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.
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. 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. Finally, combining ideas together, i executed the final front & back covers:
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:
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!)