The link above will take you to YouTube, where you’ll see the evolution of the piece seen below.
I’m friends with the local Toronto band Symphony Of Nine, who are now writing and recording their third album. This piece was done for the forthcoming album, tying into their song “Change”.
As I told Scott, the singer and songwriter in the band, I don’t believe in matching images (be it in music videos or album art) too literally with the song or songs. When you do, I think you limit the imagery the audience associates with the song. The audience should be allowed to create their own video in their head when the song plays and to conjure up imagery. Good album artwork, a dying art form in my humble opinion, will meet the audience halfway. It will suggest ideas and images, perhaps linking themes in the lyrics. No rule is absolute and so-called tombstone covers, with little to no imagery (such The Beatles “White Album” and Metallica’s “Black Album”), can be inspired approaches that elevate an extreme.
What you don’t want to do either is bore the audience. How many great album have a simple publicity still of the artist(s) on the cover? A lot of these in popular music are boring as hell. Some can look good, if stylized or artfully set up, but most are just bland. I see these and wonder if the record company could not afford a decent art director.
My approach with this piece was to evoke a simple, but elegant scene while referencing the song laterally. It helped that I created piece while only knowing the title and that style of the song. I also wanted to draw visual parallels to an earlier piece I did for the album called “Stage Door.” Not having heard the song could have been a hindrance, but since I wasn’t seeking a literal interpretation even if I had heard it, I felt free to suggest the song in the album art instead, with the posters on the wall. The details on the poster in the piece sneak in allusions to the band and the music, as they do in “Stage Door.” I won’t explain every detail, but a familiarity with Symphony Of Nine and their previous albums, as well as the band themselves, will reveal some of the more oblique nods.
Here are two of the songs from the album so far:
And here are “Change” and “Stage Door”…