How do you take pictures of someone who takes pictures? Harryson Thevenin has been bouncing around Orlando since 2011, shooting photos and video of anyone who will stand in front of his camera. He’s also worked heavily with local rap star TEDD.GIF and his record label, Retro Neon, to book and promote events that cross genres. Recently, Harryson combined his talents into SR50, an online magazine that covers all things Orlando through photo, video, and word.
After the initial idea of an interview, I ended up following him to three vastly different shows: An Ugly Orange rock show at local bike shop, Ace Metric Cycles, a rap show at art/party gallery Henao Contemporary Center and experimental noise duo Shania Pain’s EP Release at Uncle Lou’s. Enjoy.
The following is a night of culture, joints, & car talk.
matthew warhol: Tell me about what’s going on with SR50. What are you planning for it?
Harryson Thevenin: I have no idea yet. It’s random. Just kind of whatever I’m feeling at the time. I feel like the best approach to have with SR50 is to have like, almost no approach. Because if I get into to groove of things and have a formula, that could get old quick. If I have no expectations, I’m just like, “Yo, cool.” If it works, it works. If not, there’s another show tomorrow. It seems to be happening. There’s always a show. Mad different groups.
matthew warhol: You’re going to keep booking too?
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, Sandwich Bar gave me Wednesdays so I can use that as a brain child, just for ideas for shows.
matthew warhol: How was Crock Pot at Henao?
Harryson Thevenin: Crock Pot was tight. It was our first big event. We had TEDD. We had The Left Field Theory.
matthew warhol: There was a lot of people, right?
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, Donny Blanks was the headliner. FIONA killed it outside. GRANT killed it outside.
matthew warhol: Do you think you’ll be booking more at the Henao?
Harryson Thevenin: Okay, I want to, but I worry that the Henao might get too oversaturated. Everyone that wanted to book a show that couldn’t for a while is booking Henao.
matthew warhol: What do you think… what’s the alternative though?
Harryson Thevenin: I don’t know.
matthew warhol: That’s why I’m really fascinated with a show happening at a bike shop.
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, you gotta do something else. That’s why I loved Space Station. It’s like yeah, let’s go in this side room and set something up.
matthew warhol: So with SR50, is there absolutely no focus?
Harryson Thevenin: I guess just covering Orlando-based things, whatever.
matthew warhol: You’re trying to do stuff other than music.
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Trying to do restaurants reviews. Literally anything.
matthew warhol: Are you going to write?
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah.
matthew warhol: Cool, I didn’t know you wrote too.
Harryson Thevenin: I can.
matthew warhol: Have you done it before?
Harryson Thevenin: No, but I could probably describe how something tastes. [laughs] I’m doing whatever. Whatever I can think of. There’s no motive. It’s just open format at this point. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet. I don’t want to have anything concrete because I don’t want to label it.
matthew warhol: Wait… Henao Center. Why are we going there?
Harryson Thevenin: There’s a rap show there. That’s the cool thing about this side of town, is you can skirt to everything. Yo, like the bike shop was tight.
matthew warhol: It was tight. Do you like, bounce around like this all the time? We’re going from the rock show to the rap show to a noise show.
Harryson Thevenin: Exactly.
matthew warhol: I appreciate that. I think that’s so cool.
Harryson Thevenin: I just fuck with them all. I can’t not go to one, you know what I mean?
matthew warhol: Something I’ve thought about in Orlando is that it’s too small to have separate scenes. That it needs one scene that’s all together and that’s how it’ll become a New York.
Harryson Thevenin: But I feel like in Orlando, people have the feeling that they have to separate from everyone, that they have to be “unique.” There’s so many micro-crews.
matthew warhol: Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?
Harryson Thevenin: I don’t know. I think it’s like a do-what-you-want thing. It’s cool, but at the same time is that really helping? Is it cool if only 10 people show up to your show because you only know 10 people? I don’t know. I think it’s cool to fuck with everybody and for everybody to fuck with you back. But, at the same time, to each their own.
matthew warhol: Is that why you started taking photos in the first place?
Harryson Thevenin: I think I started to take photos because I wanted to take photos. I was going to all these shows because I fucked with all of these people. I didn’t do it because I wanted to be a photographer. I did it because I wanted to shoot photos and I was at the shows already.
matthew warhol: So you didn’t take photos before then?
Harryson Thevenin: Not really.
matthew warhol: You had never had a camera?
Harryson Thevenin: Never. Yeah, it’s really weird.
matthew warhol: So what do you want to do?
Harryson Thevenin: I have no motive.
matthew warhol: No, but where do you fall into everything?
Harryson Thevenin: Maybe I don’t. I guess I fall into the rap thing, but I’ll do an indie show. I’ll do a folk show. I don’t have a motive. I don’t have a direction. I think that’s the only difference between me and most people. I’ll do anything. I don’t care. It’s not drawn out. It’s not planned. I don’t know how to explain that.
matthew warhol: But people like it.
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah, people are bored. It’s like, even if I’m going to throw a show for no reason, it’s going to be a good show. I still thought about the lineup.
matthew warhol: Can I bring something up regarding that?
Harryson Thevenin: Yeah.
matthew warhol: This is something I thought. I remember I was in Savannah. And the day I came back, I came back to go to the TEDD, Shania Pain, GRANT, RV show because to me that was an amazing lineup.
