Photos by Alec Castillo
When Alec Castillo isn’t playing in his band, The Nude Party, you’ll usually find him taking photos of his band, The Nude Party.
The young photographer, bassist, and onetime winner of the Monster Children Photo Comp started out documenting the strange things that happen when a group of friends and bandmates live, travel and play music together, back in 2013. From playing house parties and empty rooms across the country to supporting Jack White and Arctic Monkeys, a lot has changed for Alec and the guys, including the friendships they’ve formed with one another over the years. What started out as a collection of tour photos gradually evolved into Alec’s new exhibition, One More Mile: a series that pays tribute to the long van trips, cramped hostel bunk beds, painful hangovers, and intimate moments from life on the road. I caught up with Alec ahead of the opening of One More Mile at 98 Orchard in New York this Friday to find out more.
Your photos really show how close-knit you all are. Is there one photo in particular that you feel really captures this?
I think a lot of my photos encapsulate that feeling. But the first that comes to mind is a photo I have of everyone naked in a hotel bathtub that was so full, it was overflowing into the bedroom. We were all so happy and laughing until our guts hurt, and I think it shows how comfortable we are with breathing each other’s air 24/7.
When you compare your photos from the early days of the band to now, do you think you’ve changed at all as a photographer?
Like any other photographer or artist, there’s a maturity that grows with your work over time. I think I’ve learned to use ambiguity to my advantage when trying to portray feelings and not make all of my work so straight forward. I think I understand my work better. Working on a long term project for this amount of time forces you to shoot and think differently. There was a period of time where I set down my camera for two tours in the hopes of creative inspiration, and just to take a hiatus from photography. I was frustrated with something I loved a lot, but eventually it took a turn for the better.
When was the moment you realised the band was headed for more than just self-booked tours?
I realised the band was going to be more than a hobby when I graduated college and decided to drop everything with the rest of the guys to move to NY to continue doing it. None of us were ready to grow up and having too much fun playing music. It ended up being the best decision of my life!
What moment on tour were you kicking yourself for not having your camera on you?
It happens often. I try not to let it get to me, but just let it be a lesson.
Speaking of touring, The Nude Party came out to play Australia for the first time this year. What was one of your favourite things about having a pit stop here?
Yeah! Australia has been on my bucket list since I was super young, I never thought I’d be playing music there. We had a couple days off in Melbourne and met up with our buddy Ambrose from Murlocs and King Gizzard. He showed us Flightless Records and the studio, that was pretty rad. We had a few gut-busting laughs. My girlfriend is from Australia too, and I met her family which probably wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t tour there. Everyone I met in Australia was incredibly friendly and cool. It was too short of a tour to do much exploring, but I’m looking forward to next time.
Has there ever been a moment while playing with The Nude Party that you’ve seen something that made you want to drop your bass and pick up your camera?
I kind of blackout when I play and I’m not really paying attention to anything in particular. It would be a good idea to leave my camera on stage every night and see what happens. I’m in Toronto right now and I’ll try that tonight.
Why should the good people of New York come out to see One More Mile at 98 Orchard?
I hope that anyone who comes to the show can take something from it, even if they don’t play music or haven’t toured before. It’s more about friendship, identity of self, and realising the value of each of them. If you don’t like the work, you can at least come out and drink some free beer.