ARTIST & LADY BLADE FROM PHILLY: AN INTERVIEW WITH CAITLIN MCCANN

Interview by Kayla Fernandez

Caitlin McCann is a badass visual artist based out of Philadelphia. Her film photographs are very in the moment and show that she has a close relationship with her subjects. Caitlin’s overall style has a warm, comforting feel to it; I could look at her photos for hours. I first came across Caitlin’s photography on Instagram around two years ago and have been drawn to it ever since. A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to chat with her in Los Angeles while she was on tour, documenting her buds, Vundabar. See below to read our chat about tour experiences and dream festival lineups.

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KF: Who are you and what do you do?

CM: My name is Caitlin and I am a visual artist.

KF: What sparked your interest in photography?

CM: I got into photography around the end of middle school, entering high school. When I first started using a camera I felt like there were things I could capture that I couldn’t with my drawings. Growing up, I would always draw or paint, but I felt limited with my abilities and so the camera gave me some sort of purpose. It’s funny to me how some things just stayed consistent in my life. I recently took a year off from shooting to work on drawings and paintings but now I feel like I have a good balance of it all.

KF: Has traveling helped develop your style?

CM: Traveling in the sense of being on the move has helped developed my style because I try to photograph movement.

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KF: I feel like when you capture shots of people on the road they become more vulnerable and they are in a different element from what they are used to.

CM: Yeah, totally! Especially with touring, you are traveling as a unit and a lot of the time you are in a confined space with people. There are a lot of extremes. My friend Brandon and I have talked about how it’s a good way to find out who you love and who you hate. Photographing people on tour, and just traveling in general, pushes people to the extremes and it’s cool to see that come out in photos.

KF: You’ve been photographing your buds, Vundabar for quite some time now. How did you guys meet? And how much has your relationship blossomed?

CM: I was on tour with The Districts in 2015 and Vundabar was opening for them in Boston. We all hit it off backstage. I watched their whole set and it just blew me away. Sometime after that the guys played a show in New York and stayed at my house. We took pictures the next day. After THAT, I asked if I could go on tour with them and here we are three years later doing the same shit.

 

 

KF: That’s a great way of meeting lifelong friends. It’s very random and you never know what to expect out of it.

CM: Yeah, this crew of people has been very special. We basically met when were babies. Brandon and Drew were still under 21 at the time. Zack had to leave for a bit but now he’s back and the hole in our hearts is filled. We’ve grown up in a lot of ways over the last few years but the overall bond is still the same, maybe even stronger, at least for me it is, since time has gone by and I’ve realised there’s no one like them.

 

KF: What is your typical workflow like on the road?

CM: It’s a lot of reading people and going with the flow. It’s very spontaneous. You are constantly around people who want to be alone or not be alone. I just try to feel out the vibe, and see if someone doesn’t want to be photographed during that time. If no one is paying attention or if the lighting is perfect, then I’ll take a picture. There are some days where I don’t take any pictures and some days where I shoot a couple rolls of film.

KF: How many rolls of film do you usually bring on tour?

CM: This tour I only brought fourteen rolls with me but then I had to buy more.

KF: Do develop your own film as well too?

CM: I take it in to get it developed, but then I scan it myself. It’s cheaper and I have more control over the resolution .

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KF: Describe a day in the life whether it be on tour or at home.

CM: When it comes to a day in the life on tour, it’s hard but you try to make routines despite constantly being on the move . It’s important to find ways to make yourself comfortable on the road and basically be a chameleon. We usually make coffee runs a priority. Some days you’re in the van all day, some days you have the freedom to explore a city or go on a hike. It’s never the same. At home, I like to get into the routine of wake up, coffee, breakfast, studio. Sometimes I spend the whole day at the studio, other times I can only put in a few hours before I have to go to work (axe throwing!). I’m always trying to find a balance between it all.

KF: Tell us a story behind one of your favorite photos.

CM: It’s this picture of Brandon with his head sticking out of a car window. That was on the first tour that we did together, and we had spent like a week in Texas. It was starting to get WEIRD. . We were leaving Texas to go to New Mexico and had been driving through the night. The photo was taken at like six in the morning after we had just pulled over on the side of the road. We ran under a fence and ended up being chased by cows. We were able to watch the sunrise from the van.

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KF: In your interview with Brandon from Vundabar, you mentioned that you don’t photograph live shows anymore. What made you stop?

CM: It just got too repetitive because it felt like I was taking the same photo over and over. When I started touring more, I realized there are things that I value more than just the performance. . The shows make up like 10 percent of the tour and the other 90 percent is whatever you do before and after show time.

KF: I totally get that because when I was shooting a festival not that long ago, I was in the photo pit for three songs. I take so many photos that I know I’m not going to edit.

CM: Exactly! It becomes overwhelming.

KF: I feel like candid pictures on the road are more personal.

