Today is exactly 25 years to the day that I started a club night called Ramshackle. I got the name from an old Beck song and wanted to host a night that mixed indie, alternative music, with funk, hip hop and electronic bands like Faithless, The Chemical Brothers and Underworld.
The tagline Stompin’ Indie & Funky Shit was born.
It began life on 3rd May 1997 in a back room at Birmingham’s Sanctuary venue, now called The Institute. My good friend Carlton joined me as co-promoter. We had no idea what we’d just started! The main room was hosted by eclectic dance night Athletico, but Ramshackle quickly gained a reputation and moved into the main room.
I have so many amazing memories of those first years of the club, from having The Freestylers, Ozomatli or The Jungle Brothers playing live to having BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq as our monthly resident DJ.
The club continued to grow in popularity, with almost 2000 people attending every Saturday night, before we were poached by the newly opened Birmingham Academy in 2000.
At the Academy, we began inviting guest DJs and had the pleasure of having Kasabian, Ian Brown, Tim Burgess, Bloc Party, Snow Patrol, Happy Mondays, The Subways and more come and play.
Not long after we opened a second Ramshackle at Bristol Academy and that took off almost immediately. We added DJ Dan to help us run things in Bristol and soon had Zane Lowe join as a regular guest.
The Ramshackle flyers, designed by our good pal Steve Baker became collectables, featuring the Ramshackle characters that may or may not be based on real people!
In the years that followed, Ramshackle won awards for Best Club Night, became the UK’s biggest alternative night and we were even invited to DJ with Oasis at Wembley Stadium!
Oh, and remember our bar-b-q where we had Jarvis Cocker come and DJ? I remember him playing Waterfalls by TLC. Legend!
We made so many friends along the way and it was an incredible time in my life, filled with fantastic memories.
Years later, when I became a wedding photographer, I photographed a wedding of a couple who told me they met at Ramshackle. They named their top table after my club night. Amazing!
It’s hard to believe it’s already 25 years since it began. If you ever came to one of our nights, we hope you have some amazing memories.
I’m off to play Insomnia by Faithless very loud!
Much love x
25th Anniversary of Ramshackle May 3rd, 2022Steve Gerrard
Turns out I’ve been saying the term ISO wrong since I started taking photography seriously almost twenty years ago! Most photographers will know that the term represents “the numerical exposure index of a photographic film under the system adopted by the International Organization for Standardization, used to indicate the light sensitivity of the film’s emulsion” or its digital equivalent. Is it Eye-ess-oh or eye-soh? I literally just learned the correct way this year.
Watch the video below:
According to the International Organization for Standardization, the abbreviation for their name is ISO. On their website, they go on to explain that you should pronounce the abbreviation as a word: eye-soh and that the abbreviation and its pronunciation are based on the Greek root word for equal: isos.
Eye-soh or Ee-Soh
When the International Organization for Standardization was founded in London in 1946, The founders decided to use three official languages: English, French, and Russian. In English, the Organization is known as International Organization for Standardization; in French, Organisation internationale de normalisation; and, in Russian, Международная организация по стандартизации (Mezhdunarodnaya organizatsiya po standartizatsii). The Organization, therefore, notes that if they were to use an acronym or an initialism as an abbreviation, they would end up with three different versions: IOS in English, OIN in French, and MOC in Russian. So they instead settled on ISO as an abbreviation.
Because ‘International Organization for Standardization’ would have different acronyms in different languages (IOS in English, OIN in French for Organisation internationale de normalisation), our founders decided to give it the short form ISO. ISO is derived from the Greek isos, meaning equal. Whatever the country, whatever the language, we are always ISO.
Hence, the claim that ISO is pronounced eye-soh as an acronym (as a word), not spelled out as an initialism.
But who really cares? Whichever way you say it, most people involved with photography will know what you mean. Just don’t correct someone when they pronounce it “eye-soh”!
Probably my favourite event that I’ve attended for wedding photographers was the NineDots Gathering in London. The NineDots Gathering is an annual boutique conference for 150 like-minded wedding photographers in London every November founded in 2014. I think I described it as “an orgy of inspiration and intoxication” because the party is almost as important as the education. It’s so good!
So I was naturally more than pleased to be asked to be a guest on their popular DotCast podcast. And last month I chatted with Adam Johnson all about my photography, moving continents and how I apparently like to get stuff for free!
You can listen to the full interview on their site or on Spotify below.
Big thanks to Adam and the 9D crew for having me on the DotCast. This was a fun one.
You can also check out my interview with Junebug HERE if you like.
Listen to my interview on the NineDots Podcast January 4th, 2022Steve Gerrard
21st July 2000 is a date I’ll remember til the day I die. You could say that, in my mind, it’ll “live forever”.
It all began when Oasis’ PR company put out the word that they were looking for a DJ to warm up for the band and to DJ between the support bands, Happy Mondays and Doves. They asked a few people to offer an example playlist of what they might play, given the opportunity. I suspect a few DJ’s went for the standard indie disco set, but I avoided the obvious entirely, mixing Motown, funk and soul with a few indie remixes. I got the job!
