From London to Cagliari

Matteo Capra’s pictures inside the most extreme Sardinian rock underworld

Matteo Capra’s words and pictures

It all started around 2009 after breaking up with my first girlfirend.
 

The (at the time) bassist of Dreaming 23 Luca Vacca (A War Inside, Traits, Castagna, Padrini, Every Saturday Punches, No Care, currently Riflesso and My Friend Peter) is a childhood friend of mine, and we have known each other since we were five years old. I turned to him to try to turn completely from the separation with my ex.

The band was looking for a guitarist and I played guitar. I played with Dreaming 23 for roughly a year, and during that time we played several shows and recorded two demos.

One of the bands Dreaming 23 used to play with, was Mercy Place and we often shared the gigs with them.

At one of our shows a friend of mine came along, who is still one of my best friends, Matteo Dessì (Mercy Place and Curse This Ocean as tour guitarist). We had a chat after the show and it turns out he was a guitarist. I knew that Mercy Place was looking for another guitarist, and that’s how Matteo joined the band.

Matteo along with Riccardo Besia (Mercy Place, Dreaming 23, A War Inside, Every Saturday Punches, currently Reflected) completely changed the sound as much as the band’s repertoire, turning the style of the band into much more hardcore compared to the punkrock origins it had initially.

In 2010, Dreaming 23 and I took different paths, but I kept in touch with those who by then, had become my friends.

Curse This Ocean, Eurotour 2013

Reflex

After leaving music from the main door, I decided to get back to it through the window, using my camera.

I was starting to ger into photography mainly with landscapes, but it did not take long for the whole thing to fall back into the music.

As soon as the Mercy Place had a concert, I decided to bring my new camera with me to try to take some different photos, from the landscapes I had taken until then.

The concert was at the K-Lab and the pictures just sucked to be honest. However, if I had never shot that gig, I would have never done anything of the little I’ve done so far.

From that day on I always brought the DSLR to every concert I went to,  progressively improving the shots from time to time.

After the gigs I was editing the pictures, then I was contacting the bands I took the pictures of, to send them all the presentable material I had.

The live performances I was going to during the period mainly bounced between Corto Maltese and Calypso at Poetto beach.

The photos, in my opinion, were very bad but the result was still better than any other random picture that was taken by maybe a friend of the bands, who mainly went to see them play rather than taking pictures. Lo and behold, these bands found themselves with a whole photoset taken by someone that during the performance, was doing exclusively that.

From there I began to receive progressively more positive feedback, that obviously encouraged me to carry on.

Being part of all bands

It is around this time that I created my photography page on Facebook Matt. © Photography with the aim of contacting the bands to send the shoots, as well as wanting a popular and user friendly medium, where I could also showcase my photos, in a period in which Instagram did not yet exist.

I was attending shows regardless, therefore instead of being upset because I was no loneger on stage, I decided that instead of just playing in only one band, I could be part of all the bands, through the photos.

I think anyone who has had the misfortune to see me shooting, understand what I mean when I say that “I would have been part of all the bands”. It basically means that often I was ending up on stage with the rest of the band, for at least a series of shots, mainly because drummers are always as neglected as photogenic, and there is no other way to photograph them, if not physically going on stage.

In the meantime I started to be roughly noticed, at least because I was a constant presence at the concerts. Many of these concerts included Padrini who were very active at the time. Michelangelo, the guitarist and singer of the band, had organized a series of shows that were about to start at the Cube, and he asked me if I was interested in taking some pictures of these events.  Obviously I accepted because I wanted to improve those photos, which for me were still very far, from what I would have liked to call acceptable.

Let’s say, however, that this with Michelangelo and Padrini, was perhaps the first official “job” that I had as a photographer and that gave me the chance to practice.

From Cagliari to London

Meanwhile in 2010 the Ghostown Booking was founded by Carlo Articolo (Rise After Defeat, now become Scornthroats) and Mattia Cossu (Curse This Ocean). The guys started organizing shows, filling roughly one year season worth of shows at the Zero Club.

The concerts, mainly hardcore, punk, and metal, were taking place once a week.

Matteo Dessì and me went to a couple of the first concerts of the season, I was obviously always with my camera.

