As KEXP moves from their studios on Dexter & Denny and into the new home at Seattle Center, it’s time for me to share my favorite sessions that I photographed in 2015. Goodbye little hot sparkly room – I’m thankful for the three years I got to sweat and listen to incredible music in there. Onto the next chapter! But first, here are my ten favorite sessions in chronological order:
1. St. Paul & The Broken Bones at the Triple Door - February 18th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk8LdXpE
Chasing Paul around the Triple Door stage with my camera gave me an adrenaline rush that I didn't want to shake, and was easily one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever photographed for KEXP. For one o’clock in the afternoon the band gave 110% during their nine song set to the delight of the VIP Donor crowd. Paul’s gold shoes, dance moves, and bellowing pipes made it difficult to narrow down my images to upload online – so I decided included more photos than normal.
Highlight Song: "Like A Mighty River"
2. Cymbals Eat Guitars at the Triple Door - March 25th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk92msCc
"The shape of true love is terrifying enough." Watching Cymbals Eat Guitars live is an interactive experience for your emotions. The lyrics about loss, angst, and a harsh reality grip you and won’t let go until the last note is played. On top of that, they are super nice guys and trusted me to put them in a little blue box for a portrait.
Highlight Song: "Warning"
3. JEFF The Brotherhood - April 1st
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk9987nz
Beer, laughter, and good times. The swirling of guitars and hypnotic drums sold me, as well as the colorful inside out blouse that Jake was wearing. I also did a little video taping with the old Magnavox camcorder they brought into the studio with them – major bonus points.
Highlight Song: "Satori Part II"
4. Two Gallants - April 18th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk6Uvx3i
A wall of amps, heart-on-the-sleeve lyrics, and some gaffed on headphones. Thinking back through the year this session stands out as one of my favorites. While I can’t pin point exactly why, take the time to sit and watch it yourself.
Highlight Song: "Some Trouble"
5. Mikal Cronin - April 25th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHska1mUrz
Mikal Cronin for Mayor.
Highlight Song: "vi) Circle"
6. Other Lives - May 12th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk7QQGmX
The live room was packed to the brim. As soon as they launched into Reconfiguration, the first song, I was sold. Warm, intricate, and haunting, Other Lives takes the cake as “Music I Instantly Fell in Love with During an In Studio” for 2015.
Highlight Song: "Reconfiguration"
7. Shakey Graves at Garage BILLIARDS- May 28th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk9uTbyZ
As a part of series of small shows to raise money for KEXP's new home, Alejandro (aka Shakey Graves) agreed to play at Garage on Capitol Hill. "I didn't actually think that they would have me play *on* a bowling alley," he joked. The best moment of the show came when he asked for a volunteer to join him on "Dearly Departed", and a brave man took on singing the high female portion of the song. Isn't their chemistry just undeniable?
Highlight Songs: "Dearly Departed" duet, and "Kiss The Girl"
8. Israel Nash at Pickathon - August 2nd
Full Photo Set from Pickathon: https://flic.kr/s/aHski1gw7y
In August I joined the KEXP video team at the end of a logging road as they filmed sessions for Pickathon down in Oregon. “LA Lately” from Israel Nash was one of my highlights from the weekend, and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to the song on repeat since then. The mix of this track is crazy good, and being one of ten people in the "audience" is a moment I’ll always treasure. (Listen to that slide guitar wail too!)
Highlight Song: "LA Lately"
9. METZ - August 4th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHskhBEbvz
METZ. METZ! HOLY COW METZ! Being packed into the KEXP Hot Box of studio while the room exploded in sound was a dream. The drummer Hadyen is an absolute beast. I could watch this session over and over again. It was so much fun to shoot and I loved how moody the photos turned out. Luke (my husband) produced, shot, and edited this session - I couldn't be prouder of him for the final outcome. We'll be telling our grandkids about it one day.
Highlight Song: All of them. Just watch all of them.
10. EL VY - November 5th
Full Photo Set: https://flic.kr/s/aHskkgLyNU
El Vy’s session was the perfect tribute to end the era of KEXP’s sparkly little in studio room. As the story goes, the previous night before their show at Neumos Brent had a brilliant brainstorm. He bought black shirts, white acrylic paint, and proceeded to make KEXP Cameo with his finger prints for the band to wear during their set. As soon as everyone at the station saw what happened when their shirts lined up with the walls they couldn’t believe it - no one had done anything of the sort before. Throw in a charming interview between DJ El Toro and Matt, and this session hit all of the right notes. It was the perfect way to end the station’s time at Dexter and Denny.
Highlight Song: "Need A Friend"