Harryson Thevenin: But at the same time, the show did very poorly.
matthew warhol: Yeah, but that’s the thing… What do you take out of that?
Harryson Thevenin: I mean yeah, it did poorly but at the same time, there were so many people that wanted to go to the show that couldn’t go because they weren’t 21. So I had to put them on the guest list to get them in. What am I going to do, turn them down? No. I don’t care. I’ll put you on the guest list. You know what I mean?
matthew warhol: If it’s a local show. They’re not going to keep other people out.
Harryson Thevenin: But they try to act like that. It’s like, I announced my birthday party and someone from The Geek Easy said I could do my party for 18+. It’s like, “Well, we’re having a midnight special and lighting like 15 joints. Is The Geek Easy going to be cool with that?”
matthew warhol: And Sandwich Bar is cool with that?
Harryson Thevenin: I mean, they’re not “cool with it.” But Uncle Lou’s wasn’t “cool with it” last year. The next three times I went there the bartender was like, “Those were the best sales I ever had.” Don’t talk. Get your money. I guess my rational is weird.
matthew warhol: No, it’s like, “You provide the space. I’ll do everything else.”
Harryson Thevenin: Exactly, what is the problem?
matthew warhol: Yo, I’ve never been to the Henao. It’s going to be lit.
matthew warhol: Another one. Yo, how do you feel about turning 26?
Harryson Thevenin: It sucks just like getting older, ya know? The ideas are getting younger, but I’m getting older. It’s fine. I’m turning 26, but I’m like doing the same shit as I was when I turned 22. Where does the progression happen?
matthew warhol: How has the last year been? Do you think you’ve grown?
Harryson Thevenin: I mean, the whole event thing hasn’t grown, you know? The whole event situation for underground Orlando music is kinda not cool right now.
matthew warhol: Was it cool?
Harryson Thevenin: When Spacebar and The Space were open at the same time, it was very cool. You had options. You take whatever you can get at this point. You know what I mean?
matthew warhol: I agree.
Harryson Thevenin: It hasn’t been as cool ever since. Now, everyone books at the same place. It’s the same thing over and over and over. What’s getting done?
matthew warhol: Something that that made me think of is what Harry said to me when I asked him something similar. I was like, “What do you think it’ll take to make Orlando successful?” And he said that someone with a lot of money needs to come in and support people and build stuff. I’m curious as to what you think.
Harryson Thevenin: I’ll say that we need some money, not even a lot of money. And they need to open something nearby where something is happening.
matthew warhol: A venue?
Harryson Thevenin: A venue where you can charge cover and have a good sound system and have ideas that can sprout from there. That is the immediate solution that I can think of.
matthew warhol: Wouldn’t that become oversaturated at some point too?
Harryson Thevenin: Maybe, but at the same time you have one more place, you know? If you charge $5 cover it’s a lot to break even if you have to pay the venue $200. There’s no fun in that. You have to do so much to just break even. You’re just helping them out at that point. You’re not helping yourself.
matthew warhol: And is that why you wanted to start SR50, to help the little guy?
Harryson Thevenin: I don’t mean to piggyback on the Harry interview but what he said in it is true, do it yourself. If no one is going to do it, I’m going to do it myself because that’s the only way I can see things done. I’ve done so many successful events and Orlando Weekly has never covered a single one. TEDD’s mixtape release was the littest event that happened the month it stopped doing events and there was no media coverage. I was like, “Where is the Orlando Weekly for something like this? I guess I’ll do it myself.”
matthew warhol: It needs to be covered. What is your goal?
Harryson Thevenin: I don’t have a goal.
matthew warhol: But like, in your own life? Having nothing to do with what you’re doing now.
Harryson Thevenin: I don’t know if I have any goals. I think I’ll just do anything. Like cool, I can get a nice full-time job and not have to worry about money, but where’s the fun in that? I’m just working at that point, making sure I have security. I’d rather just be broke amongst my people, doing shitty events at small venues, making sure that people are accounted for because no one else is going to speak for them. That’s where SR50 steps in. We’ll cover it. It’s like what John Morgan said, we’re “For The People.” Because like, there’s no money in this. There’s no monetary gain. There’s no long-term goal because you’re not going to make any money long term. You’re just helping out the little man, which is fine.
matthew warhol: Do you want to stay here? If it launched you, would you want to stay here or leave?
Harryson Thevenin: I mean I guess I would want to stay here. At the same time, if I leave there’s going to be nothing else. There’s not going to be another person like me. There’s not going to be another person like Harry. If we both leave at the same time, the city is pretty much doomed — which happened before with the indie rock community. Remember Orange You Glad? Remember Total Bummer? Remember when everyone left?
matthew warhol: I don’t.
Harryson Thevenin: What’s left? Welzeins. Someday River. Everyone left. It’s like, we’re going to go to Shania Pain’s EP release at Uncle Lou’s… I don’t know, you do what you can with what you have.
matthew warhol: I don’t know why. I have hope for it. I see it fitting together and working.
Harryson Thevenin: I got hope, but at the same time, I’ve been in the scene since 2011. And I’ve seen the peak of it and I’ve seen the bottom. And we’re in-between, but how good is that? We’re super limited on venues and we’re going to oversaturate the one venue that we have that’s halfway across town. I’m down with it though. I’ll do whatever you guys want to do. I’ll ride the wave. I don’t know. I really don’t. For the time being, let’s get drunk. Let’s hang out. Let’s see where it goes.