Well, I went to the Alternative Press Music Awards with A Day To Remember. I have only been to one awards show before, and it was the Golden Gods. The Golden Gods were honestly the worse thing I had ever been to (haha), and the APMAs were so much more fun. Maybe it’s because I literally knew everyone at the APMAs. It was everyone I had worked with over the past 6 years, together. What more could I ask for?
In the past, an event like this would just overwhelm me. I would be like SO MUCH TO PHOTOGRAPH, what do I do? Point! Shoot! Run around! Stress out! Point! Shoot! In reality, it was nothing like this. I was actually rather relaxed. If you have ever run into me at a show or while I am working though, you will know that talking to me pretty much just doesn’t work. Whatever part of my body turns on when there are photos to be taken, and simultaneously switches off my conversation control. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be on the other end of the convo. It would be like talking to someone who was about to rob a bank and was anxious and shit. I am just searching around for people hanging out constantly, scouring the people with my eagle eyes and trying to craft up some images. The last thing I want to do is talk. Apologies–it’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that I can’t think enough to care. Something like that.
Anyway, I flew to Cleveland, Ohio with A Day To Remember a day early. We were staying at a hotel that every other band I worked for was also staying at. Pierce The Veil, All Time Low, Sleeping With Sirens, and… that’s it. Haha, it’s not that many, but it’s nice to have everyone together in the same area! Oli from Bring Me The Horizon was also there, but not the rest of the band.
We arrived at the hotel and got our rooms. Everyone was arriving at about the same time so I just hung around in the lobby and grabbed photos as people I knew arrived. I never take pictures of people I don’t know, or I introduce myself and then take their image. I feel bad, I feel cheap, and I just can’t do it in a personal setting. For example, Hayley from Paramore arrived with her boyfriend Chad from New Found Glory and I made extra sure to not even raise my camera. I know her, I have photographed her band, but I still feel incredibly invasive and I don’t want people to think I am going to sneak shots of them when they aren’t looking. My job relies heavily on my relationship with the artist–actually that is pretty much all it relies on–so I can’t mess that up.
I had a bit of a schedule for that day. Basically rehearsals were about a half-mile from the hotel. I had to take pictures of ADTR rehearsals and photograph Sleeping With Sirens and Pierce The Veil together for a tour announcement they had. In addition, I had to do some filming for them back at the hotel. Not very much to coordinate, but it’s a little bit different than what I have been doing for the past year as it involves more than one band. When I am just working for ADTR it’s easy because it’s one schedule. Add in two more bands… and it gets a little tricky. Here is what ended up happening
2:00 arrive at hotel
2:15-4:30 – hang at hotel
4:30 – go to rehearsals with Pierce The Veil/ All Time Low
5:00 – photograph All Time Low Rehearsals with New Found Glory and Vic Fuentes of PTV
6:00 – photograph A Day To Remember Rehearsals
6:30 – Head back to hotel with ADTR so I could eat
7:30 – Ride back to rehearsals with Sleeping With Sirens
8:00 – Shoot Sleeping With Sirens rehearsals
8:15 – Get gear from photography friend and set up for shoot
9:00 – Photograph Pierce The Veil and Sleeping With Sirens for about 45 minutes on the water
10:30 – Film SWS and PTV back at the hotel, ends whenever we are done
This was the ideal schedule. Honestly, everything went pretty well. It was a little bit rushed on my end but all in all, it worked out. Big thanks to Graham Fielder for letting me use his gear–he last minute saved my ass for sure. Sometimes I worry that things like this don’t stress me out anymore. Do I not care? Or am I just used to it now? Who knows? Maybe it’s the legos I swallowed when I was younger. That must be it.
