Collaborating on a shared idea can sometimes be tough but when you have a great concept and people who are willing to jump onboard, the project becomes quite inspirational to say the least. Balance a fantastic book about the European Hardcore scene is a project that I have found extremely interesting as it has an organic feel to it with people from different walks of life coming together to achieve something extraordinary.
Borne out of the American punk scene of the late 1970s, hardcore music raged through the 1980s, spreading to towns and cities across the globe. The hardcore network spans all of Europe, and Balance visits every major node of it, opening the doors of the bars and dives that host Europe’s hardcore bands. Capturing the chaos of the mosh pit, the monotony of the office, and the sheer energy of the music, Balance pays homage to the bands, promoters, designers, and supporters who have made the decision to live a hardcore life.
Balance: European Hardcore features striking photography of shows and portraits of influential musicians. Alongside these images, the authors provide insights into the informal rules that give order to the international movement—for example, all lyrics are written and performed in English—allowing readers an insider’s perspective on the enduring but underdocumented music scene.
Balance focuses on the current European scene, documenting the lives of musicians who strike a balance between their day jobs and this vital musical force. From tattooists in Portugal to miners in Poland, Balance uncovers the twin lives of those working to support their passion. Hardcore has always been more than just music and although the performers and fans across the continent speak different languages and live in different places, they are tied to each other through a communal music scene that transcends borders.
Sophia Schorr-Kon an extremely freelance photographer and a friend that I admire greatly explains 'The journey that rolled out before us was a tough one, mostly self-funded and self directed. It took us to barren industrial estates in Germany, freezing train platforms in Poland, tarantula infested corners of France all tied together with an unglamorous schedule of Budget air travel. But in amongst the testing trips we were met with wonderful people from all over the scene who were open and candid with us about their passion and who were willing to open up their lives and allow us to be a part of it for a few days. Honesty and drive were present in every musician we met and I was inspired and bowled over at the determination and positive force there is around this music. I think that’s what kept me going on all of those days when I thought I must be crazy for taking on this project'.
Tom Barry the master behind this idea is the drummer for London hardcore band Kartel and has been a fixture of the city's hardcore music scene since the 1990s. He began covering alternative and underground music as a staff writer with Big Cheese magazine before moving into youth work and continuing to contribute to community-focused publications. His writing has covered a variety of subjects, from interviews with Slayer to the content of local school meals.
Tom explains that 'the people who make up the scene are Balance’s focus because they are the scene. Strangers fed us, housed us, and treated us as anybody in the hardcore scene would treat one another. The European hardcore network made this possible and Balance is a tribute to the musicians, designers, promoters, DIY labels, artists, and supporters that make the scene what it is'.
Balance is published by Mark Batty Publisher (markbattypublisher.com) is an independent publisher dedicated to making distinctive books on the visual art of communicating, showcasing the visual power and innovation of contemporary culture in all of its varied poses. Today, the visual comes at us from more places than ever, and its dissemination is faster and more advanced every year. Books from Mark Batty Publisher capture this acceleration on the pages of every book. Affordable, well designed, thoughtfully created, and produced to last, MBP books are artful products that readers want to hold onto forever.
For more info head to http://www.amazon.co.uk/Balance-European-Hardcore-Tom-Barry/dp/1935613367