All Axis Music Live Video Series Interview and Ticket Giveaway For The Men and Obits at The Wick (5/10)
I’ve recently had the pleasure of discovering All Axis Music, a video series of live performances shot at venues all over the city. I spoke with the man behind the project, Chris Piazza. Besides a cool interview, we have coordinated a ticket giveaway for the next show he’ll be shooting! That’s right, you have a chance to win free tickets to see The Men, Obits, and Nude Beach at The Wick (260 Meserole St.) this Saturday.
To be eligible for the ticket giveaway, go on Twitter and retweet our message about this post, from either @greenpointers or @AllAxisMusic. It’ll say this “RT to win tix from @AllAxisMusic and @greenpointers to see The Men/Obits/Nude Beach @thewick 5/10“Got it? Great. Good luck to you! It’ll be a rocking show for sure.
Or, click below:
— AllAxisMusic (@AllAxisMusic) May 6, 2014
Now, while there may only be one winner for the ticket giveaway, many of you will have a chance to enjoy at least a portion of the show. All Axis Music will be there to create one of their signature live videos. I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen on their YouTube channel. It’s a wide array of bands, ranging from local acts like The Heliotropes and Yellow Ostrich to Baltimore’s Dope Body, Olympia’s LAKE, and even England’s Lanterns on the Lake. All Axis has captured performances on many of the city’s great stages including Greenpoint’s Saint Vitus, Williamsburg hot spots like Glasslands, Cameo Gallery, the Knitting Factory, and Baby’s All Right, and the Mercury Lounge and Piano’s over in Manhattan. They’ve shot in a studio too (see Duologue).
What I dig is how the music doesn’t adhere to one genre, though the constant seems to be lots of volume and energy. Flip through and you’ll hear metal, psychedelia, indie rock, and more. Besides having a strong sense of bands that will give excellent performances, All Axis’ main constant is a distinctive visual style. It’s fluid and kinetic, but not in a rough, handheld way (not that there’s anything wrong with that). The shots heighten the experience of being at the show and convey the power of the music while also establishing a sensibility that can be instantly recognizable. You won’t regret spending an hour or two checking out the videos and subscribing so you can catch all that is forthcoming. A few of my favorites that I haven’t already mentioned include Static Jacks, Beast Patrol, and Deap Vally.
I spoke with Chris Piazza about All Axis. He had a lot of fascinating things to say. Remember to retweet out ticket giveaway message, follow All Axis Music on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, and check out their latest video of Moon Taxi at Brooklyn Bowl at the article’s end.
GP: What was the inspiration behind launching this project?
Chris Piazza: I have been shooting live concerts and artist content for quite a long time as a hired gun for some pretty big players like Bowery Presents, Pandora, Live Nation, etc. I love doing that stuff, but I felt like I wanted to do a live music show that more reflected my musical taste, which is pretty diverse, and particular visual sensibility. I am hoping to build a little niche where people can visit our channel and watch a whole bunch of unique looking videos from a wide variety of bands. I’d love for people to just hang out on my channel and discover new bands from different genres. Plus, I’m a live music junky, and visually expressing the concert experience is really exciting to me, especially with bands I really like.
GP: Who is on the team that makes these videos? How much, if at all, do you work with the bands and venues?
CP: One of the unique things about All Axis is how small we are – I half jokingly refer to us as DIY multicamera concert shooting. I set up and run two of the cameras myself. My sound engineer records audio and runs one of the cameras. So my team for shooting a show is just two.
Working with the bands is mostly a day-of affair. Often these shoots are set up with the label or PR company and I never correspond with the band until the day of the shoot. Sometimes we get to have detailed conversations about our visual goals for the show and camera position. Other times we barely meet, depending on how crazy their day is. At this point, I’ve shot at almost every venue in the city, so I do have a relationship with many of them already. Much of the time I just give them a heads up that I’m coming and it’s pretty mellow.
GP: How do you choose what bands and songs to shoot?
CP: Choosing the bands is one of the most fun parts of the project. There are a few ways that I come up with my line-up. One is to simply contact bands that I’m excited to see that are coming to New York – I’ve gotten a lot of great shows this way, shows I would have probably been at anyway as a fan, like Wooden Shjips or Pissed Jeans. I get other bands by trolling upcoming shows at venues like Saint Vitus or The Knitting Factory to see if there’s any interesting bands coming through. I will always watch youtube clips of a band that I have never seen live before because a compelling live show is my number one priority. I’ve become a fan of bands I didn’t know much about before filming, which is also really rewarding. I’ve also started numerous relationships with labels and PR companies, so sometimes I am approached by them to come film a show.