The hardest part of this whole ordeal… was the shoot. I love shooting candids outside–that’s easy. There isn’t really anything that could go wrong, and it was sunset for like 4 hours, so constant beautiful light. That being said, I didn’t come away with as many images that I *love*, but it happens. Moving on…. The shoot was hard because the light was changing. I know we were supposed to shoot at 9:00, but historically nothing goes to schedule. But on this day, everything went to schedule. It was hard piecing two bands together. I only had one softbox too. I could have composited it, but I had to turn everything that night… I FORGOT. My deadline for the video and the photos were that night, so I had to keep everything simple. Anyway, one softbox. I don’t do many shoots anymore mostly due to the fact that I don’t like the “producing” aspect of the shoot and bands are too cheap to have big enough budgets for me to hire a producer, so I just run and gun almost every time and hope I make out with something nice.
I set up on the water and crossed my fingers pretty tightly, hoping they wouldn’t be super late and we could use some of the natural light left to light the sky. I think we ended up getting some good shots. Right now this is the only one that is released.
This is everyone in the hotel after we filmed our videos. I have no idea how we didn’t get in trouble, we were so loud yelling in the hotel at 11:00 pm.
After everything was said and done, I went down to the restaurant in the lobby to hang out with everyone. People were wasted, and I was exhausted, so I grabbed a few photos and headed to bed by 2:00 am (I had to edit the photo(s) that night as well remember)
The next morning I woke up and did my own thing with A Day To Remember. We have a pretty good schedule for when we travel: get some food, workout, and then start our day. We did the first two and then went right into getting ready for the awards. Everything started pretty early cause we had to walk a red carpet and all that weird stuff.
I tried to grab group shots of as many of the bands I knew before heading to the awards. I was bummed I didn’t get All Time Low, but blame them for leaving the hotel so late!
We took a party bus to the awards show with Yellowcard. We arrived and got right off the bus on to the red carpet. It was wild. I walked the red carpet with ADTR and I had no idea what was going on.
They should have made the rep carpet wider. Or maybe this is just how these things work. It was basically a bunch of people walking in a row doing interviews really close together and taking pictures. I just hung out and took pictures of ADTR taking pictures with other people. It was fun.
I love ADTR. I love them because no matter what happens, they are going to do them. They love their fans and just left the red carpet to take a picture with them. It was awesome.
After we were done we went on a small private tour in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame… that’s where this whole event was being held. They said they have about 30k pieces, and at any given time about 5k of them are on display… so they took us to the storage area and showed us some of their favorite pieces. We got to look at Elvis Presley’s guns, Michael Jackson’s outfit from when he was in the Jackson five, Jimi Hendrix outfit… pretty much anyone legendary, they had something.
After that, we headed over to the awards show. It had already started and we got there a little bit late. Just think of an outdoor concert, that is what this was. The only thing that made it different was that each band only played 1 or two songs, and on the side, there was a VIP area for all the bands/music industry people in attendance. I shot a few of the sets but mostly just hung out in the VIP area and took photos. Yea, that is pretty much it. I saw a lot of old friends and made some new friends. Twenty One Pilots are fucking nuts, as usual. All of Warped Tour and Mayhem festivals were there as well, so lots of friends! I ended up meeting and talking to one of the guys from Simple Plan about photography for 10 minutes, and that was awesome. In addition, I met Fall Out Boy officially and they were very nice to me. I have honestly met them all multiple times before, but then won’t remember any of them. So we start anew.
My favorite thing ever, is friends, meeting friends. I just love connecting people, being their common friend. I think that is the most rewarding feeling. Especially when I know how chill everyone is. Sometimes people think they might not like each other, but I want to show them otherwise. I am determined to have everyone I know to be friends.
I don’t think I watched much of the awards show at all haha. I figure there were like 30 photographers shooting it, they don’t need me, they go that shit on lock. After there was an after-party at the Rock n Roll Hall and we went there for a bit. I mostly hung out with Jeremy.
Next stop, the hotel. There was a lot of partying going on at the restaurant and I partook. I think I had one shot. It tasted so terrible, and then I had a beer.
That’s all I’ve got. The APMAs were a lot of fun, and from my point of view, everything went very smoothly and was run well. I can’t wait for next year!