hawk and steel

Bellemare Records Launch Party

Several months ago I was sitting in a pub with some new and old friends discussing the prospect of starting a record label. It was an exciting idea, but shortly after that meeting I had decided that I would focus all my attention on launching and putting together the first YYJ Rocktographers show. 

On August 8th, 2014 those four fine folks I shared beers and conversation with so many months ago had their official launch party as Bellemare Records.

There was a certain magic in the air of Rifflandia HQ as people filed in. Each with some kind of special bond with the members of the record label. Strangers swapped stories over beers in anticipation of the musical performances that evening. 

Vancouver's Luca Fogale won over the crowd straight away with his stunning voice. The room buzzed in anticipation of Luca's solo set, and was far from disappointing. Soon the stage was filled with Bellemare's own Hawk & Steel. A band that has certainly made it's way here in Victoria, and is finally getting some well deserved attention in the local media. 

Closing out the night was Dougal Bain. Another Victoria band that I've heard a lot about, but have never actually seen. They were spectacular and genuinely excited to be part of such a unique event. 

Friday night was not only a celebration of the creation of a local record label, but the hard work and determination of four people trying to build something amazing. At the root of it Bellemare Records represents dedication, the true love of music and those who create it. With people like this at the heart of the Victoria music scene I know this town is heading in the right direction. 

Good luck to my friends Peter, Esme, Brittany, and Sam. I look forward to seeing and hearing more amazing music from you in the future. 

Buy the Snoqualmie / Hawk & Steel split 7" by visiting Bellemarecords.com.

More photos of the Bellemare Records launch party are on flickr. 

VIC Fest 2014


It's been roughly a week since VIC Fest, and every night I've come home from work to start writing about the event. Unfortunately I haven't been happy with anything I've written so I delete it and start again. 

My friend David sums up the festival feeling over on Concert Addicts. I'd say it's worth your time to have a read of that article.

Ever since the very first VIC Fest I've know that Dylan Willows has something special going on. VIC Fest is unlike any other festival in the Victoria area. It merges arts, food, beer, wine, and music seamlessly making it a cohesive cultural festival that just happens to have amazing local bands playing at it. 

It's no surprise that since then I've wanted to be more and more involved with the festival. Not just as being a media person there, but as someone involved in the inner workings and it's success. This year was the year where I got what I'd been pursuing for the last couple years, and I honestly could't be happier with the outcome. 

This year I ran VIC Fest's first official photography team. Not just a bunch of us posting our photographs willy-nilly all over the the internet, but in a one specific spot for the festival. Each member of the team having photography assignments and specific duties of what to capture. With very little curating I feel like our photos told the story of the festival in an accurate and honest viewpoint. At the end of the day we (YYJ Rocktographers) are all music fans and want to see things like VIC Fest be successful. We want to celebrate the folks who make our community a better place. 

In all honesty, VIC Fest is one of the best things to happen in this city every year. It kicks off the music festival season with the passion you want to see throughout the rest of the summer. 

I'm already excited to see what they are dreaming up for next year's VIC Fest. 

All the YYJ Rocktographer's photos on SmugMug.
All of my VIC Fest photos all flickr. 

Peter and Aidan @ Pig BBQ Joint

Recently I've been working on a project with Adrian Chalifour of Towers & Trees for Music BC's Songwriter Workshop during VIC Fest this June 14th, 2014. We head out with an established musician taking part in the Songwriter's Workshop with another performer from VIC Fest to a food vendor from the festival for food and conversation. 

Adrian has been working diligently to transcribe the interviews and I shot all the photos for the project. So far we've had Pizza Prima Strada with Kathryn Calder and Robbie Aylesworth and Pig with Peter Gardner (Hawk & Steel) and Aidan Knight. Next we'll be doing coffee and donuts at Discovery Coffee with Said The Whale. 

Anyways, I'll be posting the photographs out to correspond with Adrian's VIC Profiles posts on the VIC Fest website. 

Here's VIC Fest Profile #1 with Peter Gardner and Aidan Knight at Pig BBQ Joint.

Here are more of my photos on Flickr. 

Hawk and Steel

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RSD Hawk and Steel.jpg

This whole week has been spent in anticipation of Record Store Day, and I’m pooped. This morning I was up at four in the morning, and out the door just after five. I still wasn’t the first person in line at Ditch Records. 

I picked up a few Record Store Day exclusives I had my eye on, some used records I’ve wanted forever, and even ordered Sub Pop 1000 online. Too much money was spent today, but it has been worth it. Right now I’m laying on the couch listening to Tears for Fears on my Fisher, and writing. Can’t be all that bad, right?

After we got our records we all headed home for naps. Later on we trekked back out to catch the last bit of The Chantrelles set, and to see Hawk and Steel play as part of the Record Store Day celebrations. 

I’ve never heard a record store sound so good. Whoever Ditch had mixing did an amazing job. It was better than most of the shows I’ve been to lately at night clubs and auditoriums. 

Hawk and Steel busted out a new track today, and it’s a rocker. If you get a chance to see them on their upcoming tour do it.

As always more photos can be found on flickr. 

Hawk and Steel


Last night I finally got the chance to catch local indies, Hawk and Steel. 

Peter (lead-singer) and I go back a long time, but I hadn’t made it to see his latest band yet. Boy, I should have gotten on this earlier. I really enjoyed the heck out of that show. In fact I ended up listening to their record “Danger Road” while editing today. 

This was my first time seeing a show at Solstice Cafe. I dug the vibe, but like at most shows I was bothered by the wafts of pot smoke and B.O. coming in from multiple people in the crowd. What can I say? I’m sensitive. It’s the brick walls, exposed metal beams, and local art hanging on the wall. It’d be a great place to shoot a video. 

I did feel slightly awkward there last night though. I always feel awkward at shows like this where people are sitting and I’m trying to not be in their way while taking photos. I feel like I’m in the way so I rush. Hence why I didn’t post many, and I felt the quality was lacking. Next time.

Fun Fact: Hawk and Steel named their touring vehicle “Merlin Van.” I tweeted about it and this happened. I always get a little starstruck when it comes to Merlin. 

As always there are more photos on flickr.