Life Behind the Lens: Q&A with your favorite local show photographers

When the the words “local music scene” are said, it’s safe to say musicians are the first to come to mind. Musicians are found at the center of the local scene, and rightly so. Countless photos are shared multiple times through social media sites, featuring vocalists accompanied by a crowd of energetic fans screaming lyrics at the top of their lungs. All of these memories, all of these shows are documented through photos, giving fans the chance to look back and reminisce.

But how often do we think about who’s behind the lens? Who’s utilizing their talent and passion to record these memories? Here’s a closer look behind the lens with three of the best local show photographers Indiana has to offer: Errick Easterday, Skip Zhang, and Kels Alonzo.

#WEAPONOFCHOICE

  • Kels Alonzo: Canon T3I
  • Skip Zhang: Canon 600D
  • Errick Easterday: Nikon D7000

Tell me the story of how you discovered your passion of photography.

Zhang: I went to a local show with my camera one day and took some photos just for fun and I posted them on my micro-Blog (Chinese version of twitter) afterwards. Then the bands found it and told me they like the shots. And from then on, I almost bring my camera to shows with me every time. I made a lot of friends through shooting the scene and it is really enjoyable shooting the bands that I like. I really love going to shows and it makes me feel refreshed, and I really love to record what I experienced in the scene. The passion I have for shooting the scene definitely comes from the passion I have for the music scene.

Easterday: I’ve always thought photography was cool, I used to buy books about it when I was a kid, but I never really messed with a camera until high school. I took a multi-communication tools course that had a 2 week section in photography. After my teacher told me that my work was some of, if not the best work he’s seen at my level, I decided to take it to the next step and bought a Nikon D3000 +some lenses from a friend for like $300. It’s all been uphill from there.

Alonzo: Honestly, it all started when I got my DSLR close to 2 years ago. I got it mainly for video, but I found photography was a lot of fun, so from there on I started taking pictures for my friend’s band, and bam. Here I am.

Lionheart. Photo by Kelsie Lunsford.
Rob Watson of Lionheart at Grandbar, Chicago, Ill. April 20, 2015. Photo by Kels Alonzo.

What other types of photography do you enjoy?

Zhang: I actually take photos for a lot of things, every element in my life. I like shooting my road trip especially because on a trip I am always seeing different beautiful things. I simply want to capture every beautiful things in my life.

Easterday: Aside from live music, I really enjoy outdoor portraits. I do a lot of weird, experimental stuff in my own time, and I’d love to move into some boudoir work.

Alonzo: I mostly just do band photography, but I like doing portraits and city pictures. There’s so much to photography and the emotion shown in pictures just flows. I don’t know, it’s an art in itself.


How long have you been a photographer/show photographer?

Zhang: I have been taking photos for a while, but I have been editing my shots for no more than a year.

Easterday: I would say about 2 years now.

Alonzo: Show photographer for about 8 months. Film & regular photographer for 3 years.


How do you believe you’ve improved since you’ve started taking photos?

Zhang: I just simply feel that they look better. Sometimes when I look back to my shots I shoot a long while ago, I find them looking awful (laughs).

Easterday: So many ways. From learning more about my camera, to new techniques, and then just recently upgrading all of my gear.

Alonzo: I’ve improved like crazy. I never knew how to use the settings on my camera until recently. In October, I was just kind of throwing wild cards hoping my pictures would turn out good. About 2 months ago, I figured out how to set the right aperture, F-stop, shutter speed.. Its a little embarrassing, but hey, it’s a huge improvement and everyone I’ve shot for totally sees the improvement.

Suicide Silence at Emerson Theater, Indianapolis, Ind. March 4, 2015. Photo by Skip Zhang.
Eddie Hermida of Suicide Silence at Emerson Theater, Indianapolis, Ind. March 4, 2015. Photo by Skip Zhang.

Who’s your favorite band that you’ve photographed?

Zhang: I think my favorite band that I have photographed goes to Chipped Teeth. They are just an awesome band, they make super cool music and they are so passionate every time they are playing their set. They are the band that helped me get involved in the local scenes and I am always grateful about that. Another band I want to mention is the Chinese hardcore legend King Ly Chee. I haven’t really shot their shows but I edited some of the photos my friends shot for them. They are the band that opened the door of Hardcore for me and they make amazing music. They are now working on a project called Unite Asia and gathers information about the punk/hardcore/metal scenes in Asia. That’s a cool website and every article worth a glance. Moreover, both these two bands show great positive mental attitude and inspired me a lot.

