All My Friends

It’s strange to attempt to encapsulate a period of time in your life without putting it on a pedestal, to avoid making it appear like that time in your life was better than your life is currently and lastly sounding overly nostalgic and therefore older than you are. However, some periods in life, ‘the golden age’, you simply have to look back and say “Shit, now that, that was incredible!”. 

For me personally, I’d say that my early to mid 20’s were excellent. So much seemed to happen in  a relatively short amount of time. Alot of those years were undoubtedly fueled by the ego of youth, lots of free time, alcohol and other substances and a very healthy amount of new found independence that came from living alone and meeting new people.

There is an air of invincibility and arrogance that engulfs such a time – One that hasn’t been found since. 

In 2004/5 I was gearing up to move into a new house with friends from uni. I was going out alot, infact I’d say I was probably spending way more time ‘out out’ than I was in. No complaints – Everything was good.

Music was a huge draw, amongst other more primal vices. Stoke was, is and always will be a very underground musically focused city. The scene here seems to pick up and subsequently drop both dance and alternative music regularly. A seemingly interesting dance in itself of sorts. 

My time at uni was spent alternating from clubs such as Satchmos, The Underground through to The Sugarmill, to name but a few local ones. Fashion and hairstyles (when I had it) changed a lot and seemed to mirror the ever changing environments I found myself in. 

What was interesting to me though was the artists and bands that stood out as sitting on the edge of both of the aforementioned genres. Something that wasn’t quite Britpop-Indie, rock’n’roll nor dance. A new form of electronica. The rise of french house labels Ed Banger Records around 2007 would catapult this new mixed sub-genre into its own stratosphere. Artists such as the Klaxons, Justice, Cassius, CSS would all dabble with a similar sound. Something progressive could be witnessed in any nightclub locally (and I imagine globally) and one thing I’m sure of is that a similar presence could be felt throughout. Whole collectives of friend circles would unite every Friday night at the Mill, and these artists were our soundtrack. 

A group that to me stood out more than the rest was Brooklyn born LCD Soundsystem. At first I have to admit only a few tracks came into my line of fire. New music was being dropped weekly it seemed, it was inescapable but LCD Soundsystem would go on to pierce every single band’s attempts at trying to steal the limelight. They became the soundtrack to nights out, bus journeys, Myspace profile songs and house parties alike. I literally had a sub blow up on me during a new years eve party at my student house in 2006, whilst blasting ‘Daft Punk is playing in my house’ –  I shit you not. 

It became the unspoken staple to groups of people I know. An act that would be hard to follow. 

Years later, I see those same friend circles meeting up. Now married life and families are the new reasons to celebrate. They/we come together annually to mark the passing of close friends who we once shared those sticky nightclub dance floors with, who we’d accidentally spill a Newcastle brown on or go twos on a cigarette with (before the smoking ban). This bond is still there nearly 20 years later. The soundtrack is the same too. 

I feel for many people the pandemic and its many lockdowns have presented us with the chance to review where they’ve come from and where they want to go. It’s forced people to reflect on things, and make decisions about their futures, I’m certainly not excluded from this that’s for sure. 

Unfortunately I know people who’ve really struggled during this time, the various socialites who thrive in the company of friends have found it really tough. Some, tragically, haven’t made it through the other side. Having a business that’s currently based in the City Centre of Stoke-on-Trent I’ve arrived to complete emptiness, void of life, for months on end. It’s been weird as fuck. 

I wanted to create something that would summarise how I felt but something that would spark a reminder of good times, with good people. We need to be reminded of what’s to come again as everything feels stagnant. 

This print is based on LCD Soundsystems’ song ‘All My Friends’ from the incredible 2007 release Sound of Silver. Honestly, I feel I could have chosen any track from this album, Someone great would have been perfect but nowhere near as poignant as this selection. I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel with the design, merely tip my hat towards it visually and highlight this song’s best snippet, something that has lingered with so many people I know, for so long now.

Youth personified. 

‘I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of life’

“Where are your friends tonight?”

For those of you that are feeling lost at the moment, please know there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Talk to anyone you can, as often as you can. For those who are feeling on top, please check in on friends and family regularly. 

CALM – 0800 58 58 58  /  Samaritans – 116 123

Be kind. 

Be excellent to each other. 

10% of all sales will be donated to Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM). 

Available to buy here.