We had a little chat with Neelam Khan Vela, who's been touring with some exciting Airline-playing new bands, The Parrots and The Orielles.
Whoever said Rock'n'Roll is dead was wrong, of course - and it's always great for us when up-and-coming new bands choose to pick up our guitars to prove it's very much alive. Of course, sometimes it's good to have a great photographer to register it all!
Luckily for us, we found Neelam Khan Vela - a young photographer from Barcelona (now living in Glasgow, UK) who's been making a name for herself in the past couple of years, thanks to her "on the road" photos of some of the most exciting new bands touring Britain right now, including Savages, Fat White Family, Iceage and, of special interest to us, The Parrots and The Orielles - both signed to hip record label Heavenly Recordings, and both big-time fans of Airline guitars!
We had a quick chat with Neelam to know a bit more about her experience touring with those two Airline-loving bands, and got her to pick some of her favourite photos, too!
How did you become a photographer?
I started taking photos since a really young age, picked up whatever camera I found at home and always taking snaps of all the moments I found exciting. When I was 13 I started getting into music properly, and starting taking pictures at all the gigs I went to. It wasn't until I moved to London when I was 17 that I started getting photo-passes and starting publishing some of my music photography work, and working with bands closely.
How did you get to tour with The Parrots and The Orielles? What was the experience like?
I went to see The Parrots at one of their first shows in London few years ago and we kept in touch since. They had always been one of my favourite live bands to photograph, so last year when they announced their UK tour I just asked if I could come along. Since then I've done three tours with them, travelled to so many places around Europe I hadn't been before and met lots of amazing people.
What about The Orielles?
I started working with The Orielles because they supported The Parrots on that first tour I did with them last year, we got on so well that this Spring they asked me to document their first ever big headline tour. Both bands have a really different live show but they're both so much fun to shoot, they both have so much energy and charisma that makes it really easy for me to get good shots.
When you're on tour for so long you really have to push yourself as a photographer to get different and special shots every night, but when you're working with bands like this that give 100% onstage every night it just comes naturally, because every night its different.
Touring on itself is already tough, and documenting a tour is as exhausting as it is rewarding: you need to be alert at all times, because a good photo could happen at any moment. From waking up hangover and trying to remember which city you're in, to walking about when you have a spare hour after soundcheck, to the actual show, to being in the van for hours and finally stopping for a pee.
I feel really grateful that bands I love trust me to take me with them to capture these moments.
Picture Gallery: The Parrots and The Orielles on tour
We asked Neelam to pick a selection of her favourite live pics of The Parrots (weapon of choice: Airline 59 2P) and The Orielles (playing an Airline Bighorn).
The Parrots in London. It was one of the best gigs of the tour, and this is my favourite live photo I've ever taken of them. When shooting a live show I try to capture a special moment not only a good looking photograph. This photo brings me so much joy and reminds me why I love photographing them. (May, 2017)
The Parrots in Brighton. Playing one of their many shows at The Great Escape. It amazes me how they manage to have so much energy one night after the other when they go onstage. (May, 2017)
Another one from The Parrots in London. All their shows end up so messy, I love it so much. (May, 2017)
The Orielles in their hometown show. The biggest show of the whole tour, in Hebden Bridge. The crowd that night was insane, it was the best night because all their friends were there and the atmosphere was amazing. (April, 2017)
Henry (The Orielles) in Reading. Henry has a few signature moves when playing guitar, and for the whole tour I was trying to get the perfect picture of him, and that night I got this one. (April 2017)
The Orielles again in Reading. I really like this picture of the three of them, I feel like it truly represents them. (April 2017)
- by Ivan S.
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