I invited my good friend and fellow Ramshackle DJ, Carlton, to join me for the gig.
On the day itself, we were given VIP and access and set up at the side of the main stage. Not just any stage, Wembley Stadium. The same stage that hosted Live Aid. You’ve seen the movie Bohemian Rhapsody? THAT stage!!!
Thankfully the weather gods were on our side and it was a blistering July day and everyone was in fine spirits. We kept the tunes comin’ and threw in the occasional curveball. Josh Wink’s Higher State Of Consciousness got the whole arena dancing. And we stopped off at the office of Distinctive Records on the way to Wembley just so that I could play a brand new Hybrid remix of Future Sound Of London’s Papua New Guinea.
Moments before Oasis took the stage, I was the last person on stage before the band. The concert was released later on album and DVD under the name Familiar To Millions.
The show itself was perfection. Watching the band perform Live Forever and the whole of Wembley singing along gave me goosebumps.
After the gig, we got to hang out at the after-party along with Kate Moss, Jude Law, Rachel Hunter, half of Eastenders and the sisters from All Saints.
If I could go back and give a few words of advice to myself on that day, I certainly would. I had some amazing opportunities at that time and, although I certainly had an incredible few years, in hindsight I could’ve made some much better decisions. Still… don’t look back in anger, as one poet once said.
In the photo below, taken by Brian Robinson, that’s us in the bottom right-hand corner of the stage 🙂
Although nobody at Wembley that day was there because I was DJing, I still have people mention that they were there and they remember me playing a certain tune. For me, it will always be a day I know I can tell my grandkids about.
The PR company sent me a thank you not long after the concert, together with a cover of Familiar To Millions signed by Oasis. It’s still framed in my house.
20 Years Since I Warmed Up For Oasis at Wembley December 16th, 2020Steve Gerrard
July 17th 2007 everything changed. Evelyne and I went from being a couple to being Mom & Dad to a little baby that we named Elliott.
Since then we’ve watched him grow into a kind, smart, funny and sometimes annoying kid who loves football, video games and sushi. He’s also a great big brother to the two babies that followed, Isaac and Jonas.
And today that baby became a teenager. I know how amazing and transformative my teenage years were and I can’t wait to discover the person he becomes over the next few years.
For his 13th birthday, we are 8 hours from home in the wilds of Quebec. We went fishing, played games and we let Elliott choose the main meal. Sushi, obviously.
Happy Birthday Elliott. We all think you’re pretty damn cool. And we love you more than you love video games xxx
I’ve been a professional photographer since before my kids were born. Actually I started my business in 2007 which was the same year my eldest was born. It was also the year Evelyne & I got married. Twice!
So, our kids have grown up with photography, regularly having their Dad chasing them around with a camera. And often missing their Dad on weekends while he’s off shooting a wedding, sometimes on the other side of the world.
But I’ve never stopped to ask them what they think about my career, what kind of photos they like of themselves, or whether they may even want to be a pro photographer when they’re older. Until now. And I decided it’d be something worth capturing on video, even if it was just on my iPhone.
So, I present to you The Gerrard Boys on Photography. Enjoy!
Family photo by Eric Brisson. Photo of the boys by Drew Willingham.
The Gerrard Boys Talk Photography April 23rd, 2020Steve Gerrard
It’s always an honour to be considered any kind of authority on photography by your peers which is why I never take it for granted when I’m invited to speak at a workshop or be interviewed for a podcast. So when the guys from the excellent This Is Reportage site asked if I’d like to judge the This Is Reportage Awards, I was again somewhat humbled.
Reportage wedding photography is, in my opinion, the hardest part of wedding photography to excel at. There are so many elements that need to come together to make a truly great reportage photo from a wedding. Timing, composition, light, emotion, humour…. when all these things collide in a split second for a photographer, it’s quite remarkable. There’s certainly an element of luck involved, but a big part of being a great wedding photographer is being prepared for when luck is on your side.
Judging the awards took many hours, looking through images and wedding stories. And the standard was surprisingly high. There were some images that I honestly didn’t think should have been submitted but overall, it was really difficult to choose the winners.
I’d like to thank Alan Law for trusting me for the job. You can see the winning images HERE
Judging the This Is Reportage Awards March 27th, 2020Steve Gerrard
So every year I realise I take this task WAY too seriously and that hardly anyone really cares, but making a list of my favourite album releases of the year is a challenge I set myself at the end of December, partly cos I love sharing my favourite music with others, hence my previous career.
The second reason I like to make a list of favourite albums is that it forces me to also check out other End Of Year lists in case I missed anything that made those lists. I definitely have a “fear of missing out” condition! I trawled through tons of Year-End lists and listened to pretty much everything I hadn’t already heard. And I discovered some real undiscovered gems.
Working at home so much means I listen to a LOT of music of all genres. Except ska! A lot of albums I’ll listen to once but the ones I really like get added to my Roon library. I guess most people don’t know what Roon is still but I absolutely love it and it’s what I use to play most of my music. I’m using it as I’m typing out this post in fact.