Easterday: Code Orange, hands down. Never has a band been so photogenic. I haven’t gotten to shoot them with all of my new gear yet, so I’m patiently awaiting their return. There are a few locals that come in at a close second.

Alonzo: I shoot The Truth at literally every show they play because Nate Cox asked me in October to shoot his band. He knew I had a camera, but I had no experience before with shooting shows. Also, Lionheart was another. I shot them once after I figured out how to use my settings on my camera the right way, and the pictures came out awesome. They’re also in my top five favorite bands of all time, so shooting their pictures at one show made me feel so confident in myself. I also got a hug from Lionheart’s guitarist.


Who’s the most popular/biggest band that you’ve photographed?

Zhang: The most popular band I have shot is Suicide Silence; their set was amazing.

Easterday: I’ve shot Senses Fail and The Contortionist in a slightly more professional setting recently. Other than that, I’ve shot Code Orange, H20, and I get to shoot Knocked Loose pretty often.

Alonzo: The biggest bands I’ve shot are Every Time I Die and Lionheart. Those pictures came out amazing and are my favorite ones to date.

Eric Balderose of Code Orange at New Albany Production House, New Albany, Ind. March 14, 2015. Photo by Errick Easterday.
Eric Balderose of Code Orange at New Albany Production House, New Albany, Ind. March 14, 2015. Photo by Errick Easterday.

Any funny stories to share of when you were taking photos?

Zhang: I am always getting help and inspired by amazing photographers around me. Errick and Nick are two perfect examples, they both take amazing shots. Errick just starts his photography business and he is asking for a price which is definitely worthy.

Easterday: I just love when big, tough dudes in hardcore bands start laughing and getting all embarrassed when you put a camera in front of them.

Alonzo: Chelsea was here to see this, so hopefully when she writes this she gets a good laugh. I went to my first show in Muncie, and it was in a basement. I went to go and shoot some pictures of the Truth, and as soon as their set started, I got pushed so hard I fell into the guy’s sound system. My camera was safe, but my leg was bleeding. I got some cool shots at least!


What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing a hobby/career in photography?

Zhang: For those who are interested in photography, I would suggest them to just love what they do and do what they love, don’t take things too serious or you won’t have fun. There are tons of people taking better shots than me and you so just try to learn, the efforts will pay back finally.

Easterday: Anyone can do photography as a hobby, it’s fun and very rewarding, but I can say as someone building a career out of it, it’s a difficult journey. Even now, two years into it, I have people walk away without paying me, telling me my profession doesn’t deserve payment, and it’s difficult to book well paying clients. That on top of editing hundreds of pictures at a time can get pretty stressful, but I love it. If you love something, live with it.

Alonzo: It’s so much fun, and you meet so many amazing and talented people along the way. I’ve made so many friends because of this, and I’ve improved immensely. It’s also huge confidence booster when I see stuff I shot as someone’s profile picture.


Anything else you would like to add?

Zhang: I was born and raised in China, so I am actually involved in music scenes in two completely different cultures. Music is like the bridge that connects different cultures, though people speak different languages and have different lifestyles, but the music have the same breakdowns and singalongs. It is great that I can find something familiar in a completely different culture which makes me feel at home. I am always grateful to those who helped me and those I met in the music scenes, they are the ones who make me a better person.

Easterday: Catch me on tour all of July and August with Church Tongue. Favorite photographers/shout outs: Freddie Ross, Maclyn Bean, Donzor, Eric Reid, Alissa Brunelli, Smileyfacemode, Doodle Shots, Andrew Garland, Vince Dwyer, CDO, Nick Souza, Dylan Luder, Ethan Bielik, Mark Valentino, Taylor Rambo, Carolyn Ambriano, Jeremy Keeney, Skip Zhang, Nick Brock, Austin Trevor Murray, Tyler Priola & Kels Alonzo.


Written by Chelsea Renee Scofield

Photos provided by Errick Easterday, Kels Alonzo, & Skip Zhang.

Check out their portfolios for more awesome shots!

Easterdaily (Errick Easterday)

KLHC Photography (Kels Alonzo)

Skip Zhang

Captain of My Own Ship: Straight Edge Speaks Out

According to Straight Edge Worldwide, straight edge is a youth movement and community based around the values of punk culture. Members of this community hold a lifelong commitment to live without drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and abusive/addictive sexuality. For some members, straight edge includes following a vegetarian or vegan diet and not using caffeine or prescription drugs. According to Wikipedia, straight edge grew out of hardcore punk in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Characterized by an “X”, the straight edge symbol derives from the X’s that are marked on the hands of someone who’s underage attending a show.

