Sunday, February 28, 2010

2 mixes for cash

johnny that is

(thanks Curt!)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

what time is it?

Marceline, for a tribute book (and possibly poster) for Cartoon Network's "adventure time"

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Riot Before

it has been a busy month or two for me in the studio, but i am just about wrapped up on one of the most ambitious records i've ever gotten the pleasure of working on for The Riot Before's new LP "Rebellion", soon to be out on the amazing Paper+Plastick Records!

before Christmas, the band got in touch with me with a challenging concept and layout that really spoke to me personally. Dostoyevsky wrote once that "One can hardly live in Rebellion, and I want to live." In punk rock, rebellion and discontent are valid vessels and outlets, but it too often doubles as a limiting cause and effect. As we grow up, and begin to learn how the world works, and a desire to contribute to the world as well as shape it, it becomes more and more apparent that it is a restricting lifestyle with no growth or change, inwards or outwards. The band wanted a record that, utilizing die-cut windows, would appear almost as a punk rock cliche, but would open up to a more mature wider concept; one that would be a primer for the listener to understand the searching and crucial qualities to the music and lyrics. this would be a challenge conceptually, as well as in design, not to mention that it deals very much with things i think about regularly as i try and evolve and impact myself.

if you need or like, please feel free to click on these images for a better view


So first, i thought about ways to show variations on all these themes:

as i struggled to get a concept down first (knowing the layout and 'revealing' aspect of the record would come about after), i asked for lyrics to draw from (literally and figuratively) :

One thing the band liked was perhaps having the cover look like cliched iconography, like a rising fist, or a flag, only to open up to a larger more startling scene. so we took the idea of 'the flag of rebellion" and the potential aftermath being more destructive, while a lone figure attempts to build something greater from the rubble

so now we had what we wanted to say, but what about the cover? how could we lure the listener into thinking one thing, only to realize upon opening that it is about so much more?
we felt there was so much about rubble and building that perhaps we could have our typical flag, with a die-cut window that appeared crisp and pristine, among a weathered and cracking, but still upright, wall:

feeling we were headed in the right direction, the cover pencils and etched logo were created:

Thankfully, everyone in the band and label realized that this was not going to make for an interesting cover, and no matter how nice we made the inside jacket, we had to make the cover something people would want to pick up and open. so we pushed ourselves to find a better concept that might allude to the "before" to the inside's "after" :
so if the inside was hard actuality, perhaps the outside could be the optimistic passion:
and we roughed some logos for the band that might look good outside of the context of the record (which didn't quite come together yet):

finally, combining ideas together, i executed the final front & back covers.

(please click to see the larger art!)

then the inside! this record was SUCH a fun challenge; i loved every second of the process. i really had to push myself to think about and design every aspect of 4 panels all at the same time, to make sure it all lined up, or else our concept and window reveals wouldn't work. here, the flag would be tattered, and the album name "rebellion" would change drastically in new context:

and the final watercolor painting

(please click to see the larger art!)

this is a mock up of what the final 12" LP cover will look like in your hands :

and 12" records have to have cool labels. the vinyl junkie in me couldn't resist asking Paper+Plastick what they had in mind for the actual vinyl itself, and i think everybody's going to be blown away when they see the multiple variations (including blue and white swirled vinyl, as well as orange with red splatter!)

now for the insert! the record itself would be housed in a nice sleeve, and the band thought it would be cool to see a blueprint, continuing the idea that our central figure would still plan to build out of hope from the ashes. placing a lot of words in finite space is always tricky, but once i figured out how to get everything into 2 square feet, i began the laborious but incredibly important touch of doing all the type by hand. i am embarrassed to tell you that this may have taken me as long as the paintings to do, and while there were a great many long days and late nights--all gratifying--working on this album, my hand had to take a lot of breaks and i even iced down my wrist one night:
but what an outcome! i regret nothing! i took a lot of attention creating folds and crinkles from scans and playing in photoshop to divide each song and section as if it were folds on the blueprint, and hiding actual architectural drawings (like stairs) behind

i can't WAIT to see the final product. rest assured i will post photos when i get it. i am so grateful to have gotten to work on such a creative and ambitious record, not to mention the joy of doing exactly what i love doing the most -- every aspect of elaborately designed LPs! just as important is how thankful i am to work with such amazing, nice, and like minded friends in both the band and the record label. and did i mention...The Riot Before rock?!? this record is going to be incredible, all bias aside.

thank you for bearing with my lengthy process blog, but i was really proud to work on this one

take care