Here is DiS’ guide to musicians to follow on the social network du jour Instagram...
In its continual shift from an artform of the elite using their pinhole cameras to a SLR-carrying lens-lugging professional industry to party-friendly polaroids to terrible mobile phone photos, photography has continually undergone revolutions. Digital technology is now taking the humble snapshot to dizzying new heights, and there’s one service at the forefront of this that a lot of musicians are using.
If you don’t already use it, we’re sure you’re aware of popular photo-blogging social network Instagram. Possibly you know the name of it because Facebook bought it for a billion dollars. If not, basically it puts fancy filters on your smartphone pictures, and makes almost everything look about ten times more professional than it would without a filter (it can also add grainy degraded effects to make them look all vintage and Mumford & Sons-y). You then post your picture and those following you can see it. Bands absolutely love it, because it means those little glimpses behind the stage curtain can instantly be spread on their Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter. Some simply share a view on their world, others use it for competitions and some artists seem to be using it to share news and thoughts that are too long for tweets.
There’s a certain intimacy to Instagram that you don’t get on a lot of other networks. Perhaps it’s because you’re seeing the world through other people’s eyes (admittedly half the time with a filter that makes it seem like they’re wearing slightly scratched sunglasses), but maybe it’s more so because it’s a message from their mobile device to yours, so it feels far closer than something they posted when they got to a computer or worse, when their management/label approved it and uploaded it to their website. There’s seemingly no divide, it’s just you and the artist - you might as well have stowed way in the tour bus, only this way you don't need to travel for 19 hours a day and shower in a service station sink...
Anyway, DiS has spent some time exploring the Instagram network in search of musicians to follow (you can follow me as @seaninsound here and @DrownedinPhotos if you so wish. We also just signed up as @DrownedinSound, but mostly so no-one pretends to be us), and seeing as we couldn't find a decent guide, and because last week Instagram launched web profiles, here are a 10 accounts we recommend and 40 more musicians/bands we think you may want to follow:
1) Bon Iver @boniver
The band’s official account is nice enough, but Justin Vernon (@blobtower) bloody loves Instagram. He especially loves an Iphone app called Mirrorgram, that allows you to morph things in a kaleidoscopic manner. Here's a little selection of things he's posted recently:
2) Cat Power @afasm
Chan Marshall is never one to do things by halves. When she first joined Twitter she was the Queen of retweeting important news that wasn't really being reported by the mainstream media. She's taken to Instagram more than most musicians, offering rapid-fire glimpses of life on the campaign trail. There's a lot more that ends up on there too, including the sad news that her UK tour is off (which we'd presume, may also have been how the promoter found out about it, if tales of the legend that is Cat Power are anything to go by), because Chan mostly uses this as her blog. Oh, and she loves hashtags!
3) Frightened Rabbit @owljohn
Those charming Scottish lads know how to keep their fans close and usher their potential fans ever closer. Their Instagram photos that make it onto on their Twitter and Facebook has the usual bits from the road, but Scott (Frabbits singer and primary writer of the songs) uses his account in a personal way and occasionally shares bits of his artwork, including this, which will be the cover of their next album:
4) Liars @liarsliarsliars
In an interview with DiS a few weeks ago, they said:
…we weren’t interested in doing what is common, which is just to reveal standard information about the process like, ‘this is where we’re recording, this is where we’re sleeping, this is what we’re eating’ - the banal information. We were interested in bringing up ideas of disinformation and the idea of almost the natural way that people feel when they get information from the internet that it’s kind of somehow true, especially if it’s coming from a band about their work immediately then it’s assumed it’s the real thing. What we were interested in is seeing where that line can blur and making it a bit mysterious and involving their imagination more in the posting, rather than giving out these blocks of information.
Much like their YouTubes, Liars' Instagram adds to this perfectly. They also mix in some artful sweetness too, for good measure likes.
5) Grizzly Bear @edroste
On almost any site on the internet, you can pretty much guarantee that Grizzly Bear will be there, showing artists how it should be done. Ed Droste 'gets' the web because it seems he fundamentally understands what it means to be a fan - because he is one, do you remember that time he interviewed Phoenix for us? - whilst always being slightly in awe of the places they find themselves in. It's not unusual to get a little rush of goosebumps every now and then when glimpsing in on their
whirl world. His photography ain't bad neither. You can also follow his band mate: @drossenbro.
6) White Hinterland @csdienel
We were big fans of her previous album Kairos, and we've loved the photos she's posted to the WH Tumblr for a while. Casey got a great eye for a photo and she likes cats and architecture. Hopefully we can expect plenty of shots from around the globe whenever the new album appears.
7) Interpol @interpol_nyc
Amongst the photos, there are some lengthy-ish posts about their re-issues and little moments of history shared. Can imagine there will be a fair bit more when they return to the road.
8) Jessie Ware @JessieWare
Jessie Ware is having the greatest year of her life, and it's a joy to see her consistently excited stream of tweets. If you've ever wanted to live a semi-pop career vicariously, hop-on and use Instagram as your Jessie Ware goggles.
9) Metric @Metric_band
Ticket give aways, guessing games and photos of concert halls, Metric have a carefully planned stream of great photographs that offers a window into their world
10) Deftones @deftonesband
It's the Deftones! They share side of stage photos of ridiculously massive crowds. Good vibes. A fanboys dream.
Some of DiS' Favourite Bands (not really in any particular order!)
11) @fragrantworld - Yeasayer
13) @thisisBlocParty - also follow @russellblocparty and @gordionnaire
15) @kraussingaround - Alexis from Sleigh Bells
17) @destroyangels - Trent Reznor et al
20) @ntnl - The National
25) @swiftswift - Richard Swift, currently in @TheShins
25) @blanckmass (currently posting photos of cute koalas and kangaroos!)
28) @trts - Tortoise
29) @bradfordcox - Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, etc
33) @ibhorses - I Break Horses
39) @mutyakeishasioban - Original Sugababes
42) @ShawnCarter - Jay-Z
44) @kaiserchiefs - see also @curlywand and @rickontour
Misc Music Related
DiScuss: Who did we forget? Who else should we be following? Do you have a favourite photo or 'social media update' that you've seen this year?