At one of these concerts Mattia and Carlo asked me if they could talk to me for a second. They told me they had noticed I always had the camera with me. Since I took pictures regardless, they asked me if I was interested in going to their shows without paying the entrance, in exchange for the shots of the events.

Surprised and pleased, I accepted the proposal to one of the projects from which I probably had the opportunity to learn the most, and further down the road, to define what would become roughly my style.

The whole deal was all about shooting between three and five bands a night, once a week for roughly nine months.

All this translated into hundreds and hundreds of photos and including around seventy bands.

That said, I did not limit myself to just that weekly event, but I just took any chance to go to any other live show in the area.

After this very busy season, Mattia moved to London in the summer of 2011 and soon after I followed his move, landing on British territory with a one-way ticket on 04/10/2011.

Curse this Ocean

As soon as I arrived in London, I stayed for about a month at Mattia’s place, who helped me with my first steps in the new country.

From here on, unfortunately, I had to put the photography on the side, to give priority to all the errands that must be sorted when moving to another country. Finding a house, finding a job, moving house, changing job and so on, repeating this cycle countless times, having to deal with the first jobs you can find as a new immigrant, which often have shifts that are certainly not compatible with anything else, besides working and sleeping.

After Mattia moving in the UK, Curse This Ocean kept on being active, going on tour and eventually recording Lightbringer in 2012.

Shortly after recording the album, the band planned a European tour, along with the Belgian band The Severe, as a promotion of the newly released work.

The tour was planned to start at the end of April 2013. The band’s line up for the tour was also tweaked, where Carlo Articolo would be the singer, since the band’s singer was unable to follow the rest of the guys on tour.

At that point I decided to ask Mattia to join the tour as a photographer to document the ten dates through five countries, for both bands.

Starting from Belgium, passing through Germany, Austria, Italy, Czech Republic, and finishing the tour in Germany in Berlin.

The Rippers, Corto Maltese, 11.08.2010

On tour through Europe

The tour was an experience that is difficult to describe and summarize in a nutshell. I think that any band that goes on tour regularly, would know much better than me, what I mean when I say it’s hard to describe. We departed with Mattia from London with the Eurostar arriving in Brussels where we would meet other guys too get the tour started.

On tour, you are every day in a different place and at a some point you start losing track of where you are, what country is the city in which you are, and so on.

Everything moves very fast: departure in the morning, get to the venue in the afternoon, set the stage, play the show in the evening, clear the stage, get some sleep, and repeat the whole thing the day after. It takes determination and you’ve gotta stay focused. Everything is rigorously planned, and you never want to find yourself in a situation where the plans have to be changed at the last minute.

Despite this, the unexpected events are part of a tour, that’s just the way it is.

Unexpected events

And soon after we had to deal with Nicola Olla (the guitarist of the band together with Corrado Cardia) in the A&E somewhere in Germany for a cut on the eyebrow , caused by some headbanging ended up on the headstock of Mattia’s bass. 

We had an amp that just died on the band during the performance, which was miraculously repaired the following morning.

A cancelled date, replaced last minute with another gig somewhere in the Czech Republic, in a place called Usti Nad Labem, thanks to a contact that Carlo had, in a venue protected from the outside by barbed wire and dogs that I like to call horses, with which we had share the “bedroom”, and where Mattia had to sleep in the van loaded with the gear “just in case”. 

My fever through which I managed to shoot maybe the best picture of the tour.

The last of the unexpected events was when, after the last date in Berlin, we decided that, rather than sleeping and leave in the morning, we were going leave straight away towards Brussels to end the tour, since it was already quite late and Gregory, the singer of the Severe, had a plane early in the morning to go on tour with another band.

After a night trip and a sleepless night, we got to Brussels, where Mattia and I would then take the last Eurostar train of the day for London.

Let’s say that the plans had to be changed, when after resting at the station, while we waited for the train. When the time came, we started to collect our stuff to go to the platform, when i realise that my backpack with my MacBook inside and with all the photos of the tour, was no longer next to me.

Let’s say I managed to recover 15% of the work I had done, but the rest unfortunately went to some nice person in Belgium, who probably formatted the hard drive in the following five minutes.

Despite everything, it was an experience that I would repeat from the beginning, without changing a thing, except perhaps the theft of the computer!

