State of Music by Harry Millett

Words and photography // Harry Millett.
Curation by Sophia Archontis.

Over the last year I have been taking photos at gigs in Glasgow in preparation for the first issue of State of Music. The results were a mix between live performances showcasing the energy within the city’s small and vibrant venues, and the more personal side of the artists.

I took this image of Nekkuro Hana during their gig in The Hug and Pint at the Great Western Festival in the back end of 2019. I particularly like this photograph as it captures the atmosphere at the gig, which was not dissimilar to the vibe in their West Princes Street flat during the interview we did with them. After a couple of songs it became clear that the best shot would be to wait until the light behind the band illuminated either Mashu or Vili’s faces, which I was able to capture happening here. The atmosphere at the gig was exacerbated by the low-lit stage in the basement of the Hug and Pint, and complemented by the packed-out audience, all whom were being drawn in by the band’s powerful psychedelic rock. This photo also resembles the atmosphere of the forthcoming interview we had with the band. With the majority of the group’s members living in a low-lit student flat, this image acts as a good metaphor for the interview which took place, especially given how interesting and engaging it was. 

This image of Robbie and Ronan from Sweaty Palms was taken when we went to have chat with them at McNeils bar for the magazine. There were a few things that I particularly liked when going through and editing what I took, from the lighting in the background, to the empty Tennents glasses on the table. The image perfectly captures not only what the music of Sweaty Palms is all about, but also the relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere of the interview itself, especially when comparing this to the obscure and energetic gigs that Sweaty Palms themselves give. The light in the back really highlights the friendly and joyful atmosphere which we had when chatting with them and it almost makes me forget the reality of the image being taken in the empty upstairs section of McNeils Bar on a rainy dark night in Glasgow’s southside. I also like the unintentional positioning of the Tennents glasses, making Glasgow’s priorities clear. 

I took this photo of Rachel and Eddie from Womensaid on one of the nights of their residency in The Flying Duck. I have taken a number of photo series of Womensaid over the last year, probably more than any other band, but this image in particular is one my favourites, largely because of the lighting and mood surrounding the image. When listening to a track like ‘Magick!’, you can immediately understand what I mean when I say this image perfectly captures the somewhat angular and experimental side of Womensaid’s music. The magenta light in the background creates a perfect atmosphere and projection into both Eddie and Rachel. In addition to this, the facial expression of Eddie and the body postures of the two of them create this intense and engaging atmosphere around the music and the performance. The image was taken in a relatively empty Flying Duck on a cold Wednesday evening, but this image recreates the way I saw the performance and the way I see their music. 

The final interview we did for the magazine was with Brighton’s Italia 90, when they played at Broadcast while on their first UK headline tour. I had seen the band before in London but didn’t know too much about them prior to the interview we did with them and then the subsequent gig. Broadcast is one of, if not my favourite, gig venues in Glasgow, which added to the excitement of seeing them. The gig was one of the most energetic and exhilarating performances I’ve seen in a while, but I particularly like this image as it captures a moment of suspense during the gig. The red light beam at the back of the stage creates a looming feel over the stage and the band. With Les’ back turned and Bobby’s concentration solely on the music it creates a feeling of suspense as the song progresses, as does the atmosphere at the gig. I particularly enjoy this given the relaxed and laid-back conversation we had with them pre-gig, seemingly showing how the bands on and off stage personas differ, which I found fascinating. 

About Harry Millett:

Junior Honors Film student at Glasgow University, co-editor of the State of Music magazine

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