With just two weeks until They Don’t Deserve Me is out, I thought I’d throw some light on the striking artwork.
At the end of 2018, I sat back and surveyed my currently released work. There was the Triggerfish single: my pensive 23 year old visage gazing out of the black and white. There was the White Finger E.P.: my profile set in teutonic pose against dark-blue light. There was the Hungry single: my body wrapped up against a frigid October night, shot through tree branches against a rising slab of concrete… I saw the beauty of all this artwork and I was proud. However, I also recognised that their shared atramental style threatened to tie me into a fixed artistic stance – a melancholic, sombre output lacking humour, relief or levity. Because of this, I wanted my next release to challenge that visual first impression and left-foot my listeners before they even hit ‘play’…
As I mixed TDDM earlier this year, I came across an interview with Greek born artist Constantine, conducted by Graeme MacDonald, who actually shot and designed the layout for White Finger back in 2016.
The brief video piqued my interest. I checked out Constantine’s Instagram and found a slew of arresting portraits depicting hyper stylised faces: all big noses, magnetic eyes and high cheekbones. I thought this kind of work would translate well into the square format of a record cover, so I got in touch.
A few months later and the artist and I were sending emails back and forth, discussing the general tone, colour palette and composition of the piece required. Once this was locked in, I sent Constantine some demo shots to give him something from which to work. The general vibe was haughty, arrogant and aloof. The clue is in the title of the song!
Below are examples of the picture as it evolved from a photo taken in my living room, to line drawings, to something resembling the finished article.
I wanted hot pink for the background but Constantine wasn’t sure it worked with the tones of my skin, hair and fur jacket. We settled on a muted orange, which elegantly tied the image together. Attention was then turned towards the other sections of artwork.
Constantine rendered a cucumber in his own inimitable style for the record’s A-side label, paying homage to TDDM’s lyric:
“They say I’m a loser man, well I got news for ya, I’m as cool as a cucumber”.
As Approach Me Like A Lion was due to be pressed into the B-side, he painted a minimalist lion silhouette for this label. Finally, for the back cover itself, a crowd of onlookers were depicted, representing the “They” of the title song. And so, after about two months of back and forth, the artwork was finished.
Through his use of exaggerated facial features, bold colours and minimalist composition, I think Constantine has captured the essence of TDDM in paint. The artwork is as bold as the song, as punchy as the production and as divisive as the subject matter. I see my overtly stylised face as a reflection of the lyrics’ fun-house reflection of my ego, recognisable but distorted and over-blown. Indeed, the very act of commissioning this self-portrait felt grandiose and audacious; the work of some C17th Duke transplanted into 2019.
See it up close by pre-ordering a record from my Bandcamp for just £5 using the button below.
You can also pre-save They Don’t Deserve Me on Spotify using the following button. This adds the single to your library, but it won’t be playable until the release day of 13.10.19.
Finally, if you are keen to check out They Don’t Deserve Me before release day 13.10.19, watch the sequential teasers released last week to get a feel for the track and impending music video.
More news to follow