Music Photography Blog

by Adam Elmakias

Europe with Breathe Carolina

I met the Breathe Carolina dudes for the first time back in 2008. We did a photo shoot in a venue and covered the guys in blood, it was loads of fun. Anyways, fast forward two years the guys were nice enough to let me ride on their bus for two or three days on Warped in 2009. It was a wild ride, the first night I rode with them I was sleeping on their front lounge couch. As soon as our bus started up, a bottle of whiskey spilled off the counter and covered my face, hair and eyes. It burned like , well it burned like alcohol. At the time I was finishing up a tour so I didn’t have any clean clothes, man did I smell terrible the next day.

Fast forward two years and my good friend Sal, who used to tour manager A Day To Remember, started working for them. He invited us out on their European tour and I thought it seemed like fun, so off I went.

09/11 – San Diego, CA -> Amsterdam, NL
09/12 – Rotterdam, NL
09/13 – Amsterdam, NL
09/14 – Amsterdam, NL

Tour with Breathe Carolina
09/15 – Amsterdam, NL
09/16 – Koln, DE
09/17 – Southampton, UK
09/18 – Southampton, UK
09/19 – Exeter, UK
09/20 – Cardiff, UK
09/21 – Nottingham, UK
09/22 – Liverpool, UK
09/23 – Milton Keynes, UK
09/24 – London, UK
09/25 – Leeds, UK

* Tour Ends *
09/26 – Leeds, UK
09/27 – Leeds, UK ->San Diego, CA

I am doing this blog a little different than usual. I am going to be putting up two images with a caption every day, so check back. You can either scope the images on here, my Tumblr, Facebook, Google +, and I’ll be posting them on my Twitter as well. Whatever works best for you, works for me.

I have always been a big fan of lens rental. Gear is expensive to own, you have to buy it, clean it, and insure it. Too much time, I like it simple. I prefer to skip all that junk and just rent lenses. You pay a small fee, get the exact tools you need for the job and then return them after you are done. Such a solid deal. There are a few great companies out there, however I have been working with Lens Rentals for a little bit now and it has been more than rewarding. For this tour I rented a Zeiss 35mm MF f/2.8. Amazing glass, sharp and it was at my door only days after I ordered it. I know the pricing may be a bit much for some of you beginners out there, but it is a very good investment, think of it this way. Most pros use 2-3k glass, hell most of the time it’s even more expensive than that. Then you go look at their images and think to yourself “Man if I had that kind of money, I could get that lens and make this image” . We all do it, come up with excuses on why we can’t create the images we see. Well, no you don’t have one. You can set up a shoot and rent a $3,000 lens just for it, and get that pro look you wanted- for a very small fraction of the price. That is why we have the nice people Lens Rentals around. Utilize them, it’ll help you grow as a photographer and create variety in your images.

That being said, a good amount of these images were shot with the Zeiss 35mm MF f/2.8. You can probably tell which ones because they are out of focus, where is my AF at? I kid, but really- great lens. It just took me a little bit to get adjusted to the manual focus.

Anyways, here we go!

I flew out to the Netherlands a few days early so that I could chill for a little bit. It was probably some of the best times I have ever had. I don’t usually travel alone, well that’s only half true. I do travel alone- but only on my way to the tour. This time I actually had a full three days to myself. So yea, I flew into Amsterdam and took a short train up to Rotterdam where I had booked a room at a hotel. This photo is actually the view from my window. I walked around the city for most of the day and tried to correct my sleep schedule that night. It didn’t work out so well and I ended up hanging out on the bridge at around 3:00am. Overall it was a beautiful city, very stoked I made it out to this city a few days early.

This was my hotel room in Rotterdam. Very clean, very simple, and very comfortable. The hotel was called the Tulip Inn. Next time I go I will try and stay at a hostels, I hear they have a really nice hostel in Rotterdam.