Below, six members of the straight edge community speak out about why they’ve chosen to make the lifelong commitment, and what that commitment means to them.


10425401_884369434906435_6553877793548884632_n

“I’ve been edge for 14 years, and it’s been a very important part of my life. I never needed a substance to have fun, mellow out, or forget my problems temporarily. I feel like I’ve had a pretty amazing life and I did it all sober, and with the glorification of getting “fucked up” nowadays, that feels pretty important to me. The ‘X’ has replaced religion for me.”

Chris X Bayless, guitarist and backup vocalist of Ghost Key


1512826_440633209447566_1456082351163950850_n

“Straight edge to me is courage and pride. Living every day knowing you don’t need to take a drink of alcohol or hit of a cig or joint to have a good time or even get over something. It’s confidence and even though we can be few and far between, we are a brotherhood. It’s living without being dependent on anything but yourself. It’s the most positive way anyone could live.”

Jacob Demaree, guitarist of Inheritors


11071406_918067831547626_5262839618371721326_o

“I’ve always been substance free, but claimed straight edge for personal reasons and, after watching drugs and alcohol destroy a lot of great personal relationships and lives, it seemed like a clear choice to me. Straight edge to me means living your life without relying on substance for fun or a false sense of happiness. I like being in full control of my mind and body, and using that to build myself as a better person.”

Errick X Easterday, owner at Easterdaily


11068329_967827389903264_8629364879339835909_n

“For me, straight edge kind of replaces religion. I have something I stand for at my back when I don’t have something else. That might not make sense to everyone, but it’s always made sense to me.”

Trae X Roberts, vocalist of Oceans Grey & bassist of Archives


10993083_919656081407824_5060606827376293395_n

“To me, it’s been something that I claimed because I really valued thinking with a sober mind constantly. And finding something like straight edge where everyone values that as I do was really cool. It helped me make some awesome friends and has helped me come up with a true identity for my values in life.”

Joel X Kanoly, local supporter of the music scene


11269734_836815269706996_1266169074_n

I take pride in being able to resist things that would cause me harm, and the ability to make sober decisions. I also strongly encourage people not to let drugs, alcohol, or even promiscuous sex control their lives. I believe people openly give themselves up as slaves to these vices, and I’m proud to say I don’t. I hate the acceptance and promotion of high school and college students drinking and smoking their thoughts, motives, and individuality away. Alcohol in particular disgusts me, as many women have been taken advantage if while drunk. I’ve been proclaiming Straight Edge for few years, and I have no plans on stopping.

Dalton Miller, local supporter of the music scene


Written by Chelsea Renee Scofield

Photos by Errick X Easterday & Andrew Garland

REVIEW: Oceans Grey Benefit Show at B&D’s Melee Hall, May 9, 2015

Last Saturday, B&D’s Melee Hall hosted another successful show, bringing together approximately fifty local supporters for one unforgettable night. By the end of the night, seven bands performed, one nose was broken, and according to Buddy Geesaman, co-owner of the venue, $200 was raised and given to the members of Oceans Grey to replace their equipment that was stolen while on tour.

The night started off with local rock band American Living, playing their very first B&D’s Melee Hall performance. American Living started the night off strong with an authentic sound and contagious energy.

Second to the stage was We Love You, Marion’s very own “emo cat lovers.” We Love You’s passionate music never fails to engage it’s audience, bringing out the “emo cat lover” in all of us.

Safe House was third to perform, pop punk band hailing from Indianapolis. With their highly anticipated debut EP, Finding Some Stability, set to release on May 19, the band performed several songs from the new release. The group also sold “bootleg” copies of the album at the show for three dollars.

Oceans Grey took the stage immediately after, giving an excellent performance to their fans and benefactors. The hardcore/metal band from Whiteland, Indiana performed a few songs from their debut EP, Simon Says. Oceans Grey finished off the performance with their popular cover of “Bulls On Parade”, originally performed by Rage Against The Machine.

The fifth band to perform was Plagued By Humanity, death metal/hardcore/slam group from Fort Wayne, Indiana. The group’s heavy sound erupted a crowd reaction that could not be topped.

Next to perform was Archives, metalcore band from Muncie, Indiana. The band performed several songs, some old and some new, including “Loveless.” The group’s newest song, “Graveyard” received a positive reaction from the audience.

Finishing off the night, Inheritors, melodic metal/hardcore dads from Eaton, Indiana was last, but not least, to take the stage. Since their first performance in over six months just a couple weeks earlier, the group showed even more improvement during their performance.

