Luis' Brainmelt series appears in Hangup Zine 5 (pick one up here), plus his artwork adorns the cover, so we decided to get in contact to find out more!
Right Luis, could you introduce yourself for us please?
Hey Hangup! 24 years young, born in London now residing out of Hertfordshire, although I’ll be moving back to the big smoke soon. Generally I’m a freelance photographer but also work in illustration, selling art and running Wisteria & Saxon. I’ll be skating until I physically can’t.
How did you initially get into shooting bands? You've got a real good style going on with them, and seem to have great rapport with both the bands and crowds - how do you facilitate this?
That’s kind of you to say, as a music photographer working in a heavily saturated industry with a lot of competition, I think it’s important to distinguish an aesthetic without compromising the ability to experiment and play around. I’ve always had a passion for stills and being out taking photos, started off doing street/travel photography stuff for myself then started getting the odd job in the fashion sector. After a couple shoots I decided to take it a bit more seriously, invest in kit & combine two of my favourite things, music + photography.
Related to this, you're currently on Volume 2 of Saxon Zine, is this a vehicle to promote your own work, others or a bit of both?
Saxon was initially started as a showcasing platform for artists, creatives & musicians. Whereas most zines are submission based, I invite people who I think are at the top of their game to be in the zine. I also really wanted to get into events and putting on gigs so thought having the mag and events side by side would expose each other nicely. It’s been a blast so far and a great way for me to keep creative (as I collate/edit it all myself) and I look forward to seeing it grow.
What kind of considerations did you make in the printing of the zine?
I knew I wanted it to be at least 48 pages with the hope of growing that in the future, gloss inside pages and matte covers. I was playing around with the idea of staple or perfect bound boxed off spine. Whilst the staple is the classic zine look, I knew I wanted Saxon to have a professional clean feel.
You submitted your Brainmelt series for Hangup Zine 5 as well as creating the cover - could you take us through the creative process behind both?
Brainmelt started when one day at home I was feeling uninspired. I had a couple of jobs on the go but all in different areas, one was editing a show I’d shot, another was a logo job for a brand and the third was a commissioned painting. I just decided to put it all down for a second, jump on my laptop and see what happens, try and get some inspirational juices flowing. I ended up opening up Photoshop and started to cut out images from my 35mm photography work and just started collaging and arranging it. Then began adding in illustration stuff and typeface based shit, in the end I just really enjoyed the arranging of all the little bits, felt like all these ideas were just melting out of my brain and I don’t know, it was just really fun.
Can you describe shooting at Copenhagen Open? Last time I went was 2012, it was hectic then, so can only imagine how hard it is now!
Oh man, words can’t even describe that place as I’m sure you know. My second time to CPH but first to the Open. What a difference from the first time I went. The whole city is just taken over, everywhere you look, skaters, speed shades & 6packs. Along with the happy-go-lucky Danish spirit it’s a lovely place to be, everyone’s just stoked the entire time it’s rad. Sharing ideas and culture as it draws folks from all over. You can just find yourself sharing a tinnie with your favourite pro skater then find you're lost and spend the entire day with a group of people from somewhere random, everyone’s just so on the same level, it’s a great thing to behold. Roll on 2018!
You're real busy, running a clothing company, Saxon zine, creating art, shooting bands as well as skateboarding. How do you find time to manage it all?
Yeah I just like to try and keep busy and creative in any way I can. I started Wisteria when I was 18 after hating my first proper job at Wilko’s. After a few months I quit that and concentrated on my own projects. The thing is, we all do have the time, if you think about all the evening’s you just don’t really do anything, you can easily be using that time more efficiently. Unfortunately I’ve been out with a bad ankle injury since September but I’ll normally fit in skating in and around all my work stuff. I find I’ll always come up with ideas whilst skating though, it’s when your brain’s most at rest and relaxed, well for me anyway. Like just before you fall asleep.
Related to that last question, I'm sure you've got a load of projects in the pipeline, can you give us some details?
Aside from really pushing to grow Saxon Zine and the events side of things + starting to do merch, I’ve just started managing DITZ, a punk band from Brighton and I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into that. Also trying for like the third time to start a band. A few other bits going on but I’m most excited about a music photography exhibition me and a buddy Jake Lewis have coming up at For.Fuk.Sake bar in Dalston from 20th-23rd Feb, presented by The Picture Store. There will also be bands and DJ’s across the days. Should be a blast.
For more from Luis, check the links below;