Matthew Grant Anson
Photographer: Matthew Grant Anson
Site: Misplaced Lens Cap
Based in: Los Angeles
I chose this as my first photo because it’s from the first show I ever shot. I didn’t know anything about cameras back then, so I just took a camera from my college newspaper and tried explaining what I thought the light would be like to an editor who then set the settings. At the time deafheaven was really smalltime – they were on the verge of hitting it big, but at that moment they were playing to something like eight people on a Sunday at a rinky dink venue in the Valley. I like this picture because it’s at a crossroads for me personally and for the band: me as I’m discovering photography and music photography in particular, and them in that within a year they’d be doing their first European tour and would soon become darlings of the critical underground.
This photo was taken at a house show in South Central. I think it embodies just how stagnated (in a good way) music culture can be, especially in LA: you’ve got the tall can, leather jacket, Converse shoes, Dan Lilker hair…to me it’s the total package of 1980s thrasher. Fun fact from this show: afterwards a friend and I walked around the area, and I chatted up a hooker about her life while my friend gave her “co-worker” a piggy-back ride down Figueroa.
This was taken in Copenhagen, Denmark in fall of 2011 when I studied abroad there. I was a douche bag anti-flash purist at the time (and to a degree still am), so I relied a lot on whatever light was available. This was combined with the fact that the Nikon I had then wasn’t that great at auto-focusing, so the combination of using manual focus without flash meant I was taking several hundred photos in the hopes that a) it’d be in focus b) the lights would be in a position to actually illuminate the subject at that moment and c) something interesting was happening worthy of photographing. Combine that with getting crushed into the stage by the Danish pit of crusties, and it was just a combination of luck and trial and error and perseverance. Sometimes it works out though, and I’m proud of this picture.
This photo was also taken in Copenhagen, and it’s of my dear dear dear friend Anders Andersen with a woman from a Swedish crust band whose names escapes me. The photo was taken in a place called Ungdomshuset – Danish for “the youth house” – which is a government provided, punk-run venue in CPH that hosts extreme music shows. Anders took me under his wing after I met him at Ungdomshuset, and he taught me a lot about Copenhagen/Euro punk and the way of life. I am forever indebted to him, so this picture has a lot of sentimental value to me.
This photo, of French shoegaze/blackish metal band Alcest, was taken back in April of this year, and the process of taking it is perhaps more interesting than the actual picture. Their show was at a 21+ venue in Long Beach, and I was only 20 at the time. I wasn’t going to pass up seeing Alcest, however, so I borrowed my then-roommate’s ID and went with ten dollars in my pocket with the hopes that I’d get into the show. It sounds like it’d be an easy thing, but the problem was that my roommate was an Asian guy from Hawaii, while I am very much your typical white boy. Luckily the ruse worked and I experienced Alcest’s soundscapes in all their reverb dripping glory. Highlight from that show: the random girl next to me crying midway through their set.
I met Peter at a house show in East LA. I was with a friend in the backyard of the house, and while we were walking around we heard someone drunkenly repeat “he hit him with a hammer” over and over. We found Peter lying on the ground in a Despise You shirt with an empty 40, and we convinced him to lead us to a taco truck. On the way there (when he wasn’t stopping every 15 feet because his leg was hurt from having dropped a keg on it), he explained to us the story of how one person he knew killed his friend by hitting in the head with a hammer, then put the body in a dumpster before fleeing for Las Vegas. In other news, the tacos were delicious.
I took this back in June of this year when I saw 1349 play, and the dead carcass of a cat I found on my front lawn that morning seemed like an appropriate homecoming for a Norwegian black metal band. Well, it wasn’t a full carcass: it was actually just two dismembered legs of an orange tabby cat, and in between them was a collar. Its name was Boots. It was probably killed by a coyote that then decided my front lawn would be a nice place to leave behind some bloodied legs, and every time I look at this photo I can’t help but see two fly-covered cat legs.