Just a few short weeks since the grand opening, B&D’s Melee Hall has become an important and respected installment in the East Central Indiana music scene. With summer kicking off, one can expect things to heat up at the venue as well, offering more shows and a place for all ages to hang out this summer.

For more high quality photography from your favorite local shows, check out Errick X Easterday on Facebook!

Photo: Oceans Grey, by Errick X Easterday

Written by Chelsea Renee Scofield

B&D’s Melee Hall hosts benefit show for Oceans Grey to replace stolen equipment

This Saturday at 5 p.m., Muncie’s very own all ages venue, B&D’s Melee Hall, will host their third fundraiser show in an effort to help local band Oceans Grey replace their stolen equipment. Admittance to the show will cost five dollars.

While on tour with All My Friends Are Dead, the vehicle and trailer of Oceans Grey was parked outside of a hotel in Temple, Texas. The following morning, band members found their trailer broken into and a large amount of their equipment stolen. Among the stolen equipment was $300 worth of guitar pedals, $2,000 worth of cymbals, $400 bass drum pedals and two guitars.

Heartbroken but optimistic, Oceans Grey frontman Trae Roberts explains, “When we discovered that our trailer was broken into, we were definitely very upset but we did our best not to let it bring us down too much. We did what we could to finish out the tour.”

Shortly after returning home from the tour, Oceans Grey launched a GoFundMe campaign in the hopes of collecting donations from those who care to help, in order to aid the band in purchasing replacement equipment. Anyone who donates $20 or more will receive an Oceans Grey t-shirt and patches. Currently, the band has raised almost $600.

In an attempt to reach their $2,000 goal quicker, B&D’s Melee Hall offered their venue with bands eagerly lining up to perform at the benefit show. Buddy Geesaman, co-owner of B&D’s Melee Hall and vocalist of Inheritors, said that the venue will pledge a minimum of 70 percent of the profits dependent on the show’s attendance.

“Local supporters should attend the show not only to keep Oceans Grey rolling, but to keep the new venue alive as well,” said Roberts.

Keeping community in mind, Geesaman stated, “The chance to help our friends means a lot to Inheritors. When terrible things like this occur, bands stand united and support each other, proving that we’re more than just a scene. We are a family, we care about one another, we care about our friends’ successes, and we want them to realize their dreams. I honestly believe that helps to make the scene better.”

The lineup for this show will include Inheritors, Archives, Oceans Grey, Plagued By Humanity, We Love You, Safe House, American Living, and Matt Enemy (Wants to Die).

“To be able to help one of my best friends in such an awesome and fun way is super rad. It means a lot to me and the rest of the guys in We Love You. If we had something like this happen to us, we know Oceans Grey and all the other bands in the scene would love to help us out,” said Travis Scriba, drummer of We Love You.

“Sometimes, we fall off track and forget that we are all working for a common goal. We all need to think about it like this: if one band makes it, it will shine a light onto this area. We have no room for jealousy or envy. Our friends, Oceans Grey, are in need. Those dudes are out there chasing their dreams and they have our support. I hope all of the musicians in the area come to the show and support them,” said Geesaman.

To RSVP to the event, click here.

To donate to the band’s GoFundMe campaign, click here.

Written by Chelsea Renee Scofield

Edited by Lina Olsauskas

B&D’s Melee Hall Hosts Benefit Show for Muncie’s Animal Shelter

B&D’s Melee Hall is hosting a show tonight at 6:30 p.m. for not one, but two great causes. While collaborating with Marcy Kindred, the venue owners are donating half of the proceeds raised at the show to ARF, Muncie’s very own animal shelter.

The show will also serve as a reminder that everyone is welcome in the alternative music scene. This statement is especially relevant to those who were affected by Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a bill that allowed businesses to refuse service to customers based on their religious beliefs.

“My motivation to host this show is to move forward and give back, as the title says. I want to move forward from the prejudice and discrimination and give back to the community that showed me diversity and tolerance,” said Kindred.

The show will cost five dollars to attend but other donations are welcome. The event, titled “Move Forward, Give Back” will feature five bands, including The Talking Anteaters, The Almost Heroes, Void King, Dear Darla, and Monterrey.

In addition to donations given ARF, those who attend the show are encouraged to donate to Mayhem in Muncie’s host, Justin Zacharias, to assist with the necessary funds to hold the festival. A box will be available for the public to provide donations.

“People should attend this show to offer support to those who might not be getting it right now because of the RFRA’s passing and to help out dogs. Who the heck wouldn’t want to help out dogs while listening to five rad bands?” said Kindred.