An American tour video shot for his band Basement was my introductory glimpse into the film making of videographer Alex Henery. One of the most earnest band documentaries I've seen, Alex captured a reality that few glimpse; an uncontrived account of life on the road for a young touring band.

Following Basement's hiatus, Alex's work has seen him relocate to Boston and become an integral part of the Run For Cover Records team, all the while, retaining this precious ethos throughout the videos he's produced.

With various other projects in the works, including a number of intimate photographer documentaries, we caught up with Alex last week week to talk videos, Boston and skateboarding.


How did you fall into film making?

My dad had a 35mm camera and would take photos of our family when we went on holiday. I loved the way it looked and the sound it made when you took a photo. Maybe that was the first thing that drew me to capturing an image. I also loved films growing up and eventually I got a video camera. I would film stupid things - trips, silly skits, stunts all just for fun. The thought of it being my career never crossed my mind. I didn't think I was good enough and I definitely didn't believe in myself. It wasn't until maybe two years ago that I found myself making videos that started to get a good response and it just went from there.

I've heard you and the other guys in Basement say that Norwich/Ipswich are pretty dull places to be, what has moving to Boston meant not only to your film making but your creativity in general?

Moving to Boston has been great. I work in house for a record label and head up all of the projects for the bands on our label. Having an office and my own creative space has given me so much freedom. I will go to the office at 9am and stay 'til 8/9/10pm, sometimes staying all night. It's just a great work environment.

Boston as a whole doesn't really inspire me visually, I used to live in Philly and that had so much more character. Everything looked cinematic, I definitely get inspired whenever I am there. Boston is too clean and white. But I can't complain it is beautiful and a nice place to call home at the moment.

How does Run For Cover specifically aid your work?

They give me 100% creative freedom to do what I want and that is so encouraging. We share similar thoughts on being different and creating things that don't fit a particular mould. Plus they even let me take freelance projects, so that's a massive bonus.

Would you say Tuesdays with Tay your greatest accomplishment to date?

[Laughs] Tuesdays with Tay is great. I love how kids have gotten behind it and get excited about each episode. I'm working on some new original content for our channel and I think people are going to be really into it.

Do you think being in a band has helped you be a more beneficial tool for other bands in terms of empathising with their objectives and goals?

I personally think so. Being in a band previously has helped me have a great relationship when shooting with bands. It's less of a professional relationship, we hangout and chill and I rarely push people to do things they don't want to. I know for some people it's the first time they have been in front of a camera for a music video. The main thing is I feel like we both know what is corny and fake, and only want to make genuine visuals. So that helps, they know I'm not going to make them look like something they're not.

What is your process when making these videos? Are the idea's solely yours or is it a collaborative thing between yourself and the band?

The bands usually give me an image or an idea and then we roll with it and develop the idea further together. To be honest every job is different and I like that. But I always stress out. For me making a music video is really stressful. I find it hard to plan or storyboard. I just film what I like on the day and hope we have enough footage.

Of course, it isn't only music videos you shoot, I really loved your Alana Paterson short. Tell us a little about your photographer series?

I just wanted to try something outside of the music scene. I love photography and I had been a follower of Alana's work for a while. Out of the blue I just emailed her and things went from there, she's awesome. We chatted and hangout and then I tried to put it together. I was scared she was going to hate it, but she liked the final cut.

How are the next in the series (if there are any) coming along?

I have a few people lined up. It's just finding time for both parties to commit to. I'm excited to do more.

The Basement tour videos you made for America and Australia are both swell but differ greatly. Do you find when you shot the American tour that you missed out or felt burdened by your camera?

Yeah there were times when I chose not to film because I just wanted to have fun. But then looking back I wish I had filmed [laughs]. I like being part of the action I find it hard to sit back and film it. I need to buy the new black magic pocket cinema camera. Something smaller than my normal set up just to carry at all times. That's why the Australian tour video was more raw and candid. I like that one a lot. It's very personal and fun to watch.

Would you ever consider shooting a music video with multiple flip cams like the Oz video?

Hmm maybe. It would have to be the right project/band.

What's inspiring you at the moment, specifically and in a broader sense?

I look at videos on Vimeo everyday. There will be something that catches my eye and I will be stoked all day.

I love skateboarding. That inspires me to be creative and get out and experience the world. Just seeing a cool iPhone montage of skating and street culture will get me hyped.

Could you see yourself shooting a skate video at all? The next Spike Jonze?

[Laughs] Maybe. I would have to work with someone else on a project like that. Skate filming has its own rules and styles and I have never really shot any skate films. To film while moving so fast is truly a specific skill set. I love how kids can recognise good and bad filming in skate videos. They know what works and what just sucks. But yeah one day it would be cool to work on a small skate project.

So, what does the future hold for Alex Henery?

[Laughs] I don't know. I'm trying to focus on each day and not predicting where I will be in X amount of time. I just want to make each video better than the last. I want my work to be honest and not corny. I want to work with directors, collaborate with other creative people and constantly put out quality visuals. I make enough money to survive and I never want money to be the aim of my work. I just want to make my mom and dad proud. That they didn't raise some lazy boring dumb kid, but someone who was passionate creative and excited about life.

I have one real goal and that's to make a full documentary. But I'm waiting for the right subject/topic. You can't rush that kind of thing, it always seems to just be right time right place kind of thing. I want to also shoot a commercial at some point.

I'm so happy at the moment. I have my dream job, I'm blessed with great friends and I feel like I can accomplish anything I want to if I put my mind to it.

Man I sound so corny.


Scoop more of Alex's work on his Vimeo page and over at alexhenery.com.