CM: It also shows the level of trust. Anyone can get a photo pass to shoot shows these days. Not everyone can be in the van with the band, whether that be because they are confined by other things or maybe the band doesn’t want them on tour ahahaha.

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KF: As a female photographer, have you experienced any misogynistic encounters? How did you handle it?

CM: Oh my god every day! There have been so many encounters where people ask me which band member I’m dating. I can’t even keep track of how many times that has happened. It’s never the band, or at least my friends that have treated me like that, it’s always rude security guards or drunk people trying to buy merch after the show.

KF: What was your first tour experience like with Vundabar compared to now?

CM: I don’t know how to put it into words, but the first tour changed my life in ways that I am still processing. I had just finished college and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I never met anyone like Vundabar. Zack, Brandon, and Drew have a very special bond that I can’t put into words; it’s just a thing you have to witness. The fact that they brought me into their world is something that I hold close to my heart. We are all very fluid people, we have a good balance. They are themselves all the time, they don’t fake it, they are always one hundred percent themselves. The taught me how to be more comfortable with myself.

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KF: How do you find moments to yourself or self-care on the road?

CM: Van time can turn into alone time when you are stuck in the car for hours. I’ll write or draw. I guess for me it’s a little bit different from the guys because when they are sound checking I get that alone time. Trying to eat healthy on the road is important too.

KF: Proudest moment of your career?

CM: I had a show a few years ago for a black and white portrait series I shot called Extended Family. Vundabar and my friends Pine Barons played. There were a lot of , friends from different places all under one roof. After the show, we went to The D’s old house down the street and just continued the night by dancing in the kitchen. It was such a special moment for me because the show brought us all together. Usually I’d only see half of those people at a time because we all live in different cities and tour schedules and what not, but we were all there. It was great. Lots of love.

KF: Totally not photography or art related, but what is your dream festival line up?

CM: Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, My Bloody Valentine, LCD Soundsystem. As for smaller acts maybe Shame because I really want to see them. Also maybe D’Angelo, but he’s not a small act he would be a headliner.

KF: An album or artist that changed your life?

CM: Exile on Main Street by The Rolling Stones. I never heard anything like it at the time. I was also drawn to it because there was this photographer that documented the whole process of that era. That album got me interested in other music; it helped developed my taste into what it is now.

KF: Any advice to young kids who want to pick up a camera?

CM: This is going to sound very cliché but just shoot what you like, figure out what you don’t like and fine tune it. When I first started photographing my friends it just clicked with me that I wanted to photograph people all the time. Don’t try and develop a style, let it happen organically.

 

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Follow Caitlin:

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Disposable Adventures: The Voidz at the Velvet Underground

Photos by Kristen Manza

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Phoenix: Ti Amo Tour – Show Review 

By Sara Valenzuela

The Anthem opened it’s doors this year; bringing in the most legendary bands such as The Foo Fighters, LCD Soundsystem, and Phoenix as their first couple of acts in October. I had the amazing opportunity to witness French indie rockers: Phoenix take the stage. It was a show I’ve been recommending everyone I possibly can to watch since the date a couple weeks ago. The Versaille-based band always leaves me buzzing for days after their performances; they’re simply unforgettable. 


As soon as Phoenix emerged onto the stage, the crowd was roaring. DC had missed the four-piece band composed by lead Thomas Mars, bassist Deck D’arcy, and guitarist Christian Mazzalai and Laurent Brancowitz, since their last bout in the city a few months ago. Introducing the night with the first beats to J-Boy, it was impossible for the audience and the band not to burst into an Italian-disco frenzy! From the light show to Mars jumping into the crowd, it was a celebration from beginning to end. They performed tracks from ‘romantic, glossy, soft-pop ode to sweet escapes and dance floors’ new album Ti Amo as well as illustrious past hits. 


DC thundered through every song, and the atmospheric crowd did not disappoint. I looked back from GA during their prominent track 1901, to admire the moment. I remember seeing the crowd, in the multiple-level venue, spring up and down rich with joy. Never missing a beat or an opportunity to show their appreciation, Phoenix was the hero of DC that night.
Keep up with Phoenix! 

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Inner Wave Interview + Photos

Interview and words by Corynne Fernandez

On the day they released their third album, Underwater Pipe Dreams, we sat down and chatted with the guys of Inner Wave, who have been quickly making a name for themselves and gaining a dedicated group of fans all over. Read below as we talk about their sold-out album release show, the process of making their long-awaited album, and favorite records at the moment.

Pictured above left to right: Luis Portillo (drummer), Elijah Trujillo (lead guitarist), Chris Runners (keyboardist), Jean-Pierre Narvaez (bassist), Pablo Sotelo (vocals and rhythm guitar)

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You guys have been together since you were teenagers, how was the band formed and what’s the meaning behind the name ‘Inner Wave?’ 

