BABYMETAL Newswire interviews BABYMETAL's photographer Dana (Distortion) Yavin

BABYMETAL Newswire before the BABYMETAL World Tour 2015 kicks off in Mexico had the chance to talk with their official World Tour photographer Dana "Distortion" Yavin. Dana share her thoughts with us about her beginnings as photographer, how she met BABYMETAL and in depth about the BABYMETAL World Tour 2014. Also she share great messages for future photographers and to BABYMETAL fans! Read the extensive interview below. 

Meet the BABYMETAL's World Tour photographer Dana "Distortion" Yavin

As music lover, and mostly as rock and metal lover, i usually read news from Rolling Stone and of course Dana "Distortion" Yavin photos were very often published there, but never realized that she would be in a near future the photographer of one of my favorite bands. To most of the BABYMETAL fans Dana Distortion is their official photographer since we knew about her before the World Tour 2014, but she actually met them in March of 2014 at the epic Nippon Budokan "Red Night" on March 1st. 

Dana "Distortion" Yavin stopped to talk with Newswire before BABYMETAL starts the World Tour 2015 in Mexico tomorrow,  we really appreciate her kindness to answer all our bunch of questions, so in name of the BABYMETAL community, arigato gozaimasu Dana! Here is the interview, we hope you enjoy it!  

NEWSWIRE: Hey Dana, first of all thanks for being part of our community, you were the member #127 on our Facebook group, just in case you like numbers (Laughs) I read a couple of times your interview on Examiner, and was surprised to find out you are not from the United States. Tell us about your background story, where you’re from, and how you started to love photography.

DANA DISTORTION: "I’m from Tel Aviv, Israel, and I’ve been living in New York City for the past 15 years. I always loved photography. I actually started as a filmmaker, and I still do both. I’m a very visual person. I never thought photography would be more than a hobby, but you never know where life is gonna take you. I’m very lucky to do what I love."


When was your first professional work? When you got your first pass? How was that feeling? 

"I will never forget the first time I was published. I decided I was ready and emailed one of my favorite publications, BrooklynVegan, after sneaking a camera to a Jack White show and asked them if they wanted to publish the photos. They got back to me the next morning and said yes. I said, you got it, but I wanna shoot for you regularly, and they said “sure we would love to have you.” I felt like I was on top of the world. With photography comes a lot of rejection, so when you get approved for a great job nothing feels better than that. I think photographers are live artists, is like you are painting your own picture while the things are happening."


Where do you find the inspiration for those amazing photos? 

"I’m just inspired by the moment. I feel the photos, I don’t think about them. Especially with documentary photography, such as concert photography, there is not too much time to plan or think. I think as photographers, we have the instincts to capture the right moment. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t."


Do you have favorite place or venue to take photos? 

"Every venue has its on charm. I love the small ones where you’re right in with the sweaty crowd and I love the big stages with the fantastic lights. I like to do it all! It really depends on what I’m shooting."


You work for bands like BABYMETAL, and magazines like Rolling Stone right? Tell us about your work, and if there is a difference between working for a band or artist and a magazine.

"Yeah, very big difference! Working for the band and shooting for a publication is a whole different ball game actually. Shooting for the band means all access. You’ll be treated as if you’re a part of the band. You can shoot the whole show from wherever you are. You get stage access--all the goods a photographer wants really. Shooting for a publication usually means you have the first three songs to shoot from the photo pit--sometimes from the soundboard. You usually don’t get a backstage pass or an all access pass. But again, it all depends on the band and their management."

Which is your favorite photograph so far? Tell us about that!

"Oh thats really a tough one, there are many photos I really love for one reason or another. It’s like asking you to choose between your kids. I don’t know, it changes all the time. I can take a photo and say, Wow, this is the best photo I’ve ever taken, and then a week later I take more photos and think that about a new one."

Talking about bands and artists, you said on Examiner that you love The Beatles, I bet they are your favorite band. What are your favorite bands or artists? 

"Oh so many. I love classic rock so you know, Bowie, Zeppelin, Beatles, and heavier stuff like AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera, Iron Maiden. I love hip hop--I love everything! There are really too many names…"


Do you like BABYMETAL music? It is very different compared with The Beatles. If so, what are your favorite BABYMETAL songs? 

"I love love BABYMETAL. I love metal in general. I love all their songs, never get bored with them."

Talking about BABYMETAL, your first work for them was at the Nippon Budokan on March of 2014. How did you come to work for a Japanese band? 

"My friend actually took me to the show, she’s friend with their producer and I had a day off so I said, Why not? Let’s go take photos of BABYMETAL. I shot their show at Budokan at Saitama Super Arena on January of 2015, which was their most important show so far, two amazing nights "Red Night" and "Black Night"."

How was the experience of working for them at Nippon Budokan? And which was your favorite show from "Red Night" and "Black Night”?

"I photographed only one of the the Budokan shows, so I don’t know. The whole thing was amazing. It was my first time in Japan and shooting BABYMETAL was a very unexpected experience that opened so many doors for me. I loved every minute of it. I never saw them before so I didn’t know what to expect. It was a big WOW for me!"

