First of all, my name’s not Ted. There was once a pretty good reason for naming the site that way, but it kind of went sideways in a hurry and by then it was too late to change it back. The amount of people in Sydney who think my name’s Ted is pretty funny, and I’ve stopped correcting them now. I kind of like the semi-anonymity.
I started this particular thing back in 2014 because it’s basically what I’ve been doing for about a hundred years in different shapes and forms, in London, in Scotland, and now here in sunny Sydney. I started off writing about bands in fanzines, then for websites and magazines, then filming them doing live sessions, but now I basically just shoot live shows.
I’m not chasing the ‘big’ bands though. I don’t find it interesting going to gigs at stadiums, or even at decent-sized rooms anymore. I’ve done plenty of that. I’m not such a twit that I think bands get worse as they get bigger – it’s just that I have more fun shooting at a venue the size of my hat, where I can run into the band afterwards, where I don’t need to have a photo pass, where I don’t need to give a toss about ‘firstthreesongsonlynoflash’ and all that. It’s more personal, it’s sweatier, it’s closer to the action. It’s also usually a lot more raucous.
I’m also not in this for any money either. I actually have a pretty decent Day Job that I really like, this is my way of putting something back into a scene that I’ve taken so much from. I pay for every single show I go to, I spend money behind the bar, and I’ll try and buy merch whenever I really like the bands. I think I’m also buying enough tikka rolls from the Indian place near me to put their kids through college. I reckon it costs me about five grand a year, plus about five or six hundred hours a year of work to keep this thing going.
It’s worth it though. Sydney isn’t exactly renowned for its musical scene, but I’ve been blown away at how much fun it is, how brilliant the bands are, and what a generally friendly and smart scene it is here. With the rise of #KeepSydneyOpen as a hotter and hotter issue, it’s more important than ever that we all – the discerning music fan – get out to the exactly the types of venues I’m usually lurking in. Not because of the usual sanctimonious “support your scene” bullshit, but simply because it’s just bloody good fun. The more of you that go, the more fun there is in the world – and that’s a thing worth doing.
I do it because I wanted a project that would capture the action in the smaller venues of the city. These venues are the hearts and lungs of music in the city, and I wanted to record that. Since 2014 I’ve shot literally hundreds of sets, and posted thousands of photos. Sometimes I’ve been in the middle of a moshing frenzy, sometimes I’ve been the only punter there – I’ve loved it all.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from it, it’s how annoying it gets when people – bands, fans, anyone – describe bands who play in these venues as “unsigned”, “local”, or “small”. Fuck that. If you’re playing music, you’re in a damn band, and that’s it. I saw Graham Coxon play once – who I adore – and it was “meh”. I’ve seen bands from Sydney play to the barman, me and the other bands on the bill and it’s been up there with the best sets I’ve seen. Let’s stop apologising for not having millions of adoring fans, and let’s start celebrating what we’re part of instead – a thriving, pounding, pulsating underground.
Anyway, I hope you like the site. You can follow me on all the usual stuff (links are up top), but it’d be really cool to see you at a show. If you’re at The Brighton Up Bar, or The Oxford Art Factory, or Frankie’s, or Newtown Social Club, or The Record Crate, or The Hideaway Bar, or any of the great little rooms in Sydney, and you see a lanky scruffbag down the front semi-drunkenly trying to change a lens, or propping up the bar between sets trying to edit photos on a battered old iPad mini, come say hi.
I won’t even mind if you call me Ted.
See you down the front.