MUSICIAN & PHOTOGRAPHER
MUSICIAN & PHOTOGRAPHER
We had the pleasure of spending the morning with Chris Maas, photographer, session musician and drummer for Mumford & Sons at his Hackney studio.
Chris's photography journey started when his friend and fellow musician Ted Dwane gave him a film camera, "my mates Mum's camera", when they were touring with Mumford & Sons in 2012. They would take a break from the music venues to explore the town's, cities and cultures taking photos and documenting life on the road. His deep love for film photography quickly developed from there. He's inspired by the likes of Don McCullen and photographers who work with their intuition and see the shot before they take it. He's now the proud owner of a Leica M6, his 'dream camera', suiting his voyeuristic approach to finding the perfect shot. He's a Leica ambassador and creates blogs for them, collaborating with Ted and other photographers, looking for interesting material to share. He's also had the odd commission from friends, his behind-the-scenes style of photography capturing honest moments, observing without interrupting.
"Rushing won't get you anywhere, experience teaches you to be more efficient with your time, to do things well".
The slow, precise process of film photography is an insight into his philosophy of life. Years of success and a life on the road have brought a stripping back in his way of doing things. On a mission to hone a simpler life for himself, he talks calmly about taking more time over things, always allowing moments for inventiveness and artistry.
"Whereas in my 20's I was trying to impress and constantly create, even my style of drumming in those days was to play faster and louder, my perspective has changed. I realised that to serve the music I need to keep it simply."
Chris took the lease for his Hackney Road studio in 2019, a space he shares with three other musicians. When they came across it, he couldnt belive his luck, "it's almost unheard of to find a space like this and keep it un-commercial" They've worked hard to create the space they have now, a place for all four of them to work without getting in each other's way, and to allow fror his traditional dark room printing. Working with other creatives is clearly a source of inspiration to him, collaborating a bit and bouncing ideas of each other. "I got into the industry because of the connections you make with others, you're in a room with someone and they start playing something which you join in with, it's a very simple, organic process".
We first met Chris through a mutual friend of ours, Michael Fox, another multi-talented guy. They have performed together as part of Michael & Michelle.
"Good music to me is always written in the room, it's the interaction between the artists, the producers, sound teams."
Back to his outfitting then....after years of wearing black, a "session musicians uniform, blending into the background", his enjoyment of finding clothing with "history and experience" is paramount. Like the food he buys, he looks at where clothing is made, its ethnicity, guiding him away from pieces that won't stand the test of time. He looks for clothes that have a story to tell, vintage items, classic pieces that will always have a place.
"We should try and buy less and buy better, for me it's important to know where things come from, where they're sourced, to know this puts a value on things".
You can check out Chris's portfolio on his website https://wwwchrismaas.co.uk and follow his photographic and musical journey on Instagram, you're sure to be inspired.