Su-Metal performing Akatsuki at The Forum photo by Dana "Distortion" Yavin
Su-Metal performing Akatsuki at The Forum photo by Dana "Distortion" Yavin

When the news of the World Tour 2014 came out, how was your reaction? How was the band's reaction? 

"It was great! Everyone was really happy that BABYMETAL is doing so well outside of Japan. It’s very exciting. They are so unique and great that I wasn’t surprised."

The first BABYMETAL shows for the World Tour 2014 were in France and Germany, the "Legend Y" and "Legend M" shows to celebrate Yui's and Moa's birthdays. How were the shows? The girls mentioned that Germany was full of "metalheads" while in France the audience was more diverse. 

"All the Europe shows were great! It was a little hot at the venue….I think many venues in Europe don’t have air conditioning. It was great to see that BABYMETAL has such great and diverse crowd all over the world."

Then England, first Sonisphere. As metal fan I know that Sonisphere fans are not easy, they used to throw urine bottles to the stage whether they liked or don’t like the artist. Some BABYMETAL fans were really worried about the reception. How was that? You guys were worried too? And also I bet you know this but BABYMETAL played in front of 45,000 to 50,000 people, and according to Sonisphere promoters an opening band never played in front of so many people. Some of the Kami Band guys like LEDA or Hideki are used to play in front of thousands but the girls don't. How was the experience for the band and for you? 

"It was great! The crowd was very welcoming and very into the band. The mosh pit was a bit crazy, but the fans treated the band very well and they were very loved there. The girls are super professional. They deliver a great show at any time and any place."

BABYMETAL Newswire favorite photo - The Forum, England
BABYMETAL Newswire favorite photo - The Forum, England

After that, The Forum in London, another sold out show, Live Viewing experience for fans in Japan, Dragonforce members, Yoshiki from X-Japan there watching the show too, how was your experience in the venue? I think your bests photos of the World Tour are from The Forum.

"You think??? Good to know  Since we do a lot of shows on a tour it’s hard for me to remember which show was where and what happened, but if I remember correctly the London show was really great. For me everywhere we go is two hours of stress where I have to run from one place to another in seconds and catch the girls at their best. Hard sometimes to remember what exactly happened! This one had fire. I remember that because I was stressed about catching it on camera. I did but it was stressful let me tell ya!"


Following Europe was The Fonda in Los Angeles, the famous incident with the air conditioning and then hitting the road with Lady Gaga, and finally the great show in Heavy Montreal in Canada. Compared with the European leg experience, how was the North American leg?

"Touring is great! You get to visit many places, you see a lot, you move to the next place. Of course you get to see a lot of people and many cultures but the work is the same work in every city. So to me at least, I can’t speak for the band. The show itself feels very similar unless it’s at a festival. That’s when you feel the difference. America is America and Europe is Europe and they are very different from one another in mentality, but the crowd seems to be the same amazing, loving crowd everywhere we go."


In November "Back To The US/UK Tour", they finally played in your New York City, and then in Brixton Academy in London, premiering their brand new song “Road Of Resistance” and ended their "Metal Resistance II". Tell us about those shows and how was it being in your city with them? 

"It was fun to have BABYMETAL in NYC. I’ve been waiting for this to happen and when it did, it was great. It wasn’t different from other shows except when the show was over I got to take the train home and sleep in my own bed. Oh, and I had many more friends on the guest list. Which was great, it’s always fun to be able to share a piece of your world and work with your friends."


Last two questions about BABYMETAL. The BABYMETAL World Tour 2015 is near. BABYMETAL is growing as band, and as international artist too. They announced a bigger World Tour compared with 2014. How do you feel about this, about their future?

"I think it’s amazing and of course I’m very proud of them and hope they will get bigger and bigger and get all the love and recognition they deserve. The progress they’ve made in such a short time is truly a huge accomplishment."

Art made by: @hiro_kazu_sato
Art made by: @hiro_kazu_sato

About the BABYMETAL community, something very interesting to note, you have as profile photo an incredible drawing of "Hirokazu Sato", how did you feel about that? The BABYMETAL fan base loves you!

"Oh that really made my day! What an amazing artist he is. I was very flattered he did that. It was very exciting to see. I really adore his work."


Also about that "Hirokazu Sato" drawing he was very detailed and we can see part of your gear in the art, tell us about your gear for those interested about it! 

"I use Nikon Cameras and Nikon Lenses. I have two D4 and D4s bodies and 3 lenses, and that’s it really."


Back to your career, you were sharing photos, amazing photos with the t-shirt saying "Who the F*** is Dana Distortion"? What is that? You are creating your own fan base, me included as fan! That's awesome! 

"Yeah, this started as a joke but people seem to love them. I will have a limited amount of them for sale on the World Tour 2015 US dates so if anyone wants them, let me know!"


And last but not least, I would like to ask you to final messages first for photographers who are newly beginning their careers and second a message for the BABYMETAL fans around the world. 

"Well for photographers, JUST F****** DO IT, and for the fans, Thanks for the love! The fans’ support is really important to all of us. None of this would have happened without you!"


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