Dougie recently did an interview and a photoshoot with the photographer Thomas Wood where he talks about photography, his life in L.A. and acting. You can read it below and check all the pics on the gallery.
Thomas Wood: How’re you finding it being back in the UK?
Dougie Poynter: Hate it! It’s been like this for days – not quite rain but just spitting and I suck with the jetlag out here. I’m okay.. I’m not getting up too late but 10am for me is late. So I’m absolutely knackered and not waking up naturally at all, and I’ve got an old alarm clock. You know the style with the bell? Going absolutely nuts! My bed’s on a mezzanine level and it sometimes falls off that and lands in the living room. So yeah, not really enjoying being back at the moment.
Tom: Yeah we both flew back from LA on the same day, I feel we’re in a very similar mindset. Are you just starting to get back into that day to day routine here?
Dougie: Yeah, I’ve sort of hit the ground running coming back here with work pretty much straight away. I think I had a to day to try and settle and then went straight back into acting classes here. What else was there, there’s been a couple of events.
Tom: I think the British Fashion Awards stand out to me. How were they?
Dougie: Oh yeah, Haha! Yeah, so there was that thing. Which was really cool! I think that was a couple of days after I’d come back.
Tom: Which I suppose helps coming back knowing you’ve got things to do. Although do you find events like that enjoyable or is it sometimes more of a chore?
Dougie: No, no! I enjoy it! Especially with the jet lag as that actually works in your favour then. You’re hanging out at you know, 12 at night and the awards are going on and I was completely wide-awake. Usually by 1am I’m done. I’m like ‘I cannot keep my eyes open I have to leave!’ But I found myself at the after party until 4am, just chatting because I was completely wide-awake. It was at the Royal Albert Hall so it felt really grand and epic!
Tom: Hah! Yeah totally get that, really eccentric. It looked amazing. I saw one image of the stairs leading up to the hall that looked incredible.
Dougie: Oh yeah! Dude, it was like you were going to the opera back in the early 1900’s or something. Everyone’s dressed in their best and you walk through these grand entrances and past the Royal Albert Hall organs. All of the designers are literally in one place, which is fucking cool. And there’s some big names there too: – to see people like that I’m always like ‘Fuck! Those people have had a huge impact on culture and they’ve done so much with their lives and it’s really fucking awesome’
Tom: Yeah, I love shit like that. Always really motivating, I think. It’s great you’ve had bits to come back to though and have a bit of a routine. Like where I live not much goes on, it’s a bit of a ghost town in creative and artistic sense. LA was right at the other end of that spectrum, everyone seems to be pushing boundaries all the time and there’s so much good energy.
Dougie: Dude, it’s everywhere, right? Like even the other night in LA when we went for dinner.
Tom: At café 101? The really art deco design and general vibe of there was cool.
Dougie: Yeah café 101. There’s just something about that kind of space that doesn’t feel like it’s from now, like they’ve literally kept it in a time warp.
Tom: Yeah, definitely. It’s kind of the same here isn’t it but in a very British sense. Everything is stilled preserved in that stereotypical Tudor style.
Dougie: I think that’s why I moved to this area in particular, it’s very British and around here where I live there’s a lot of history and I think that’s where I’ve found myself most comfortable. Although LA doesn’t have as much history, where I stay kind of does, it’s all old Hollywood. There’s places like Venice that have their own kind of stamp on culture, like the whole dog-town thing and all that, you can still kind of see it going on there and that’s the cool thing. And all the really epic professional skaters at the park there, did you have a chance to see that?
Tom: Yeah I did. I spent a lot of my teenage years in skate parks and we’ve got places similar to that in the UK but I felt there the sense of culture and community was a lot stronger there.
Dougie: Yeah. Someone picked up on one of my pictures I’d taken there that the guy in the image was like a big deal. He was the best skater I’ve ever seen with my own eyes. I mean he was dressed like a fucking rock star but was flying out of the bowl like an athlete. His posture and everything was more like a gymnast. All of these epic skaters, they own the place. It’s really interesting to see that they all respect each other and give each other a turn and then when the park shuts as soon as the sun has set they all do as they’re told and leave. I think if I was raised in California I don’t think I’d have done anything other than surf and skate!
Tom: Has it always been California or LA for you? Or was it more the acting that drew to you LA?
