By Andrew Bansal
The world of metal never ceases to surprise us. In addition to being treated with an endless variety of music, we also come across people who’re being creative in their own unique ways. Los Angeles-based photographer Alexandra Crockett is one such person. She has decided to put out a photobook titled ‘Metaldudes Cats Book’, which showcases exactly what the title suggests, metal dudes posing with their cats. It’s a one-of-a-kind blend of metal, kitties and dudes, and earlier today, I spoke to Alexandra about how this project was born, how it’s progressing and what to expect from it. She is running a campaign to raise money to publish this book, and a part of the sales will go to no-kill cat shelters, so read this fun conversation below for more details, and check out the Metaldudes Cats Book facebook page to participate and contribute.
First of all, we’ll start out with the basic idea behind your photo book. How did this idea come to you about doing this Metaldudes Cats book?
(Laughs) I guess at first it was kind of a casual idea. My friend and I were talking about it just because I know a lot of guys in the metal scene and they all seem to have cats. I had a bunch of pictures of them and my friend suggested this idea to me, and so I just went with it. And then I started thinking that this would be a really good opportunity to benefit some no-kill cat shelters since most of the people that I know adopt their pets from shelters. So it seemed like it would be a good opportunity to actually do something for the community. So that’s why I’m donating 40 per cent of the proceeds towards that.
Why exactly is it only about cats? Is it just your love for cats or do you somehow think metal is more related to cats than to any other animals?
Yeah (laughs), I kind of think that metal dudes like cats and punk dudes like dogs. That’s kind of what I think about it. I don’t know, I’ve just noticed that. I’ve been listening to metal for probably 18 years, and I’ve seen that metal guys have cats, or at least they like cats. I’ve always had a cat as well, so it was just about bringing it up and it felt like, ‘Oh yeah, everyone does have a cat in the metal scene.’
You talked about fundraising for the cat shelters and that’s a different thing, but weren’t you raising money to publish the book itself? How’s that going?
Yeah, I had an Indiegogo thing going and I raised a bunch of money for the publishing through that. I also do a lot of other kinds of creative work like handmade jewelry and stuff like that which also raises the money. I also did an LA benefit show, and I’m about to have a Portland show and also a Seattle one.
That’s awesome! Who exactly played your LA show? I assume it must have been friends of yours from the metal scene who kind of decided to help you out in raising funds for the book?
Yeah! It was actually a lot of people which are also in the book. I tried to keep at least some members of the bands that are playing my shows involved. So the LA show was Winterthrall, Nagual Sun, The Cauterized, Cobra Venom and Harassor.
I guess I sort of do. The full amount that I need is about 9000 dollars, and I think I have may be like 5500, I want to say. So it’s not completely there, but I could actually start with publishing as it is. It’s just that I’ve also spoken to a couple of people who’re kind of interested in helping me with the publishing, so I guess I’m holding off a little bit just to see where that goes. So I’m in the middle of everything. I want to make sure my benefit shows are over first, as I just applied to graduate school as well. So the timeline on everything that I’m doing is the same, which is absurd obviously, but kind of just taking things one step at a time.
In this book, what kind of metal dudes can people expect to see? Are they musicians or just random fans of metal?
It is mainly metal musicians. That’s definitely how it began. I would say everyone in the book has something interesting and cool going on, either visual artists, musicians, people who work in the crew, or stage building for big shows. I have a couple of people who do animal-related work as well, but everyone definitely has different dynamics. So it’s not all musicians but it is mainly musicians.
What kind of poses are they in? Are they actually posing with the cat or are there also some candid shots as well where they don’t really know that they’re being photographed?
(Laughs) Yeah, I took probably about 100-200 photos per person, so there was around 110-115 photo shoots that I did. So I have a lot of candid ones. I tried to make the ones I chose to use for the book to be the more portrait-type and as clear as possible because I’m sure you can imagine that cats do not want to just sit there and be photographed (laughs), so that’s why I took so many. It was just ridiculous. Lots of movement and struggling, you know. I actually had one photo shoot which was really hilarious because the person was getting bit by their cat the entire time, so I found one photo in which he was not getting bit by the cat, out of 150 (laughs). That’s the one I chose.
Yeah, I just one portrait per person that I photographed myself, and then I have between 350 and 375 submitted photos just from people who’ve sent them to me from around the world. So it’s kind of like a little bit of both. The portraits will be at the beginning, full-page, and then in the back I have a few photos per page of all the submissions I’ve gotten as well.
Are you still taking submissions or do you already have enough of those?
I’m kind of on the fence. I’m trying to keep it open as long as possible, but obviously at some point it has to stop. I mean, on the facebook, people can pretty much submit them for as long as they want. But I’m trying to push the cut-off date for a few more days. Essentially beyond that I can’t, because once the second and third benefit shows start happening, everything is going to come together and I have to make sure that my layout guy has all the stuff he needs to get it done.
I believe you also made some t-shirts for the artwork that you put out. Is that also doing well you? That must be helping a little bit with the fund raising.
Yeah, absolutely. Tom Denny did the artwork for it. He’s one of my friends in LA, and a really amazing artist. So I used his artwork and then Andy Anderson who’s also a friend in LA prints the shirts for me. I think those are really helpful too. People seem to want some sort of merch. I had zines for a while as well. A friend printed them for me, and now she’s moved to Arizona. I think she still has some which she does for zine fares, but I don’t sell them on the Etsy shop because it’s way too much stuff for me to do. But there have been some orders and those do help as well.
[Buy shirts here]
Is that artwork actually going to be the cover of the book, or does it only represent your project for the time being?
It is going to be the cover of the book and then I have the logo from Christophe Szpajdel, the ‘Lord of the Logos’ guy, also an amazing artist obviously. His logo will be on the side, and the image will be on the front.
Awesome. So, along with the press release that was sent to me regarding this book, I was also given a playlist of six songs. There’s a Skeletonwitch track, a Harassor track, and a few others. That was pretty cool. It made a good soundtrack for me to read through your press release. Are you also planning to put out a soundtrack like that for the people who buy the book?
Yeah! I actually have music submissions from a lot of the people I photographed, so I’m trying to get that together as well. I don’t know if it’ll come out at the exact same time as the book, but I’m definitely trying to get that done as much as possible. As I told you before, my computer is really old (laughs), so everything I do on it is kind of here and there, but I think I absolutely have enough for at least one CD if not two.
Yeah, I think it would be kind of cool. It’ll become more than just a book. It can become the ‘Metaldudes Cats Adventure Kit.’
(Laughs) Yeah, that’s a good idea.