Hilltop Hoods, jmag Cover, March ’09

The brief for this cover shoot for jmag was the Hilltop Hoodsbreaking all conceived notions of the Aussie hip hop industry” by creating their own record label (Golden Era) and at the same time releasing their latest album “State of the Art“.

The shoot was planned at Suffa’s place in the hills (where else?) and after meeting the band, their manager Dylan and Jenny Valentish (editor, jmag) we went into Suffa’s studio and I set my lights up to get the shot.

We initially had ideas of trying to incorporate a cool mural that a mate had painted on the wall of their studio, but the only way to get the angle was to have the guys laying on their back with crooked necks. We played around with a bunch of other ideas under Jenny’s direction, then she took a step outside and let me loose with the guys and we got some pretty good shots that we were all happy with.

From Suffa’s studio we went to Debris’ house for a BBQ and the opportunity for me to shoot some more chilled shots of the guys. A bunch of other bands had rocked up for the night, Funkoars, Briggs, M-Phazes, Vents and Pharoahe Monch and I set up my two speedlites, had a few beers and got some great candid shots to be used within the feature.

Once all the images were back at jmag a better idea of having the guys actually physically breaking vinyl records in the shot was put to the table.

We would have to reshoot obviously.

The guys loved the idea and I was asked to source some sketchy old vinyl (hello cashies!) as there was no way they were snapping any in their collection! A shoot was booked in for my studio using white background.

Snapping vinyl is pretty hard! Capturing the exact moment it snaps is also pretty damn hard! This time I was alone with the guys to shoot and direct as Jenny couldn’t make it from Melb and neither could Dylan, so we got into my studio, did the shots and were out in 1/2 an hour, happy we had a cover shot in the mix.

The image chosen for the cover is easily the best of the shoot and everyone was stoked on the final product.