Adam Kennedy unexpectedly became a globetrotter during the pandemic.
The Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. music photojournalist ventured to Finland, the U.S., Australia, Russia, Israel, Italy, Japan and other far-flung locations to shoot established and emerging artists – all from the comfort of his own home.
In fact, Kennedy’s international photographic jaunts have occurred online as part of a successful virtual photo shoot project he launched in April 2020. To date, he’s conducted more than 570 virtual photo shoots with rock, metal, jazz and blues artists over Facebook, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp, FaceTime and other online platforms.
“It’s just to create a feel of coming together online and being in the moment. After an hour, you usually have something cool. Every session has been completely different, and every artist brings something different to the table,” he said.
“Every environment is different because I’m not working in a studio. I’m predominantly working out of someone’s home, or a person takes me out on location. I’ve been in Los Angeles on the strip, in Sochi overlooking the Black Sea, in Jerusalem at a park and in Victoria near the Great Ocean Road.”
The Los Angeles heavy metal singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso slowly exhales after getting through another manic Monday.
“I’ve found that most people are tired and angry on a Monday. By Tuesday, they seem lost and ready to procrastinate again. I make it a point each Tuesday to escape a bit and visit a local hiking spot to get through the rest of the week,” said Ania Thomas, aka Ania.
Ania appropriately celebrates her favorite workday and weekly nature jaunt through a thrash-tastic new single, “Tuesdays,” now available on all streaming platforms.
Boisterous Black Sabbath-esque electric guitars, galvanic bass, propulsive drums, crashing cymbals, fuzzy synths and delicate strings instantly release inner workplace tensions and rejuvenate weary minds throughout the 4.5-minute therapeutic banger.
Ania calmly sings, “And the road, and you climb some more/To find that one path about you/Still shines down on you/Are you forgetting it?/Climb, climb to get to the road you once knew/Where it shines down on you/Stairs are up the way, you know.”
“I think ‘Tuesdays’ bring a sense of relief by sharing a positive message, especially through the lyric, ‘You’re gonna find a way.’ It’s all about wanting to see a light at the end of the tunnel and staying positive while living through our current times. For me, nature has always brought a sense of healing both physically and mentally,” Ania said.
“Romantic and transcendentalist poets created a movement in which freedom and emotion were favored over intellectual growth. True inspiration is beyond our human reasoning and intelligence can only take us so far as people. There is more to life than just intelligence, including freedom of self-expression, intuition, inspiration and the pursuit of truth. It’s really a matter of taking care of ourselves in a spiritual way.”
Along with director Joseph Cordova, Ania beautifully conveys the spiritual power of nature in a compelling video for “Tuesdays,” which features breathtaking overhead shots of Los Angeles’ Runyon Canyon Park against a hazy city backdrop. A gold pocket watch slowly dangles in the video’s opening sequence to symbolize the gradual passage of time in an isolated world.
“Joseph and I went to one of my favorite places that I regularly visit whenever I feel down or need a break from the world. It’s my favorite hiking spot in Los Angeles,” said Ania, who climbs throughout the hills while shredding her green Ibanez.
“We used a pocket watch because I wanted to show the concept of time and how it’s always running away from us as creative people. At the same time, it’s also a social construct. It took us a year and a half to finish the video due to complications from the pandemic, but finishing this project proved to me that you have to keep going in spite of what else is happening around you.”
The Rio de Janeiro guitarist-bassist-producer strategically connects discrete audio pieces to create captivating film scores and soundtracks through Artigo Audio.
Together, those emerging instrumentals unfold a hidden classic-meets-alt-rock world filled with enticing people, places and experiences. With limitless possibilities and choose-your-own-adventure storylines, listeners travel to an undiscovered, intergalactic dimension, a drug-infested Edinburgh and a nocturnal-inspired Hollywood.
“I like to dismantle all the pieces that I put together, like a puzzle, and then dismantle them again to make the music neat and clear,” Hendrik said.
For his latest score, the forceful, driving “Russian Dance” jumps to hyperspace as charging, vibrant electric guitars, booming drums, throbbing bass and crashing cymbals provide a Black Sabbath-esque space jam.
Next, listeners instantly shift to Scotland as “Skag Boys” propels into an alt-punk rock frenzy with swift, crunchy electric guitars, pounding drums, banging cymbals and driving bass in an Irvine Welsh-like heroine culture.
After sonically leaving the U.K., a third Hendrik stop includes a late-night stroll down Sunset Boulevard on “Hollywood Moon” as bluesy, fuzzy electric guitars, shimmering cymbals, delicate drums and thoughtful bass echo along the concrete jungle.
“I have an inclination for making soundtracks, especially because Hollywood has this feel of a classic place. If you see the buildings, it looks like you’re in the ‘50s, and the people you see on the street are totally different. It’s like you’re in a time warp,” said Hendrik, who studied audio engineering abroad at Los Angeles’ Musicians Institute in 2016.
