I met John Heiks Paul from Hey Listen through a fan group for the podcast network Maximum Fun (in case you haven’t caught on to the fact that I’m a big ol’ nerd, here’s your proof). His band was starting to pick up more shows and he wanted some photos to put on their Facebook page and website to give those places a little more legitimacy.
“It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this.”
Hey Listen specializes in jazz and funk reinterpretations of music from video games like Legend of Zelda (from which they got their name), Super Mario, and Sonic the Hedgehog. So, establishing nerd cred was the direction we decided to move towards. We set up a scene in the dining room of John’s house in West Nashville with the goal of getting everyone in same same shot: playing N64, playing cards, hanging out.
It was a small room, so we had to do our best to squeeze everyone onto one side without it looking too cramped. These photos were shot as wide as possible at 24mm and then touched up to reduce lens distortion.
The other side of this coin was to not communicate self-seriousness with the band. They’re serious musicians, but Hey Listen is a project that’s meant to be fun. We made sure to keep the band’s instruments in the shot, including a stand-up bass and a mandolin, but the focus was on the fun—not on the serious musicianship.
Ultimately, I think we got some shots that worked well (even though you can kinda tell that the N64 definitely is not plugged in, despite John’s acting).