band member Jon Cauztik sent me the above photograph last summer. It's of his father who passed away, and the music and lyrics wrestle with this a great deal. the name of the LP would be "Proud", in the hopes that his "old man" is listening with pride, and for good measure, the Have Nots have really turned up the volume for this record. they wanted an LP that reflected everything they were going through and singing about; be it life, death, politics, love, abuse, traveling, and everything in between. my number one goal was doing not only the music justice, but also a very powerful urge to honor the father; both as the man who had passed away, as well as the boy in the photo long ago listening on his headphones.
one thing i couldn't wait to do was finally get an opportunity to play with some textures i had been stockpiling! both of us avid fans of old records, my good friend, designer Jiri Seger, has taken me to some pretty great places in NYC to hunt down dusty treasures. one day i collected armfuls of only the rattiest, filthiest, most stained and aged record sleeves available, and the shop was all too happy to be rid of them. i scanned each gorgeous archeological find in 4 pieces each, and then reassembled them in the computer, biding my time for the opportunity to use them in a meaningful way.
the above version was one of the more refined starts. here, i was thinking of the way sepias and colors (water & pencil) were once applied to old photos, and i imagined that the old colorings were somehow merging with age. Weathering with time to symbolically color the photo itself; each color represented something else in the picture. It was also important to me to imagine that despite the record not being available until 2 months from now, one could imagine unearthing this vinyl treasure more like an artifact of a previous generation or two.
(please feel free to click on the following images for a larger view)
with direction and input from everyone, we tweaked and toned everything and continued the whole "gatefold" design. I really wanted it to look like an old sleeve with the photos on top, and somehow typed on, and then left over generations. (if you look hard, you may even find a strand of my fiancé's red hair between the layers). Everyone between the label and the band was so amazing and enthusiastic every step of the way
the inside of the gatefold is the band's tribute to their home, Boston, and evokes all the themes of traveling, both leaving and arriving, witnessing of and missing out on, contained within the music itself
for an insert sleeve to contain the record itself , we thought we would continue the idea of old photo albums with each song imagined as an important news-clipping from yesteryear.
again, feel free to click these for better views, but here you can get a more detailed look-see. i had painstakingly combined layers of regularly evolving liner notes & lyrics with old aged papers i had also assembled over time. each clipping contains pieces of at least 3 different papers. once the text was placed and destroyed accordingly, i remembered to faintly show the transparent markings of the writings on the other side, not to mention occasionally distort the text wherever the wrinkles and creases deemed appropriate.
the downright magical icing on the cake? an incredible e-mail from Jon:
"Just realized that the randomly picked release date of this record, with the title track about my dad, and featuring a picture of him on the cover, falls on the 15th anniversary of his passing...how f....ng cool is that?"
this experience does not stop being incredibly meaningful and special, and one that makes me immensely proud to have been given the chance to work on "Pride". thanks guys!
finally, Happy Birthday to both my good friend and amazing illustrator Chris Whetzel who turned 30 today, and my own father, whom i am incredibly proud of, tomorrow.