The next day after Rotterdam I took a train back to Amsterdam. By the time I got back to the city and settled in at my hotel the sun had set. I have been to Amsterdam a few times before but I always scared to walk around with my camera. A few friends of mine have been mugged here in the past. Last time we were here, a man acted drunk and bumped into my friend. He then took his iPhone and picked up a nearby rock, threatened him with it and told him to back the fuck off before running away with his phone. Sketch. Anyway, I am not a big guy nor am I trying to get mugged.

This is my hotel room I had in Amsterdam. It was super small, like you can see how wide it is here, bed, floor, small table and sink. Bathrooms were communal. My ceiling light was a snare drum and you can see the small table is designed like a road case. The idea behind the hotel was to have a “backstage” theme, and it was called The Backstage. Super nice people worked there. Plus it was where we would be staying the next night once the band arrived.

People in Amsterdam ride a lot of bikes, A LOT of bikes. This is a standard street corner. During the day the streets are crowded with them, I can’t even count the times I almost got hit by a bike during the day. If people aren’t biking, they are usually taking the tram.

This is Eric standing in the balcony of our hotel room. I shot the image from inside, through the curtain.

Here are four of the guys relaxing in two beds in one of our hotel rooms. Cool part about this band/ crew is how close everyone is to each other. It is like family, actually they are family. I have toured with them a few times before, but nothing longer than a few days, it was nice of them to let me join their team for a little over a week.

Eric is probably my favorite guy to photograph, this is him texting his girlfriend back in the States.

09/14 – Amsterdam, Netherlands

I went to this restaurant last time with Sal, and I probably went there a good four times in the three days I was in Amsterdam this time around. I forget the name of the deli, but it is so bomb. Fresh everything, great bakery goods, just all around delicious. I always end up eating loads of food when I am in Amsterdam, they have such a good selection. I think my sandwich had every type of veggie in it.

09/15 – Koln, Germany

Tasty and Eric having a smoke at a picnic table. We stopped at a service center outside of the city for a few hours because the bus wasn’t able to go in any earlier. We had what is called a “drop n go” that day. This is exactly what it sounds like, you drop your gear off your bus, and then you go. This is because the venue was in a busy area with no parking, so we had to wait and time everything out just right. This meant hours of sitting at a service center…. this would have been boring but luckily for us we had tons of movies on our buses hard drives. I think we watched Fired Up!, I love that movie so much.

This is backstage at the venue in Germany. David, left, wanted a photo with Tom on the right. For some reasons, I forget who, someone was making these weird ass tin foil hats and putting them on people’s heads. Tom sported it proudly and honestly I think it looks badass on him. I don’t recall whose hand that is reaching in giving me the middle finger, but I think that it is Kyle’s. This photo was taken late at night, and everyone had been drinking a tad.

9/17 – Ferry

On our ferry ride to the United Kingdom a few of the guys decided to play some games at the casino. Tasty ended up winning. He won 50 of whatever currency this is. It was funny cause we knew he won some money, but we didn’t know how to get it out of the machine, and we didn’t want to press the wrong button and bet everything. After about 5 mins of messing around Taste ended up figuring it out and out his coins poured. I have never seen him so happy.

9/17 – Ferry To celebrate his winning Tasty was nice enough to buy everyone champagne, two bottles of champagne at 9:00am. Livin’ it up.
round 2

I know it doesn’t look like lots going on in this image above. But everyone is sorta laughing quietly and looking around at people’s reactions. You see, Eric, long haired guy grinning in the middle, decided to put on some straight USA late 90’s early 2000’s Hip Hop. I know he played three songs… I think it was Eminem, Soulja Boy, and one other person I can’t recall. But yea he put some money in the machine, chose three songs and the music videos played on the TV and the music played loud in this library quiet room. It was full of the same people you would see at a library as well, families, elderly folk etc etc. Anyway they all started looking over and we all just started laughing. This is that image. It was a good time. I guess this photo is only cool if I tell you the story…. not a very good photo. So I guess think of this photo as the caption to this paragraph.

09/17 – Southampton, UK

We walked up and down this street about 18 times in the two days we were parked in this area. The house was somewhere between our house and the shopping/ food area. This was a family working on their house, and it’s about to rain. I have no idea why I like this image, it is sorta shit.