Elijah: In 6th grade, Pablo and I both played guitar and we met Jean-Pierre and Alex (old drummer). Jean got a bass and Alex got a drum set which resulted to jamming.
Pablo: As for the name, I made a list of like two hundred names and I showed all my friends the list of potential band names. Inner Wave was the one everyone liked the most.

This album was three years in the making, how did you guys come to the decision it was complete?

Pablo: We ran out of money. Haha no— we finished it once before about a year ago, it was completely done and mastered in the studio ready to go, but something was off. We had this really strong idea on how the process should be, we wanted it to become very collaborative — it was, but we also wanted that in the recording process, so we worked with somebody new, but we became too focused on the process instead of the music. By the end of it we did what we wanted to do but it wasn’t the vibe we were hoping for so we redid it again in the garage.

Why the name Underwater Pipe Dreams?

Pablo:It was initially a joke, for the playlist of songs that we had. Then I felt like it made sense with the themes that were happening with the album. The expression of ‘pipe dreams’ is something that will probably be a long shot and not work out. That’s how the process for the album started to feel like after a long time. On a personal level, we all went through a lot of different things within the three years, so it’s like we slowly morphed into the name that started off as a joke. With ‘underwater’ it was kinda like an ode to Lil Ugly Mane, (rapper from Virginia) his work is really low-fi but also interesting. His whole persona and how he does things musically is very intriguing.

Your new record is reminiscent of the alt rock sound that defined the early 2000’s, like that of The Strokes, making it a shift from your other material. Lyrically and musically what inspired you this time around?

Pablo: Initially we listened to a lot of Marvin Gaye—I don’t think a lot of people would think that because inspirations don’t always translate through our songs. The lyrics come from personal experiences, this summer I tried a bit – not that I didn’t try harder before I wanted to improve that aspect of it more. It was the first time where I wrote the lyrics before the music; they would end up as poems.

What song are you most proud of off the album, and what are you all most excited to play live?
Chris: There is this song called ‘Conversations’ that Jean mostly wrote. It has a Bohemian Rhapsody vibe to it; it’s a really long song with many moving parts. It’s one of those songs where you have to listen to and understand all the elements in the song.
Luis:I would go with ‘Discipline’;that’s a track with a heavier Tom Groove in it and that part specifically, is one of the most challenging for me to play.
Elijah:I also agree with ‘Discipline’—that one for me is a banger. It gets so intense and it makes me extremely excited to play live.
Pablo: For me, it would either be ‘Discipline’ or ‘Conversations’ because I think those are the two songs that have a lot of moving parts and have the potential to be amazing live.

A lot has been leading up to today, have you guys done anything special to prep for it tonight?
Everyone: We like to do some ritual sacrifices.
Pablo: We tried to do something special with the stage production for the show, so hopefully it all works out the way we planned. *

*Update: It did! 

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Can you give us a day in the life of Inner Wave?
Chris: We meet up every day at 8:30pm and practice, no matter what we do in that day we always meet up at that time.
What venue would you love to play in the near future?
Chris: The El Rey, because I’ve been going to that venue ever since I was a kid.
Everyone: Red Rocks would be tight, the atmosphere is absolutely crazy.

What are your guy’s all-time favorite albums?
Elijah: Marvin Gaye’s “In Our Lifetime”
Luis: “InnerSpeaker” by Tame Impala
Pablo: That one record from Madvillain.
Chris: “Blonde” by Frank Ocean and “Mista Thug Isolation” by Lil Ugly Mane

Out of all the places you’ve toured, what would be your most memorable gig to date and why?
Everyone: The Rickshaw.
Chris: The crowd was packed; the venue had air conditioning and let us smoke in the greenroom. Also, when we were waiting to play, there was a line going around the block.

First concert?
Pablo:The first concert I was brought to was this contemporary Christian Latin American guy named Marcos Witt, but the first concert I bought tickets for was Queens of the Stone Age. It was actually a benefit concert, and so they had other acts like the Last Shadow Puppets and some other surprise guest.
Luis:I grew up around punk music, so my brother would play shows at The Knitting Factory in LA and I would always hang around him.
Chris: The first concert I got brought to was Maroon 5; it was when Songs About Jane came out and the first time I ever smelled weed before. The first one I bought tickets to was Erykah Badu.
Elijah: The first one, my dad took me to see a Led Zeppelin cover band. The first one that I paid for was FYF Fest a few years ago, the year that The Strokes played.

Now that the album’s out, what are you guys looking forward to come this year and into next year?
Pablo: Long naps and a lot of sleep—maybe take my dog for a walk.
Everyone: SXSW!

A message to all your fans?

Pablo: Keep on rockin
Chris: Y’all thanks!
Elijah: Huge thank you to everyone!
Pablo: Felt a lot of love this year—it’s intense, so thank you!

Gallery of the Inner Wave Album Release Show below:

(All photographs by Kayla Fernandez)

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