GP: It’s cool how the series has a distinctive visual style, even if shooting at different venues and shooting different types of music. I like that it often enhances the dynamic nature of the music. Can you talk more about your style and what you are going for, your inspiration in developing it? Who does the sound? It’s really good too.
CP: I’m hoping the show’s visual style is its unifying trait – we may be shooting a metal band like Inter Arma one night or an indie-rock band like Yellow Ostrich the next night, but we always try to bring a consistent visual style to each video, while also trying to tailor that style to each band in particular. Currently, we film each show with three cameras – a Black Magic Cinema camera in 2.5K resolution, a Canon 7D and a Go Pro. All the shots are locked off wide shots. We add all the pans, zooms and effects in editing. So really the show’s visual personality comes out in editing – I approach the edit of the show like a multicamera director with absolute control – fast zoom here, tilt up from the guitar here on the solo, cut to a shot of the drum fill with a quick pan to the bass, etc.
Every episode’s sound is mixed in ProTools by my engineer Keith Rigling, who I have been friends with since college. He’s a ProTools genius. Often these are just board recordings with a little zoom recorder capturing room sound – he’s able to mix that down into album quality work, and it’s amazing. And when we actually do get a ProTools mixdown on site, like at Brooklyn Bowl with Moon Taxi, he can really outdo himself. Some bands have told me that our videos sound better than their records.
GP: What goes into making a new All Axis video? What have been some challenges? Any pleasant surprises or discoveries? Any favorite venue to shoot? Any venue you haven’t shot in yet but want to?
CP: The creation of a new All Axis video starts with securing a band to film with, which is harder than you might imagine – it blows my mind how relatively few bands take us up on our offer to make an awesome video for them! The biggest challenge I’d say is interfacing with bands before and after the shoot. Oftentimes these are hardworking touring bands with small budgets, no free time, and a brutal schedule. Getting them to lock down key details or approve an edit can be daunting: “Hey, I know you’re in Hamburg tonight and heading to Berlin tomorrow… you think you can find time to get to an internet cafe and approve our edit?” I’ve shot a lot of music in my time but being on the producing side of things for these shoots has been eye opening. But most bands are incredibly cool and gracious, which is really awesome.
There’s a lot of great venues to shoot in in Brooklyn. It’s hard to pick a favorite. Saint Vitus books such a consistently excellent line-up and they’re super chill about having cameras in. Plus I can walk there from my apartment, and they have really good Korean pork buns. I also love the look of Baby’s All Right. Shooting in Brooklyn Bowl is also awesome because their lighting rig and visuals are amazing, plus we can bowl between sound check and the show.
I actually am really excited to be shooting The Men and Nude Beach at The Wick on the 10th. I saw Thee Oh Sees there a couple of years ago and fell in love with the venue. Now that Rough Trade is up and running, we’re pushing hard to film something there really soon too.
GP: What can we expect from All Axis in the future?
CP: Next thing up is The Men and Nude Beach at The Wick, which we’ll also be running a ticket giveaway to. I hesitate to give details about shoots because often things either fall through last minute, or pop up last minute. That being said, right now we have another shoot at St. Vitus we pumped for, plus our first ever shoot at le poisson rouge, which is super exciting. I love the look and sound of that venue and we’ve been trying to shoot something there for a while. Definitely also looking to be really active around the Northside Festival in June.
GP: What are some of your favorite music videos and live shows?
CP: I was an MTV junkie at the height of the music video golden age, so I’m partial to a lot of those classic directors like Spike Jonze, David Fincher and Michel Gondry. There still are occasional great music videos out there, but I feel like that kind of focused peak of talent cannot be matched any time soon because of the non-existent revenue stream in the music promotion world right now. My favorite video of all time is probably “Let Forever Be” by the Chemical Brothers. Favorite concert film is hands down Stop Making Sense by the Talking Heads. I also really loved the White Stripes documentary Under Great Northern Lights. And the black and white Sigur Ros concert film Inni blew my tiny little brain.
GP: What do you love about Greenpoint as a neighborhood and the North Brooklyn music & film community?
CP: Greenpoint is awesome. There’s so many creative people living here working on TV, film, music, the assorted coffee arts. I love seeing the TV on the Radio dudes at C-Town or Craig Finn at the YMCA. It’s a cool creative community and I feel really lucky to live here amongst all that energy
As a music geek, I love being within walking distance of so many amazing music venues. I can literally walk to Saint Vitus if I am in a metal mood, Brooklyn Bowl if I want some funk, Music Hall of Williamsburg for the latest Pitchfork-approved indie rockers. Now all we need is a movie theater in Greenpoint and we’d be perfect.
Remember, check out twitter for the contest. And enjoy the latest video from All Axis Music, a performance of “Suspicious” by Moon Taxi at the Brooklyn Bowl.