Jordan Munns Interview - An Iconic Music Photographer
Meet Jordan Munns, a Sydney based photographer, graphic designer, music journalist, and all round bloody legend! Known for some of the most iconic music photography in recent years, Jordan has solidified his positions as one of the greats in the industry. Along with his photography work, Jordan acts as an editor and creative director at music media outlet, Best Before. To celebrate Futuremag Music's second birthday, we sat down with one of the nicest guys in the music scene to talk about music, photography and the future.
Futuremag Music: How'd you initially move into the music, in particular music photography? What's your relationship with music been like over the years?
Jordan Munns: I think I always knew I wanted to work in music in some capacity since as long as I can remember, but I started out when I was 15 or 16, shooting any all-ages shows I could get into. My older brother always encouraged me to get into it (shoutouts to him for birthing the dream), so as soon as I turned 18 he started linking me up with gigs for a couple of publications, and then that evolved into working all around for a bunch of random publications and clients in between a Monday to Friday job shooting and designing for a fashion house. I really had no idea what I was doing, but I think saying yes to a lot of events where I didn't know what to expect (and little to no experience ha) threw me in the deep end and helped me learn as I went.
I was brought up in a family that loved music and and put it first as a living too, so it was inevitable that I'd be doing something in that world! It's everything to me.
Futuremag Music: Can you tell us about Best Before? What's been some highlights?
Jordan Munns: Best Before basically came out of myself and three other friends that I grew up with realising a couple of things: A – we loved music, and B – a lot of our conversations and time spent together revolved around music or shows. We started Best Before a couple of years ago as a little way to talk about the music we liked online, and it ballooned from there quite quickly into something that we never really saw coming! We're a big team spread out around Australia now, and I love that aside from creating experiences for ourselves, we're also helping other young people gain experience, link up with artists and pull off their own goals. Funnily enough, my favourite part of doing what we do at Best Before has ended up being mentoring other photographers and writers – it's a weird experience guiding other people as an editor when you're still learning so much every day, but it's also super fulfilling and amazing to see all the incredible results coming through.
In terms of highlights, I don't even know where to start – I'm incredibly grateful for some of the amazing opportunities and experiences we've been handed. I think some of my favourite moments so far have been covering events like Splendour, Listen Out, FOMO and Field Day and interviewing and/or shooting some of my favourite artists – Jamie xx, Washed Out, Gallant, Nick Murphy, Vince Staples and Lunice are some off the top of my head that have been particularly special and humbling. It's been especially fun getting to connect with new emerging artists on a personal level on top of what we do at Best Before, and I've also been lucky enough to meet some incredible friends and co-workers who have become a big part of my day-to-day life.
Futuremag Music: What is in your bag for a festival, gig, or event?
Jordan Munns: When I'm working, I'll have my kit (I'm a Canon boy), sunscreen (ghost boi), lots of water, chewing gum, a rain hood (for myself and my camera), a portable phone charger (goes a long way), the festival app or set times as my wallpaper on my phone, and a healthy supply of Carmex for those desolate summer festival conditions.
Futuremag Music: What is your most favourite experience working in music so far?
Jordan Munns: It's hard to pinpoint one, but earlier this year I did the Post Malone show in Sydney with BBE and it was honestly one of the loosest, most memorable shows I've ever been a part of.
Another one that comes to mind is The National's set at Splendour way back in 2013 – that was a special moment for me, and I was surrounded by a bunch of my favourite people in the world, watching one of my favourite bands in the world.
Porter Robinson and Madeon was also a huge one that I will never forget!
Futuremag Music: What advice would you give to anyone wishing to enter the music industry?
Jordan Munns: I'm still growing and learning so much every day, but what I would say is patience and kindness – particularly in the way you write to people – goes a long way. The reality in such a connected industry is that often the ruthless people get ahead, but I've spent a lot of time trying to find the balance between kindness and drawing the line or standing your ground. Clients, teammates and co-workers will appreciate you going the extra mile, saying thank you, going with the flow or being patient and empathetic regardless of what's going on.
I also think that even when everything is overwhelming and you feel like you can't, having time for anyone and everyone seriously goes so far. Giving everyone the same positive engagement and getting on their level goes so far.
Futuremag Music: If 'Jordan Munns' was a cocktail what would be in it to best describe your work and you as a person?
Jordan Munns: Ha this is a great question! I'd be an espresso martini... I drink way too much coffee. And I have weird sleeping hours and bursts of productivity at random times. Also espresso martinis are so tasty. Working in an office above a bar is dangerous...
Futuremag Music: What does the future hold for you?
Jordan Munns: I feel like a lot of amazing opportunities and bucket list goals all come flooding in at random times (and often all at once), so it's really hard for me to pinpoint an exact trajectory. But at the moment, I guess the future looks like shooting and touring as much as possible, beefing up everything on the Best Before front and working on some special new secret ventures. I'd also love to get some travel in there too, I need to get back to the US ASAP!