Anyway, if you’re reading this, I guess you may be interested in what I made of the albums released in 2019. My absolute favourite release came out in August. Tool’s first album in 13 years. On the morning of release, I turned all my devices off and indulged myself, listening… properly listening… to the album in full. And it blew me away. I know it seemed to divide fans. Some called it a masterpiece, others said it was boring. For me, it requires the listener’s full attention. It’s not a background album. It also needs a good sound system or quality headphones to be enjoyed fully.
My music tastes are extremely varied and although I love Michael Kiwanuka, The National, Beck, Billie Eilish and Lucy Rose, I also love a lot of extremely heavy bands. Combining all those artists would be a bit weird I think so I have split my lists, and accompanying playlists, into the heavy and non-heavy categories. Tool falls somewhere between the two really but they are nowhere near as heavy as some of the bands in the Heavy list. I’m rambling…. so here goes.
MY FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2019 (MINUS THE HEAVY STUFF)
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
2. Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
3. The National – I Am Easy To Find
4. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
5. Noah Gunderson – Lover
6. Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow
7. Cage The Elephant – Social Cues
8. Patrick Watson – Wave
9. Silversun Pickups – Widow’s Weeds
10. Beck – Hyperspace
11. Lucy Rose – No Words Left
12. Cultdreams – Things That Hurt
12. The Black Keys – Let’s Rock
13. Fontaines DC – Dogrel
14. Little Simz – GREY Area
15. Wrest – Coward Of Us All
16. Loyle Carner – Not Waving, But Drowning
17. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
18. Faye Webster – Atlanta Millionaires Club
19. FKA Twigs – Magdalene
20. Local Natives – Violet Street
21. Refused – War Songs
22. Elbow – Giants Of All Sizes
23. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
24. Dave – Psychodrama
25. Vampire Weekend – Father Of The Bride
26. Chelsea Wolfe – Birth Of Violence
27. The Paper Kites – On The Corner Where You Live
28. Glen Hansard – This Wild Willing
29. Caroline Spence – Mint Condition
30. Jordan Rakei – Origin
You can listen to my fave songs of 2019 on Spotify here. Some are just singles, some are album tracks. Enjoy!
The Tidal version. I use Tidal much more than Spotify because of the sound quality.
I really hope you guys find something you love that maybe you haven’t heard before…
And now for the heavy stuff…
This list includes a lot of bands I only discovered in 2019 as well as one of my all-time fave bands, Norma Jean. The list varies from metallic hardcore to black metal, deathcore and… Alcest 🙂
MY FAVOURITE ALBUMS OF 2019
1. Throes – In The Hands Of An Angry God
2. Norma Jean – All Hail
3. Thy Art Is Murder – Human Target
4. Panzerfaust – The Suns of Perdition – Chapter I: War, Horrid War
5. Venom Prison – Samsara
6. Misþyrming – Algleymi
7. SECT – Blood Of The Beasts
8. Ossuaire – Premiers Chants/Derniers Chants
9. Full Of Hell – Weeping Choir
10. Sūrya – Solastalgia
11. Fit For An Autopsy – The Sea of Tragic Beasts
12. Varials – In Darkness
13. Friendship – Undercurrent
14. Implore – Alienated Despair
15. HATE – Auric Gates Of Veles
16. Aoratos – Gods Without Name
17. Fuming Mouth – The Grand Descent
18. Ithaca – The Language Of Injury
19. Worsen – Cursed To Witness Life
20. Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond The Dark
21. SeeYouSpaceCowboy – The Correlation Between Entrance and Exit Wounds
22. Alcest – Spiritual Instinct
23. Whitechapel – The Valley
24. Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas
25. Gatecreeper – Deserted
26. Mastiff – Plague
27. Employed To Serve – Eternal Forward Motion
28. After The Burial – Evergreen
29. Despised Icon – Purgatory
30. This Gift Is A Curse – A Throne Of Ash
Turn the volume up!
And if you’re not really familiar with this type of music, maybe have a listen anyway. It may not be what you expect. Or it may be worse. You have been warned!
And finally, my Top 15 concerts of 2019. I told you I had varied tastes!
1. The National @ Place Des Arts
2. Nails @ Club Soda
3. Fontaines D.C. @ Osheaga
4. Weezer + Pixies @ Bell Centre
5. Billie Eilish @ Place Bell
6. The Bronx @ Foufs
7. Misþyrming @ Messe Des Morts
8. Thy Art Is Murder @ MTelus
9. Fever 333 @ Place Bell
10. Chelsea Wolfe @ Le National
11. Jenny Lewis @ l’Astral
12. Arkells @ Mtelus
13. Lingua Ignota @ La Sala Rossa
14. Deafheaven @ Corona Theatre
15. Maggie Rogers @ Mtelus
Here’s to another 12 months of amazing music. Look after your hearing. Thanks for reading.
My Favourite Music of 2019 January 11th, 2020Steve Gerrard