the arena was lit up with the lights from everyone’s phones and the room was filled with the voices of 18,000 people.

“Holding Onto You” was next, followed by the covers portion of the show. “Car Radio” was the final song before the encore and it was awesome! Tyler went up to his tower at the back of the arena, and then he and the audience sang the final verse the song.

“Goner” and “Trees” were the final two songs for their encore. “Trees” is always one of the best songs to hear live. Tyler gives a speech before he starts the song and he let us all know that he sneezed for the first time ever during a song at the show. After the speech, the song is played and then towards the end of the song Josh and Tyler climb out on top of the crowd and drum together.

The last words you hear at a Twenty One Pilots show stick with you, those words being “We are Twenty One Pilots and so are you”.

There’s really no other show out there quite like TOP. Hearing everyone sing along to a song all at once is one of the coolest things ever. If the boys are ever in your neck of the woods, don’t miss them. Stay Alive |-/

You can check out the remaining dates of the Emotional Roadshow here.

Have you been to any of the Emotional Roadshow dates?

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Please stop me if I’m getting too Tom DeLonge here, but after obsessively re-scouring all their latest projects, I’ve noticed a couple things worth stating for why I think the next album from Twenty One Pilots is going to be VERY different than anything else we’ve seen from them.

1. They burned their own damn logo

If you haven’t seen their new music video for “heavydirtysoul” go check that out so we can talk about that for a hot minute. It shows Ty-Jo driving by in a car that’s falling apart and sparking – which sets the fire on Josh’s drums that burns the entire music video long. (I know, I know Tyler has a 10/10 bad time with cars) but knowing how thoughtful TØP is with their lyrics and symbols, I’m willing to bet that this was very much intentional. I think we can count on an almost complete rebranding and new style of music entirely. Burn your idols, man. I support it.

2. TOPXXMM (the MUTEMATH sessions)

Okay, so we all know this was amazing, but it was definitely different. And (if you ask me) it’s a sign that fans are going to have to accept the change that is coming. This session took some of their biggest hits and reimagined them while also giving credit to another incredible band. However, they showed fans that there are capable of so much more than we have seen from them. It’s even possible that they put it out as an example of what fans can expect from their new music: experimental, electronic, screamy and dreamy. Time will tell.

3. Change is hinted at in interviews

In an interview with Alternative Press, Tyler said he “[feels] a greater sense of freedom and less pressure” moving forward post Blurryface. The boys have already made it, so the real question is: what next?

4. TØP’s Lane Boy lyrics

Take your pick:

“I’m in constant confrontation with what I want and what is poppin’ in the industry, it seems to me that singles on the radio are currency, my creativity’s only free when I’m playing shows”

“They say ‘stay in your lane, boy’ but we go where we want to”

“They think this thing is a highway, if it was our way, we’d have a tempo change every other time change, cause our mind’s change on what we think is good”

We hear you, boys. There’s a lot of pressure to be a certain way in the music industry and the signs are everywhere that TØP is all kinds of over it. Maybe I’m looking into things too much, but I trust that these boys are confident in always creating new and exciting things.

Charlie Kelly Analyzes Twenty One Pilots New Album Conspiracy Theories //

What do you think about what’s coming up for Twenty One Pilots?

What do you want to hear?

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The newest music video from our frens Twenty One Pilots came out today. Heavydirtysoul is the opening track off their 2015 release, Blurryface. This is the 6th music video from their latest album.

The video features Tyler riding in a car that eventually catches on fire and drummer Josh Dun drumming in the middle of the street. Josh’s drums eventually catch on fire as well. Hasn’t anyone ever told them that playing in the street with fire is bad? Looks like having his car radio stolen is the least of Tyler’s car issues.

Twenty One Pilots are currently on their Emotional Roadshow world tour with Judah and The Lion and Jon Bellion. Make sure you catch them on this tour as they are an amazing band to see live.

Check out the new video below!

What do you think of the Heavydirtysoul video? Sick as frick?

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