Lit with 580ex

I took a bunch of portraits of the guys against the side of the bus. Lit with a 580ex. Shows the character of each of these dudes real well.

I am working

I was crouched down in between two monitor wedges at the stage’s front. I had sweaty fans cushioning my back. It was not a very fun place to shoot images from, but I got a cool one so it was worth it.

This was our bus driver. He was awesome. He didn’t take shit from anyone, hated having his picture taken, and somehow ended up posing for a shot for me. Maybe he was in an extra good mood.

Everyday after sound check we would usually go grab dinner. It was rad because the whole crew and band hung out together almost everyday, this doesn’t happen on every tour. Well, almost everyone, Sauce would stay back and do his own thing most of the time. Everyone just said “oh yea, Sauce, he’s back at the bus charging” mostly cause no one really knows what he does all the time. But yea, this is us walking to dinner, and Tissue and Sal pretending they don’t want me to take their photo.

Colton chillin’ after soundcheck.

Eric and Sal in our tour bus stairway. I was on a double decker bus the other two times I was in Europe, this time we had a single decked but man was it far off the ground. I am standing at the top of the stairs and Sal is all the way down at the bottom. You can see how far away we are from each other.

09/22 – Liverpool, UK Grabbed this shot after getting lunch with Sal, two randoms.

We were parked right outside the venue for the majority of the day before the show. We were in the middle of nowhere so we climbed a nearby fire escape and took a smoke break on the roof.

Tissue is Breathe Carolina’s sound tech. I met him a few years back on my first trip to Europe with A Day To Remember. This was taken right after someone on the local crew connected some kind of wire in the wrong way and caused all of the power to go out. Tissue hadn’t saved his settings yet so they had to do the whole sound check all over again.

This is Kyle and I
Tek One

09/24 – London, UK

We got to London at about 11:00am and I went with three of the guys to London’s one and only – Chipotle. It was only three subway stops, or underground stops – I don’t know what to call it, away. However three stops on the London underground is quite the task for people from the States. Seriously, look up a map of the underground online and tell me it doesn’t look like rainbow colored spaghetti. Anyway, Tom (in back) was from the area so he showed us the way there.

09/24 – London, UK

Tissue and Kyle snacking it up right outside the Camden market in London. The place was packed so we had to sit down in the street, there was no where else to chill! I remember, I got a bomb ass fresh squeezed orange juice that day. I want some so badly right now I am going to go to Whole Foods and get some.

Getting solid images of Drummers is probably one of the most difficult things to do… cause they are all the way in the frickin’ back! Anyway… got my ass on stage and crouched in some terribly uncomfortable position for a good chunk of time until I got a solid shot. I like the smoke a lot in this one.

This is Kyle backstage before the show. Please note his amazing Pooh Bear shirt. He said, yes, hes all bloody cause he just ate Piglets head and is still holding his body in his hand. So vicious.

I did a quick shoot with Kyle and David. Together they make up Breathe Carolina. Live the band is a five piece, but in all of their press photos and such they are only a two piece. Shoot took about four minutes total and this was my favorite shot of the batch. We did it in their backstage area right before they went on stage and it was lit with a 580ex shot through an umbrella to the right.

09/25 – Leeds, UK Another shot from the quick shoot, this one was all natural light.

This is Breathe Carolina as a full band

We shot this right after they played their set. On the far left is Luis. He’s the DJ. Probably the most chill and relaxed dude ever. To his left, our right, is Kyle- one of two vocalists. Kyle is a kind soul, always lookin’ out for everyone and making sure they are having a good time. In the middle is Eric. Eric is the Drummer of the band. Then we have keyboard player, backup vocals and other random instruments Josh. And last we have David, vocalist number two. He was exhausted in this image.

I got in trouble for taking this picture in a museum, shows how much I know about etiquette. Anyway, figure I better post it because then I can tell you this story.

09/27 – Leeds, UK Ill leave you with this image.