On Tour With Max Fairclough.
He is a local lad from Perth, but Max Fairclough is jet setting around the globe hanging out with some of the biggest names in the music industry taking their photographs. The talented man took some time away from the bands and his camera to chat about sex drugs and rock n' roll.
Take us back to the beginning, how did it all start?
I'm a pretty competitive person and I was at TAFE studying graphic design, there was a kid in my class who was taking party snaps and I thought they were pretty average. So I took advantage of my parent’s assets, them both being photographers and I started taking party photos myself. I dropped graphic design two weeks after picking up a camera. I knew a few people in the music industry and they would put me on the door and in exchange I would send them photos I had taken and it grew from there. It might have started as a competition to kick some-kid’s ass but now I have a real passion for creating a beautiful image.
What has been your favourite event so far?
I think my favourite experience so far was a tour with Bring Me The Horizon. For a guy like myself who was shooting club nights to go on tour with a band that has swarms of fans following them at airports and filling out stadiums when they played was just amazing. I really enjoyed making friends with the guys, the pay check was definitely in the experience.
Has there been a truly surreal moment you've had with the bands?
There is good and bad surreal moments I think. The most insane one occurred when I'd been emailing a guy that goes by the name of Matt for a few years. He is one of the head managers at a label called Raw Power Management and he is pretty much the big guy behind a lot of hard core music. He had set up a few photo shoots for me with bands like Gallows, and then he helped coordinate a lot of the other tours such as the Bring Me The Horizon one. Well on the first night of the Bring Me The Horizon tour in Brisbane we were all out drinking and I was talking to Jordan from the band and he asked how I'd got involved in the tour. I told him about Matt and he asked if I'd ever met him- of which I hadn't and as crazy at it seems Matt was standing just a meter away and we were introduced. It was crazy to meet the person who I only knew by an email address and who had presented me with so many opportunities to date.
A bad surreal moment happened to me on the Grinspoon tour. I hadn't met the band beforehand but the manager prior told me just to go out and take some photos – the stage was mine kind of thing. Doing my thing I was right up behind the drummer taking photos and Phil Jamieson looked at me as I was taking his photo and ran his fingers across his neck which pretty much meant stop taking my photo in front of the entire crowd.
Have you even been in a super awkward position?
Oliver from Bring Me The Horizon was halfway through a set when he paused and stood facing me and flipped the bird as the song paused. It was the most incredible shot but my camera wouldn't focus so there was a very awkward and silent 12 seconds in front of six thousand people who were waiting for me to get the shot. I knew it was just a tongue in cheek thing from Oliver's end but it felt pretty worrying having an entire mob of people think he hates me or something.
You can tell us, we promise to keep it a secret...any crazy stories from tour?
Obviously the best stories can't be printed! I guess to put it briefly all the stereotypes about touring is true, sex drugs, rock and roll. For me though I still have deadlines so I have to edit photos and can't enjoy it as much as the bands. In saying that - I was at a pizza bar one night in Sydney with another band on another tour and they were all quite rowdy and having a good time after their show. They had been kicked out of the bar and had no luck hailing down a cab to get home. So one of the band members had enough and thought it would be wise to swan dive into the front windshield of the taxi to get in the cab. What resulted was a ride to the hotel in the back of a paddy wagon.
Any big plans in the works?
At the moment I'm heading off on the Soundwave tour and I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of my mates who are playing the festival (AFI, Deez Nuts, I Killed The Prom Queen, In Hearts Wake, Dream On Dreamer etc. I was suppose to head out to America after Soundwave to join another band on tour but logistics unfortunately didn’t work out and we couldn’t make it happen. Those things happen.
If there was one band you could work with?
EASY you are taking to the biggest hardcore Blink 182 fan. I would love to take their photo Otherwise a big pop artists like Justin Bieber would be a cool experience. And please take note I would do it for the experience I'm not a belieber.
Any tips for the newbies?
It's always confronting when you first start taking pictures like it's easy to think that people are judging you but at the end of the day you need to take a step back and think people are here to see the musicians not me. Photography is a fun media to play with but don't get into it for the money, its pretty tough when you're starting. The quickest way to make money as a photographer is selling your camera.
What is you fave place in Perth?
Ezra Pound its so relaxing. I do keep to myself though ahahah I like my bedroom. But actually there is a lighthouse in Fremantle that has amazing sunsets heading there with some fish and chips- I'm sold. It's pretty windy though so if you care about your hair wear a beany!