Birmingham’s All Because Of You exhibition last month was an insight into one of the most off-street sub cultures, Northern Soul. Some of the young faces in the Northern Soul scene have drawn Underground’s attention, so we decided to talk with the young photographer Bethany Kane who made it happen about what she sees, hears, feels in the Northern Soul community.
Tell us a bit about the exhibition All Because of You from last month? How did you put all the pieces together? How long did you prepare for it?
All Because of You is an exhibition that displayed my photographic work alongside the PhD research of Sarah Raine. After seeing my exhibition Young Souls at the Coventry Centre for Contemporary Arts in 2015, Sarah approached me to collaborate in a joint project exploring further the young Northern Soul scene. We developed a strong working relationship where she would interview scene participants and I would photograph them. Our roles started to cross over to the point where I would ask people questions in Sarah’s interviews and she would suggest potentially interesting people to photograph. This process of creating the exhibition content has taken around two years.
The curation of the exhibition included identifying key themes within the mine and Sarah’s work (such as style, friendship etc.) and simply marrying together the textual and photographic content.
How did you get into the Northern Soul scene? Who/what was your inspiration?
I have always been a fan of the Skinhead Reggae genre to the point of passionately collecting vinyl which I now DJ in venues across the midlands. I started to attend Skinhead Reggae events that were attached to Northern Soul events and from there I really begun to enjoy and appreciate the Northern Soul scene.
There are many young faces in your images. How are the younger Soulies different from the original 70s?
There are group of young soulies who have gone against the traditional vinyl playlists and have delved deeper into music history to find new and obscure records. My friend Emily DJs all over the UK and she finds records that are not even available to listen to on Youtube! I find this fascinating!
What are your thoughts on the current Northern soul scene today? In your city and over the UK?
The Night Owl has been a good addition to the Northern Soul scene in Birmingham as it has provided a place for fans of all ages to come together and share their passion in music. My home town of Rugby hosts (arguably) one of the best events within the Northern Soul calendar, (which I find somewhat strange but also really great for such a small town.) Alongside Rugby one of my favorite nights is Black Bee, a Soul Club based in Manchester who play gritty soul and rnb. The Northern Soul scene is continuously growing and personally I think this is great, as there are more and more young people who have a dedicated passion for music.
We are also interested in your wider images of music and subcultures scenes, how did that start?
Continuously taking my battered 35mm point and shoot camera to live gigs from a young age I have been photographing music scenes and subcultures for around 6 years now. Through being an active participant of the punk and skinhead scenes I take photographs of my friends and surrounding environments.
How do you find yourself influenced by subcultures? Which subculture do you identify the most amongst all?
Punk and Skinhead Reggae. They are the scenes that I have been most involved with from an early age and which have determined my social circle and personal outlook. The DIY aesthetic of Punk has always somewhat fascinated me and I feel this has impacted my art practice. From using analogue processes and developing my own films and printing my own prints, to designing and printing my own photo books and zines. All Because of You was taken on a medium format camera using 120mm film.
What’s next? For you and for Northern soul?
I am still photographing young soulies for project All Because of You whilst continuously exploring other scene participants belonging to punk and skinhead reggae.
All Because of You is being exhibited at mac Birmingham in July so keep a look out for any updates regarding this over on our Instagram page @allbecauseofns .
Underground Soundwave presents an ongoing series of reports on emerging and established bands with close-up Q&As, new release reviews and gig reports with a special emphasis on supporting diversity in music, women in music, independent labels and venues and the local music scene.
Brought to you by Underground – the brand of the Original Allgender Creeper shoe and other British subculture styles.