Brian: On DC Music Rocks, we're shining a spotlight on the great songs and incredible people behind the DC region's local music scene. Josh Brick is a local DMV area photographer with a focus on live music. He's been active since early 2013 and has been building a reputation since then as a supporter of the DC music scene. He's an experienced graphic designer and photographer. He earned a degree in media arts and design from James Madison University in 2006, with a focus on print journalism. Photography has always been one of his interests and he has been able to combine his love of music and photographs by building a collection of extensive concert captures.
In addition to concert photography, he also has experience with of course weddings, engagement photos, landscapes and portraits. The man is a photographer of all things. He loves the live music though. I've been following his work for several years now. It just, great. I appreciate all those good concert photos, especially from some of the other local bands. A lot of the bands know this guy. It's a treat to actually get to share him with you now, because he's the man behind the scene, that doesn't get the spotlight. I love we're giving you the spotlight now, man. Josh, thanks for being here.
Josh: Thank you. I very much appreciate it and excited to be here.
Brian: Absolutely. Now, talk about how did you get into photography? Where did that start?
Josh: It was always an interest of mine back in high school and in college, but I just never, it was basically just a hobby. I never had real equipment or basically a DSLR camera. As I mentioned before, I was given one as a gift and then it just took off from there. I've been going to shows since I can remember, and then I just thought that well, when I see something that's incredible, I thought I have to document this. I have to show people. If you say to someone, "Hey. I went to a great show last night." They don't really think anything of that. If you share with them a photo and say, "Hey check this out. Look at this." In an instant they can get a much better appreciation for what the event was like.
Brian: That's so true. At what point did you decide that you wanted to do, continue to do more and more with this. A lot of people have passions for photography but for you, you've kind of taken it to another level. There is a social media presence and a website.
Josh: Yeah at first I didn't decide, okay I'm going to be a concert photographer. It just, I got the bug and I just was going to see shows and I just at that point my goal was just to keep shooting more shows and to see as much music as I could. Then, after I don't know six months to a year, it started building and I thought, okay this could actually be something. That was kind of the beginning of it I guess. It was really the love for music first, and then kind of joining the photography with it. It's been great.
Brian: Oh man. Well, I love that you discovered it and I love that you stuck with it. It's if you go back in time and you look back in history at the shots you've done. I can also see the progression of you as a photographer, which has also been amazing to see how it's evolved man.
Josh: Thank you.
Brian: What's your DC region connection? It said James Madison University in the bio. You're from here? How did you get to DC?
Josh: Grew up in Springfield, Virginia.
Brian: Get out of here, yeah? Springfield, alright.
Josh: Robert E. Lee High School and Springfield Mall back in the day. I'm still here.
Brian: Yeah. Fantastic. Where are you now? What part of the city?
Josh: I am right down the street from this studio actually in Arlington, so near Courthouse.
Josh: It's a great place to be.
Brian: Absolutely. Now, when you're going all over the city then. Do you tend to concentrate more on Arlington shows? Talk about the different venues and the different places you go.
Josh: Sure. I definitely have an interest in local music and nationally touring acts.
Josh: I just, if something strikes me, if I think a band is good and it's great music, then I'll follow that. Nothing else really comes in to play. It's always about the music first. Over the years, I've just been able to build relationships with local venues. As I've mentioned before, Gypsie Sally's is one of my favorite clubs, since that opened almost four years ago. It's kind of the same time I was starting, is when that club opened.
Josh: I'm there all the time. Also, I frequent The Hamilton downtown, which is, they have phenomenal acts there. That's just a great room for music, state of the art, stage projection and sound. Other places like Iota just down the street from here. It's a blessing to be able to essentially walk from my apartment over and catch a show whenever I want.
Josh: I can't complain about that.
Brian: That's amazing man. It's been a treat. It really looks like you've kind of shot just about every club in the scene pretty much.
Josh: Yeah, mostly. There's still some I need to get.
Brian: Do you have like a bucket list of places you haven't been yet?
Josh: Definitely, you mean in DC?
Brian: Yeah. Venues you haven't shot yet?
Josh: Probably. I mean, I've shot 930 Club a bunch and that is an experience that's kind of different than a smaller club.
Brian: How so?
Josh: Well, it's just everything is bigger, better, louder, pretty much.
Brian: Sounds like a tag line for a venue, bigger, better, louder. Yep, that's a 930 Club t-shirt right there. You heard it here first guys. That's amazing.
Josh: Bigger, better, louder. When you shoot artists there, they really look like rock stars. It just looks like just with the lights and the state and the fog and whatnot, when you take a shot there, it's like okay. I can really make this band look good.
Brian: Wow. That's cool. Alright. What about you on the personal side? You do a lot of photography. When you get away from that, what else is there to Josh?
Josh: Well, there's a lot of photography like you said. You know, I grew up doing graphic design, which is what a part of my profession, which I was able to basically combine those two things because at the end of the day, photos are graphics. I'm able to kind of play with that in terms of marketing and things like that, and pushing out music that I love. Other than that, I mean I'm just essentially a music fan at my core. That's what started it all is just I love music. I love finding other people that love music. If there's that bond, then we can really get along.
