Being a part of the independent music scene in Glasgow – regardless of the role you play – not only means that you get to witness both the highs and lows that being involved in that scene entails, but you also get to meet some incredible people.
Passion is such a joyous energy that when you come across a person whose passion and commitment to their given subject shines, it makes you feel exactly the same way. Miff Morris, from Gobo Photography Glasgow, is one of those people who upon seeing her work, you instantly understand the dedication and love she has for it.
Her images always capture the heart of her subject matter and the joy that she gains from capturing bands and artists in all their guises is obvious from the precision and detail that she puts into every single shot.
Here, she talks about her five most prized live shots and why she loves them. But before that, Suffrockgettes asked for her general feeling on the Glasgow music scene as a whole. Here is what she had to say:
“I have experienced an incredible amount of outstanding live shows over the last two years here on the Glasgow Circuit. From local unsigned bands to outfits who are signed to independent labels, I have never found a city as full of musical talent as what Glasgow has to offer.”
So onto the shots. Here, in Miff’s own words, are the images she loves most and why…
“My first Image is of one of the most impactive trash metal bands that I had EVER experienced! Going by the name of “Baby Godzilla.” From the outset this band were special. There was an air of mystery about them, as we had no clue what to expect. So when they appeared with rampant fury, dismantling everything that stood in their path, my exhilaration levels peeked beyond belief. My heart began to race as I dodged and weaved my way from danger, trying to capture this raw, insanely humane energy they were creating. An energy which I shall never forget.
You can imagine the amount of expressive photos I came away with from this shoot but I choose this specific photo mostly as it compacts the whole performances attitude, and encapsulates the force in which lead vocalist Matt Reynolds and the rest of the band are expressing their emotions. It demonstrates an incredible amount of release through musical expression and I think the photo has an underground feel to it, which makes it very special.
I am proud to say that “Baby Godzilla” went on to get rave reviews in Kerrang! magazine, featuring on their front cover, and have gained an overwhelming response to their musical outpourings.”
“My next choice is from a batch of photos I took of post-industrial punk duo “The New Fabian Society”. I have photographed this band on numerous occasions for promotional purposes and also in the studio while they were rehearsing, but my favourite time to capture the essence of what the T.N.F.S are about is when they are performing live. I find it inspiring just how powerful a set of drums, a guitar and some FX pedals can be.
I chose this specific image as my favourite, because at this specific time I felt that it had been long overdue from the last time I heard the New Fabian Society play live and I had been eager to catch more photographs of Michael driving home his purposeful, determined and unwavering sound. Michael’s performing style is hypnotic, captivating and high intensity. It’s like peering through a broken edged window that he eventually manages to blast out. This photo demonstrates this aspect beautifully as he seeks empowerment from his passion and drive that can only be found embedded deep within his songs.
I suppose it could be described as a sort of contrasting, controlled, chaos and a feeling that is left behind after their performance is usually one of being abandoned and seeking more. I haven’t come across a band that creates such a high emotive energy as “The New Fabian’s” do and I find the essence of what they leave behind on stage addictive and desirous.”
“The next image brings back fond memories for me, as destiny guided me into the path of “The Penny Black Remedy” – an alternative fusion band of Country/Punk & Folk. I am a firm believer in destiny and it was destined that I should meet good friends of the Penny Black collective before I should meet them in the physical.
Kirk Brandon brought into my path Koozie Johns, from London based duo “Folk Grinder”, where Koozie passed on kind loving messages through me to deliver onto the “Penny Black Remedy”. Their insatiable desire for performance, musical craftsmanship and ingenious talent certainly are a spellbinding collective to behold. Crafting their own unmistakeable sound, they unreservedly and consistently demonstrate a passion for a wide variation of music that has touched and inspired them to create what is being projected across today in their musical style. With a strong amalgamation of culture in the band, each individual stands alone as interesting, captivating characters. In this image is singer-song writer, Keith M Thomson from Scotland, who has an incredible all-round talent maintaining an air of sophistication in his demeanour and style.
I think this specific image encapsulates the essence of Keith’s personality and style perfectly. His flamboyant stance is radiant and charismatic. I absolutely love the way the light shines upon him, as the lighting for the duration of the show had been quite erratic and in this precise moment the light shone on him directly and in sufficient enough time for me to capture the image. It really insinuated his confidence and charm, plus the image highlights his humorous side.”
“This Image is one that I am immensely proud of. I feel that if ever I wanted to capture the energy of a band, it would be through an image such as this one. “The Manic Shine” are number one contenders, amongst the bands I have photographed who can provide such exuberance within a performance.
I have been following this London based band for about two years now and they have gone from strength to strength in every sense of the word. They are one of the hardest working bands I have come across, promoting their music constantly through touring and continuous shows. Signed to an independent label called “Animal Farm Records”, their focus and driving force is their musical development. Every time “The Shine” come back to Glasgow it’s always an absolute pleasure to meet up with them and photograph their exciting shows.
For me this single image is one of the most highly expressive, as it pin points just how energetic and dexterous they are. Lead vocalist Ozzie Rodgers gives it 110 percent each time, never tiring and always ready to uplift and excite a crowd. I love how I captured this high flying unstoppable energy that he was exuding, as he scissor kicked and bounced his way through his set. The band as a whole created an insanely catchy fusion of groove, funk & rock that invigorates crowds and sends out a powerful musical interaction.
I was impressed my camera triggered at this specific point as well, as the lights had been hard to work with all night due to being so erratic and inconsistent. When I captured Ozzie’s scissor kick, I felt over the moon, making it a very special shot for me. It defines such an epic moment within the show. If ever there was a photo to sum up this band’s lust for life and musical release it would be demonstrated through this image.”
“My final image is one which I took in the basement of the 13th note about two years ago. I had been asked by a metal band called “Dementia” to attend and document this specific gig, leaving me open to photograph all the support bands and other elements that grabbed my eye. I felt content to be part of something niche, as the metal community are a tribe onto themselves. I love that they are a close-knit community and I felt part of an underground scene.
I came away with so many interesting, highly expressive shots from this session, but I choose this specific photo as it demonstrates the sense of devotion, passion and community in the more underground based scene. The band that was playing at the time when I took this photo are a trash metal band called “Amok” – who later went on to use some of my photographs from that specific gig in their album inlay. The album was called “Somewhere In The West” and was released on a German independent label called “Witches Brew.”
I feel that the 13th Note Basement is a great place to shoot live gigs, as it leaves you feeling like something special has taken place. The lighting was virtually non existent as I was photographing the gig, so I had to use my flash gun, leaving a wonderful highlighted effect on the fans hair as he head-banged to “Amok’s” furiously demanding sound. I feel that this shot carries an atmosphere with contrasting light and shadows, adding to the feel of the photo.
This image could almost be an early American trash band, from the early 90s shot in down town NY. I am drawn into that kind of feel from it, as it has quite a lot of grain. I love the way the lead vocalist is out and about in among the crowd, demonstrating just how intimate, niche and special the performance was to all who had experienced it.”
“Being an observer a lot of the time, looking through the eye of my lens, I tend to grasp shows differently through my own unique highlighted perspective. Taking my eye away from the lens and focusing on an overall hypothesis of the Glasgow scene, I would say that it most certainly has its negatives as well as its positives. Like everything in life I suppose, it has its contrasts. I find it comforting to know that there are people out there who shall protect the younger musicians from being ripped off. There is something out there for everyone. I urge all music lovers to come out and support your local music scene. Something special always buds from where your home and heart lies.” – Miff Morris
See more of Miff and the Gobo team’s incredible work via their Facebook page.