Taylor Hickman’s B-side sessions have always been collaborative efforts, he told the City Paper

B-Side Himself

Filmographer Taylor Hickman has been steadily charting the music scene with his video series B-Side Sessions for about five years now. With over 50 episodes of the series in his pocket, and more on the way, Hickman plans to continue building the series with more music and by expanding into other avenues … eventually.

Hickman began filming performances of artists soon after he moved to the Charleston area, starting with indie-rockers Whitehall. “We met up and filmed a live session, and the quality on my end was pretty shitty,” Hickman laughed. “We put it out and no one really watched it.”

It wasn’t until Hickman reached out to local-favorite and nationally recognized indie act SUSTO that B-Sides began to pick up steam. “B-Sides Sessions became this exercise in networking for me,” he said. “I wasn’t really making money off of it, but I was meeting a lot of people in the music industry.”

B-Sides is often filmed in various locations — outdoors, in studios, apartments, bars, just to name a few. Thanks to the connections he created, Hickman had access to spaces like Truphonic and Fairweather studios.

“It’s always been very collaborative,” he said. “I’d have people helping me with the audio side of things, and then, I’d be running the video. A networking, logistical creative outlet is what it was for a long time.”
Over the course of the series, Hickman has filmed artists such as Florida Man and Terraphonics. Some performances are big and full, like the set of videos he did for Slim S.O.U.L., the City Paper Music Awards’ 2020 artist of the year.

But, others are quiet and intimate. Hickman finds the subtle power of framing through only a few different shots of Kennedy Williams during an acoustic performance of her song, “Peace.” The lighting and atmosphere in the video for Grace McNally’s rendition of “Capricho Arabe” adds plenty to the classical composition with little effort.
Some find an equilibrium, like Brett Nash’s loud electric solo performance of Secret Guest’s “Tomorrow’s Been Done.”

Hickman told the City Paper he doesn’t believe he was very adept at filmmaking in the series’ early days, but he’s seen himself grow over the years. “Since the pandemic started, I’ve had a lot of downtime, and I’ve tried to fill it with working and being more creative,” he said. “I got really into the cinematography side of filmmaking and lighting. That’s kind of my goal moving forward — being more of a filmmaker or cinematographer or director of photography.”

In one of the upcoming sessions, Hickman filmed Whitehall frontman Paddy McKiernan for a round of solo tunes. Hickman said the session is a cool juxtaposition between the first and most recent videos. “The cinematography of that [Whitehall] session wasn’t very good, and now I get to see Paddy five years later and actually give a damn of how the filmmaking side of it looks,” he said.

B-Side Sessions have historically been pretty “go with the flow” affairs, Hickman said. “There’s never really a shot list or anything, it all happens kind of organically,” he said. “I think I’m trying to be more pointed and think about the images more moving forward.”

Hickman said he wants to grow B-Sides as a brand and production company in the future, featuring live music, commercials, narratives, music videos and documentaries. “I want to really double down and focus on B-Sides as more than just a live session thing,” he said.