Brian: That's cool. Now, you can't get away that easy. Are you a Netflix guy? Are you a gym rat? Are you, everybody seems to have little things. Are you a member of a book club?
Josh: I am not. I am not a member of a book club. There are other things. I mean, I'm obsessed with basketball and tennis as well.
Josh: Those are sports I'm dedicated-
Brian: You mean go watch them, go play them?
Josh: Watch them, play them, just everything about those two sports gets me going every time. I played tennis in high school and my dad taught me how to play basketball as a kid. I just keep that going and so that's kind of a good escape from always being behind the lens.
Brian: Yeah. Absolutely.
Josh: I will say that one of my dreams is I love to shoot sports photography as well, whether it be the Washington Wizards for example.
Brian: Oh Wizards? A Wizard photographer.
Josh: I want to have that job.
Brian: Being a Wizards fan is sometimes a thankless thing.
Josh: We've suffered for years.
Brian: Have you been a fan for years I take it?
Josh: Since the Bullet days.
Brian: No way. All the way back?
Josh: All the way back.
Brian: Oh man, we're going back. I love it. Cool. Alright, now, talk about memories you have in the scene. Are there moments that stick out in your photography time that are more memorable than others? What sticks out to you?
Josh: Oh absolutely. For example, the first time that I was actually compensated for shooting[inaudible 00:08:36].
Brian: That would be a success moment.
Josh: That was, I got to give a shout out to Soul Rooots who's a great local guitar player and singer.
Brian: Yeah, yes. We jam to him. Yeah.
Josh: It literally was that first connection. I don't remember how it happened, but he reached out. He was playing the State Theater. It was a pretty big gig. He was opening for Shamika Copeland actually, I think. Anyway, I've had that. I've been friends with him ever since. I mean, I've supported him and his music and he still will call me up, any given day and say "Hey can you come shoot this gig?" That was definitely a memory that kind of boosted it all is that I got paid for work.
Brian: Nice. You got paid for one. What ever memories come to mind?
Josh: Well, one that was pretty recent was over, maybe about a month ago, the final Iota jam.
Josh: Which was-
Brian: For those people who don't know what you mean when you say final Iota jam, what is that mean?
Josh: I guess a little over a year ago, Gordon Sterling and Sean Godfrey, Gordon being [inaudible 00:09:47], Sean has his own studio, Blue Hippo Recordings in Centerville. They decided that they were going to start a jam. It's been done before.
Josh: There was something different about the way they did it. They had exactly a one year run at Iota, every single Tuesday, and out of 52 weeks, they only missed one week. They did 51 out of 52 weeks straight basically. The final one occurred last month sometime and it was just a huge blowout. I mean, I think Sean said there was 300 people. It was a Tuesday night.
Brian: A Tuesday night.
Josh: Tuesday night.
Josh: It was packed.
Brian: What a crowd.
Josh: That was definitely an unforgettable night for many people in many different ways. It was emotional. It was fun. Everybody was happy and it was fantastic.
Brian: That's awesome. Now, what about, okay. The one question that I always love to ask in all my interviews is, if you could offer one piece of advice, what would it be?
Josh: Oh that's a great question. I mean, I would say that you need to. The piece of advice that I would give is that to respect your craft and to respect your colleagues. If you do those things, you're probably have a good shot at success, because I mean the craft, whether, I'm a photographer but there's musicians. I can tell when they respect their craft, when they're true.
Brian: What do you mean when you say respect their craft? What do you mean?
Josh: Just basically become completely immersed in what you're doing. For me, I'm not playing instruments. I'm taking a photo. I didn't do it just to do it. I did it because I was drawn to it and it basically chose me at that point. I surrendered to the pull of needing to see live music and document it. When I see certain musicians and I watch them play and I watch them pour their hearts out. I can tell, this is a true musician. I think, it goes for everything. That's respect your craft. Respect your colleagues. I mean, to me, music isn't a competition. That's what gets lost a lot of times because bands want to make it. You want whatever that means. I don't even know. If you support your colleagues, then that's going to help you along the way. There's definitely other photographers that I love and respect and so I try to show that all the time.
Brian: Wow. I appreciate that. That's some profound advice. I like that Josh. Alright. For those folks who want to find out more about you and follow what you're doing, where do they go?
Josh: Facebook would be Josh Brick Graphics, three words, pretty simple. Instagram I'm Josh Brick Graphics, same thing. Also, www.joshbrickgraphics.com.
Josh: I'm also on Twitter @brickjp, B-R-I-C-K-J-P. There's plenty of ways to find me.
Brian: There it is, plenty of ways. Is there one that some people prefer Instagram or Facebook or Twitter? Do you lean one way or the other?
Josh: I mean, I'm pretty much Instagram and Facebook are probably my two favorite. Just reach out to me. I can provide any photo from the archive that you might be interested in.
Brian: Nice. Archives. You've got access to the archives listeners. That's amazing.