Today

Once back from the tour I continued to occasionally shoot some concerts here in London, one of the major shoots is probably when I took pictures of the Oathbraker live in Brighton.

Shortly after I got in touch with a booking agency active here in London, Fluffer Records, which was referred to me by Mattia.

I shot for them for a while, but unfortunately errands and work have prevented me once again from being as constant as it would have been necessary, to get to be active as I was in Cagliari.

I shot again for the Rise After Defeat and the Discomfort when they ended up in London during their tour in February 2014.

Now every time I go back home on holiday, I check if there is any concert that falls into the same dates as my holiday. If that’s the case my camera ends up in my suitcase, and I do exactly what I’ve done since 2010. And that’s another way I managed to continue somehow shooting in Cagliari.  

In those instances, I had the opportunity to shoot some shows mainly at Blind Rabbit.

At the moment, my daily routine became more predictable, and I am in a position that allows me to concentrate once again on what really interests me.

I’m trying to the get the ball rolling as it did before, to then get it to roll even further.

Currently I’m in touch with several artists, and I’m trying to push more towards the photodiary, behind the scenes, and making of, as well as obviously still shooting the performance itself.

Soon I will be shooting Charles Watson’s show (ex Slow Club), a solo artist currently produced by Moshi Moshi Records, and Haus show in London. Both are emerging artists, who are quickly gaining visibility. In both cases I will have access to the backstage, which should allow me to put some photosets together, and a report on both the events, for both artists.

I would like to take this opportunity also to thank all the people who have allowed me to do what I did so far.

In particular, anyone who has directly helped me (consciously or not) to do all the above:

Matteo Dessì, Luca Vacca, Riccardo Besia, Mattia Cossu, Carlo Articolo, Padrini, Andrea Cannucci, Diego Pani, Enrico Spanu, Martina Manca and all the other people who decided that my work was decent enough to spend some words of encouragement.

Thanks also to all the bands that let me annoy them with my flash slapped on their face, I apologize in case I’m forgetting someone:

A Faded Glory (Milano), A War Inside (Cagliari), Alicewings  (Cagliari), Anto Dust  (Londra), Antefatti  (Terni), Attrito (Trento), Congegno (Trento), Curse This Ocean (Cagliari), 

Deceived (Cagliari), Dedalus In Bloom (Cagliari), Dine In Hell (Ravenna), Discomfort  (Padova), Dreaming 23 (Cagliari), Effelle (Cagliari), Embrace Distruction (Milano, Amsterdam), 

Every Saturday Punches (Cagliari), Fall of Minerva (Vicenza, ora Londra), Flaming Skulls (Londra), Gerson (Milano), Globage (Siena, Chianciano, Roma), Gods Of Gamble (Cagliari),

Good Night Jesus    (Iglesias), Granny Flat (Marotta), If I Die Today (Mondovì), Il Disagio (Cagliari), Inkarakua (Cagliari), King Howl Quartet (Cagliari), Leeches (Como), Lixia Boys (Cagliari), 

Lobo’s Middle Finger (Cagliari), Love Buzzard (Londra), Mercy Place (Cagliari), Mutilated Soul (Cagliari), My Hope Is Dead (Cagliari), Neravendetta (Cagliari), Oathbreaker (Belgio, Fiandre), 

Out Of Date (Milano), Padrini (Cagliari), Paintrue (Cagliari), Porcelled Paradise (Cagliari), Puffer (Londra), Reminiscenza (Serramanna), Resolve (Italia), Reverse (Germania), 

Rise After Defeat, ora Scornthroats (Cagliari), Rock’n’Ball (Cagliari), Rubbish Dump (No Idea),Severe (Belgio), State Of Mind (Olbia), Step On Memories (Vicenza), Super Oil 69 (Cagliari), 

Syrup Lies (Cagliari), Thank U For Smoking  (Cagliari), The Erotik Monkey (Capoterra), The Memory (Termoli),The Rippers (Cagliari), The Secret (Trieste), To Ed Gein (Olbia), 

Unanswered  (Cagliari), Unspoken (No Idea), Who Killed Marilyn (Iglesias, Carbonia), Wise Kebabs (Olbia), Wornout (Cagliari), Worstenemy (Oristano), Wren (Londra)

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