“If all my favourite memories live on the cloud, it’s going to be grim when I forget my password”. When Mild Panic editor Paul Liddle heard this conversation between two people at a Sydney pub, it made him wonder how long until he was in that boat.
As a music photographer, shooting gigs in Australia is – for most people – a pursuit born of a passion for the live music space rather than monetary gain. And for the majority of these photographers, the images they capture end up either floating downstream on the trickling Instagram feed of their friends or sitting idly on a dusty hard drive waiting for the day when its USB ports become obsolete.
This was the initial motivation for Liddle, along with designer Clay Ciolac and business partner Jeremy Hancock, to start Mild Panic, a photo journal documenting the live music experience in Australia through the eyes of some of its best photographers.
“It’s hard to get your work in print, but it’s one of the only things that make you feel like you’ve accomplished anything,” says Liddle.
The slow decline of music venues across the country was the other contributing factor to the book’s inception.
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“It’s no secret that we’re losing live music venues all over the place, and a lot of the time, all the memorabilia and historical imagery gets lost in the process. It’s just sad that so many kids won’t get to see these places like the living organisms that they’d become at 9 pm on a Friday night”
When you flip through the pages of Mild Panic, it takes you right to that place. Edition 1 ‘Mild Panic At The Landowne’ centres around the electric atmosphere of the band room and the gigs that really gave the venue its reputation for a no-holds-barred good time.
“Each edition will focus on a different iconic venue and hopefully act as a historical reference point for everyone that flips through it,” said Liddle. “We want to be able to give people those experiences back in a tactile and beautiful way”
When asked about how he managed to pull it all together, Liddle doesn’t really give it too much thought. “It wasn’t that hard, I just think all these amazing photographers were in the same headspace and so as soon as I pitched it to them it was an obvious decision. We’re all part of this little community and despite us all shooting side by side, often trying to capture the same shots at gigs, everyone is so supportive of one another and genuinely want to see each other do well”
The book feels like something you’d want to sit on your coffee table, with imagery that tells the story of wild nights where people packed in by the hundreds to see some new band they’d only just heard of, and the music was king.
Mild Panic has been created by HOWL in collaboration with Clay Ciolac and Dani Hansen, Dougal Gorman, Four Minutes to Midnight, Grit Van, James Adams, Maclay Heriot, Mclean Stephenson, Pat O’Hara, Pat Stevenson, Ruby Boland, Tim Adams and Tom Wilkinson. It is available via mild-panic.com or at the launch party to be held at The Lansdowne Hotel on Thursday, June 9th from 6pm. All welcome.