Dougie: I’ve been back and forth between LA and the UK since I was 16 or 17, I think. I think it was the classes originally, that was what I was going out to do. And I mean there are some really amazing drama schools here but I’d already built three strong relationships with different drama coaches out there, so I just felt comfortable. What I really love about Los Angeles is that it’s a creative hub and the entertainment capitol of the world. I feel like everyone out there doesn’t have your normal 9-5 job and has aspirations.
Tom: So what is it about the studying you love?
Dougie: I fell in love with the studying process of acting. It’s like a study of yourself in many ways to begin with. We / you / I can get stuck in a routine of being a certain way, it happens and I don’t even realize it’s happening and I wouldn’t realize something was wrong. It almost felt like therapy to begin with for that first year and there were no massive intentions of doing anything with it other than enjoying it.
Tom: Where did the interest in acting stem from? I suppose it’s something that does go hand in hand with the music and fashion industries as well.
Dougie: I was in a movie when I was 17 with Chris Pine and Lindsey Lohan and I’ve done music videos since I was a kid. So there are things I already understood. I always wanted to go and study it and I started getting offers for like small independent rolls, short films or art things and things to do with fashion. I turned those down and went to study. I wanted to do it properly.
Tom: Have there been anything in that realm that has influenced you or styles and genres of film that have done the same?
Dougie: Yeah, It’s something I cant quite put a finger on. Like when everything ties together? So when the acting is on point, when the style and tone is on point and then they top it off with an epic soundtrack. And you know when you play one of these soundtracks on guitar to somebody and you see their reaction because they’ve been emotionally invested in that moment. That I always found incredibly fascinating and wanted to be part of that in someway. Whether that be writing the music for it, acting in it or the creative elements that go into creating that moment.
Tom: Definitely. For me as a visual artist Nicolas Winding Refn who directed ‘Drive’ and ‘Valhalla’ is a big influence to my work because of those aspects you’ve just mentioned.
Dougie: Yeah it all ties in. When you hear that soundtrack from ‘Drive’ now, that ‘Real Human Being’ song, you picture everything! You picture the colours, the jacket, Ryan Gosling’s acting in it and it’s incredible. It’s things like that that inspire me.
Tom: In a more visual sense would you say art has played a big part in your life too?
Douigie: Yeah and I think without massively realizing it I’m not like a huge collector of paintings. I’ve got quite a bit of black and white photography, mainly of bands. I think it’s always played a huge part in my life because I honestly suck with anything to do with business or numbers or anything like that and I’m way more visual. I definitely work visually with everything. Like songwriting there’s always an image and a visual story. Some people can write songs that are technically brilliant and you write them and emotionally connect afterwards but for me it’s always got to be some image.
Tom: I just want to go back to the black and white photography you’ve just mentioned. You post a lot of monochrome content on Instagram. Could you explain your fascination with it?
Dougie: Oh dude I’ve tried this so many times. I don’t hate colour photography at all. But there’s something about black and white photography that I’ve always been drawn to. I guess it started with bands growing up, it would be the black and white pictures from magazines that I would want on my walls. I guess cause it just leaves so much more to the imagination. It’s more about the emotion and something else.
I think I did look into it because it was annoying me I loved black and white. When photographers were getting in touch or I’m shooting with someone and I’m like ‘use black and white’. I think at one point I even Googled ‘why do I like black and white photography?’ and someone famously once said that black and white photographs capture people’s souls and the focus is on purely that moment.
Tom: Have you got any photographs in your own collection that stand out to you?
Dougie: I haven’t got any originals but I’ve got prints of Nirvana’s early shows when Kurt would jump into the drum kit. There’s one in my hallway so I see it everyday and it’s one of my favourite pictures. I always find something different in it. It looks like it’s in some very small club or bar and the stage is littered with drumsticks, bits of drumsticks, wood, wires going everywhere, Kurt’s in the middle of the drum kit. I think it was before Dave Grohl, it’s hard to tell because the drummers hair is over his face. Then at the back of the stage was a mirror so you can see what you can’t actually see in the frame. I love that.
Tom: Yeah, I love when an image captures a moment as strong as that. So just in general to finish off, what’s on the agenda for 2017?
Dougie: So, 2017. I’m shooting two movies, both British independent films. British writers and directors. One at the beginning of the year and one spring that will take us into summer. Stoked about that. I’ve been studying for ages so I feel the next stop is to put it into practice and do some small cool projects. It’s like rehearsing with a band you know eventually you’ve got to go and play some shows.
Tom: Sounds really cool, excited to see what you create next year.
Dougie: Thanks man! I can’t wait to get to the end of this year to start doing 2017. So yeah, we’ll see.