To coincide with the recent release of the York Acoustic videos on our sister site, oneandother.tv, One&Other brings you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the shoot!
It is Monday 5 March 2012, late afternoon on Gillygate. Paul Lowman – pop-culture connoisseur and vinyl extraordinaire – has (perhaps foolishly) agreed to open his unique shop of wonders, The Inkwell, exclusively for York Acoustic. With a three-hour window before Paul has to dash home for a Tesco delivery, we set about re-arranging the old school desks that occupy the shop floor, topped with boxes of records, old comics and Beat-Gen literature.
This was the biggest York Acoustic shoot to date, both in terms of musicians filmed and crew involved. Behind the cameras, I was joined once again by our incredibly talented stills photographer, Ben Bentley, as well as filmmaking friend, Tom Paul Martin, and creative director of Parashoots, Paul Richardson.
Providing the tunes this time were three out of five members of dirty blues ensemble, Fox North Coalition: Tim Fox, Vin North and Carl Hetherington.
In a gesture that brought a tear to my eye and saliva to my mouth, Mr. Lowman had put aside a crate of beer for the evening. This wasn’t just a shoot – it was a lock-in. Several laughs and a few beers later, mics were turned on and Mr. Richardson provided a big clap, marking the start of the evening’s first take.
Setting up camera tracks near the counter, courtesy of Tom, I wished for these videos to display a nice contrast between handheld close-ups and smooth, wide tracking shots. I felt this was the best way to show off both the band and the physical space around them; something I really hope comes across in the final videos. The depth of field provided by books and records atop tattered tables intends to capture the cluttered, homely nature of the shop.
Musically, Fox North Coalition’s filthy, soulful blues fit perfectly with The Inkwell’s feel, perhaps too well. Evoking the muddy tones of Delta bluesmen (Mr. Fox later told me he has washed all his harmonicas in the Mississippi), their recognisable yet uncanny sounds are sung and played with soul, poignancy and gritted teeth.
Towards the end of the evening, a dishevelled old drunk attempted to break into the shop amidst cries of “It sounds great!” At that point, I knew the shoot had been a success.
Leaving The Inkwell feeling slightly elated, I was soon brought back down to earth by a metal hook on a box of equipment, which had the good fortune of snapping loose and striking me on the head. After all, a good shoot should always end with at least one concussion.
Fox North Coalition is currently working on their new record – follow all their news and gig dates through their Facebook page!
There’s never been a better time to visit The Inkwell; Paul has just opened a new coffee parlour in the back room. If you stop by, either for a chat, a record or a coffee (or all three if you like to live dangerously), don’t hesitate to tell him York Acoustic led you there.