“I put myself in the shoes of somebody who’s delusional walking around Hollywood searching for something that may fulfill their delusion. Sometimes I would go to Jameson’s Irish Pub, and if I got loaded, I would leave the whiskey bar and start walking around Hollywood to talk to everybody.”
“Hollywood Moon” also features Hendrik’s mesmerizing instrumental collaboration with Ania, a Los Angeles heavy metal singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso, who beautifully shreds throughout the haunting psych rock track.
“I found her online during social isolation. I was building my website for my production company, and I started reaching out to people saying, ‘Hey, do you want to produce or record something?’” he said.
“I was on Facebook, and I added Ania because I saw she attended the same school I that did in Hollywood. After we had a conversation, I realized she was just like me, a musician who wanted to record. It was amazing because she brought me results within a week.”
With an emerald Ibanez, Ania strums toward a new antidote for personal and societal toxicity.
That antidote appears as her latest melodic pop-rock single, “Poison,” which combines slow, vibrant electric guitar, delicate cymbal taps, rhythmic bass, steady drums and swirling synths into a soothing remedy with bassist-drummer Matt Ward.
“This song was about me letting go of a toxic relationship. Lyrically, I wanted to be vague and express how this relationship broke me. This relationship literally broke my ‘shit’ in a grunge way. I feel as if I lost my sense of self and who I am,” said Ania, a Los Angeles heavy metal singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso.
Throughout “Poison,” Ania cathartically sings, “Complications come from meditation/Your privilege gets me down again/Dusky skies are filling up with poison/And we keep breaking our own shit/Air is filling up with poison, and you keep breaking my shit/Air is filling up with poison, and you keep breaking my shit.”
“I tried to create a dark pop song that’s similar to ‘The Hand That Feeds’ by Nine Inch Nails. I also wanted to incorporate some synth electronic modern textures that I have been hearing in St. Vincent’s music to make the song more current,” she said.
Ania will extend her personal undertones of “Poison” to growing societal struggles in a new video out June 26. Wrapped in vivid shades of neon pink and green, the “Poison” video transports Ania to Hollywood’s infamous Melrose Avenue where she laments society’s self-destructive tendencies.
Throughout the “Poison” video, Ania adorns a white long-sleeve T-shirt, pink pants and black combat boots while shredding her emerald Ibanez, smashing records on alley walls and battling an evil Trump-masked drummer. This contrasting mix of vivid and muted colors also symbolizes Ania’s lingering frustrations with the superficiality of life and image of perfectionism in Los Angeles.
“I wanted the ‘Poison’ video to expose the inauthenticity of the beautiful and vibrant image that many people associate with Los Angeles. Hollywood glamour is part of the city, but it’s got an angsty side, too,” said Ania, who teamed up with filmmakers Will Milvid and Alex Ioanoviciu for the video.
“We all have an impact on the world around us. I want people to wake up and think critically for themselves and understand that we can all fight for change if we aren’t absorbed in our own image. Sometimes we’re blinded by it, but if we look up from our phones, we can fight for change and a better future.”
In her latest video, Ania shreds her way through the streets and stages of Los Angeles.
The heavy metal singer-songwriter and guitar virtuoso released a gritty new video today for “Doors Close,” a 4.5-minute banger filled with fast alternate picking and arpeggios against a raw bassline and driving drumbeat.
“We wanted to show a modern rock band playing, and we went around LA and filmed in public places and highlighted the rock-grunge scene,” said Ania, a University of Southern California (USC) guitar student. “We also filmed some of it at USC in our songwriting theater where we have a tiny stage and wanted to showcase that we can play instruments, have fun and rock out.”
Ania eloquently demonstrates her electric guitar chops alongside USC classmate and drummer Megan Adcock on stage while simultaneously wandering the nighttime streets and sitting in front of a rainbow-colored graffiti wall. Bassist Carson Rhode also plays on the track, but isn’t featured in the video.
While the “Doors Close” video artistically captures dingy LA nightlife, the single politically tackles the complications of Catholicism in Ania’s native Poland.
“I just wanted to write a song that changed the key signature, and it’s funny because the song is about Adam and Eve and how the whole Catholic thing is very weird,” Ania said. “We grow up, and we’re like, ‘Wow, religion is just kind of fake,’ and everyone has a different perspective.”
Ania developed her own perspective about religion and music after moving from Koszalin, Poland to Chicago with her mother at age 15. While growing up near the Baltic Sea, she watched Polish MTV and longed to play electric guitar.
“I didn’t play instruments until I moved to the States because where I come from in Poland we never had music schools,” Ania said. “It would be impossible to play electric guitar or be in a rock band. There was one music school, and all the kids that went there had been trained since they were four years old.”