Mel Martin, 3 bands on the road, & B-Roll film
Mel Martin on tour with Hate Drugs, Arms Akimbo and Derek Ted
Mel Martin went on tour for two weeks with three bands, came back, sent us six rolls of film and wrote this. I got a bit lost in her email (in the best way possible), lost in how she talked about the late nights and fucked up sleep schedule and blood-stained motels and friendships like family made overnight. At the very heart of Pure Nowhere is a love, a soul-crushing love for the taste of music, and the experience of tour. We think it’s the most magical thing in the world. It’s nice to hear someone talk about how gritty it can be, too. So, here’s Mel, on everything she learned as a friend and photographer to three bands on the road.
We’re driving back. Making the last of a 20 hour drive. This was my first time touring with a band. 2 weeks of constant commotion. Here’s what I learnt.
Go with the flow. Things will change, things will happen. The most important lesson I learned this tour was to just go with the flow. Don’t let much bother you, and take every day, every hour, as it is. Don’t overthink, don’t worry. Multiple times our housing fell through. The majority of the time we weren’t sure where we were staying. We just went through the day enjoying it. For a few nights, we ended up getting Airbnb’s and having 5+ bands stay with us. Those were the absolute best nights of my life. Then there were other nights where we slept in Hate Drugs van, ‘cause our housing fell through. You just have to go with it. You might have to walk a few miles, not sleep for a few hours, but I promise that things will work out. You will love this experience. It makes you a better person.
Don’t expect anything. You’re not gonna get much sleep. You think you’re gonna lose weight? Well, ya not. We rarely slept, and if we did, it was on floors or shared beds with 3 or more people. You eat junk food and fast food constantly. I brought 3 books to read on this tour and didn’t touch any of them even once. The time you do have to yourself, you’re gonna wanna sleep or just sit in silence. The shows are gonna be constantly different. You could be at an amazing venue with the perfect lights, then the next night the polar opposite. You genuinely don’t know. Don’t expect what you see with these crazy-famous bands and artists. We stayed in some sketchy inns; some had cockroaches and others had blood on the floor. Most importantly, don’t expect everyone to be on. What I mean by this, is not everyone is gonna be happy all the time. Learn to be ok with the silence. Everyone goes through life on the road differently.
This brings me to my next topic. Focus on yourself. I realised very early on that I need to be alone sometimes. I’ll go skateboard. I’ll go on a run or just even walk around. It’s ok to take the time to yourself and just chill. It’ll actually fix a lot of problems and keep the tour going smoothly. Talk things out - that's a huge thing. When you’re on tour you’re with these people almost 100% of the time. If there’s an issue, talk it out. It’ll help, I promise. Everyone tells you that but you genuinely don’t figure that out till you need to.
These people will become your family and you will create the most amazing friendships with them. That’s the most beautiful thing about tour; the people I met. The memories. We spent nights upon nights together. The majority of what you do is drink. It’s a lot of drinking. But man, those memories. There were nights where we would just stay up doing tattoos, painting nails, and talking. I wish I could put into words what we did, what we talked about. It would be nice if I could remember it all but you simply don’t. At one point, we had around 20 people in the BAM house and all you could smell was shoes and beer. We would be up till 4am and wake up around noon. That’s your sleep schedule. Just go with it. You’re gonna miss it when you’re home. You really start to learn about these people, in a completely different way. It’s cool because you see these people perform and see how they are on and off stage. It’s something very beautiful. You see the passion. The friendships that these bands have with each other. They support each other and we all go hard for each others sets.
Now onto the photography side of things. When you’re shooting so many shows, I like to change things up. Try different angles and different styles. It can get repetitive but always stay positive. I really worked on my videography this tour and tried to grow my skills there. The other thing you have to learn is what’s your best editing process. You have shows almost everyday, and you need a quick turnover time. I created presets for each set and style, which made my work life so much easier.
Tour is fun. It’s an experience that’s so unique. All I can say is take care of yourself. It may get hard and sometimes you just need to cry.
Just know it’s ok. It will be ok.