I told you last time, that I will publish a little cassette edition. Meanwhile I have changed my mind a bit and will also release it on CD and divide the edition into two batches of fifty pieces: Fifty cassettes and fifty CDs. Thinking about the way to publish an album in 2018 I was also tempted by Vinyl, but Vinyl is really to pricey for a tiny independent artist. One of the biggest advantages of vinyl is the large format and its ability to showcase your artwork in a suitable way. Therefore I looked for a solution to present the booklet better than on a small cassette or CD. There might be also listeners, who don’t care about elaborated graphics and would prefer a stripped down version. So I have decided to come up with a very flexible offer for the customer and release three separate items:
- A simple CD without a booklet, but packed in a Digifile
- A cassette, also stripped down, without a booklet or other additional content, but professionally produced and packed
- A separate booklet, more like a real book, with a hard cover and a larger format
The customer will be allowed to combine the three products. People with low budget will get the Cassette or the CD for a very reasonable price, because I could save costs for the booklet. People with a higher budget, or more interested in my work, can order the CD and the Cassette in combination with the booklet or even all three offerings (Super-package).
What you can expect from the artwork
A long time I wrapped my brain around the question, which kind of artwork could be suitable for my new style. Unfortunately I have created a crossover of several different genres. You can recognise elements of Metal, EDM, Avantgarde, Experimental, Classical music. Within the Metal genre I would claim influences of such different styles as Progressive Rock, Black Metal, Power Metal, Trash-and Mathmetal. Each of these genres use very specific styles of artworks, which make it easier for listeners to detect the desired genre. You can easily recognise a Death Metal cover with the typical sharp and pointed logos, which are always hard to read, the depressive, dark and often evil look of Black Metal artworks, or the more positive phantasy-vibe of many Progressive Rock or Progressive Metal releases. There is for sure an expectation regarding cover-artwork and you should wether ignore nor disappoint it. A very good example of a wrong cover artwork is my own 2004 album “Straight to the brain”. Please look at it and try to imagine the music on that album.
Today with a distance of more than ten years I must admit: It looks very much like an artwork for a Punk album, more precisely I would even state, that it looks like a Fun -Punk cover. Nobody staring at this cover would expect a crude melange of Progressive and Hardrock basing on famous american poetry. There are many more reasons, why this album not became an instant classic, but for sure this was one of them. But we are all getting older and wiser and in 2018 I am able to choose more consciously. But back to the initial problem: How could I mirror the essence of my style in the artwork concept? What kind of associations I want to evoke? If you also struggle with this questions I want to recommend to collect a few adjectives, which describe your music best. Everybody knows those ” keyword-clouds” on the side-bar of blogs and I am sure such a word-cloud can help to find a concept. Let’s start. For my actual style I would choose:
I want, that my album looks a bit different. I imagined a pure white on black design inspired by the dark character of Crane and the look of old illustrations and wood cuts. Before I had experimented with computer generated LEGO, but though I could create some dark LEGO artworks I realised, that LEGO could not be a good match for a dark, experimental Metal album.
It had been suitable for the electronic element of the album, but the main focus are the guitars and a serious heaviness and you would never associate this with LEGO. Second the results look way too polished and clean for what I want to achieve. However I discovered this way the amazing LEGO-generator at Mecabricks. If you are looking for professional looking LEGO, this is the way to go. So at last I came back to the white on black concept and I imagined hand drawn illustrations and lettering.
If you look again on the “straight to the brain”-artwork you know, why I will not draw myself. I remembered on a friend from soundcloud, who is an amazing drawer. So today I can proudly announce, that I will team up with Alexander Stanton from U.K. aka “Wou-wou and the worming”. Don’t hesitate to visit his blog here. You can already admire a low-quality-sample below:
Alexander is able to catch exactly the look I was longing for and I am very confident, that we will end with something really special. He has already drawn twenty excellent illustrations for twenty songs on the new album and will also take care of the cover artwork and handwrite the lyrics. His work exceeds my expectations by far and I am very satisfied about the result. The illustration above was made for the poem “I stood upon a high place” by Stephen Crane:
I stood upon a high place,
And saw, below, many devils
Running, leaping,and carousing in sin.
One looked up, grinning,
And said, “Comrade! Brother!”
So I am thrilled to present Crane’s poems (or lines as he used to say) from a visual and audible view at once.
While I am already preparing for the production I stumbled about many problems regarding “printing white on black”, which I want to share with you, because maybe you will be confronted with the same challenges some day. As a learner about printing I thought, that it would be possible to print the white drawings on black paper. Soon I learned, that this task is not that easy, because today’s sophisticated digital printers are not able to manage this (Well, the printers in the consumer-line). Modern printers would only print on white paper with black color. Therefore I looked for possibilities besides expensive, professional solutions. The german company “ghost” has recognized this hole in the market and is offering white toner for many consumer Laser-printers. If you are lucky and have already a compatible machine at home, you only have to buy a toner-cartridge from “ghost”. Just the price-tag of 200 Euros could hinder your creativity. They know, that they are in a strong position. I would really invest 200 Euro to print at home, but unfortunately I would have to buy also another printer. Therefore I have dropped the idea to print white on black and will realize it in the usual, modern way. I plan a 48 pages booklet, 21x21cm wide and will likely order it from a professional company, because if you stay within common standards it’s not that expensive.
The CD-edition is already ordered. I chose Deine.CD, the same company, which I used for the last album. I like their easy and sleek Online-configurator and took the chance to get a special price. Fifty CDs packed in a four-page-digifile will cost around 200 Euro.
The cassette-production is still far from any decisions. I studied the offers of some companies. Most of them are located in the U.K. and most likely I will give the job to bandcds, because of their ability to print directly on a cassette, which looks pretty cool in my opinion:
I will choose white printing on a black cassette (on cassettes it’s possible) in combination with a standard case.
This time I also want to set a release-date much later than I have finished the product. On Bandcamp you can observe, how many bands offer a pre-sale and are first generating a buzz before they open the sale. It’s a clever method to create high expectations and to boost the desire of customers. If you are interested in electronic instruments you probably have heard about the upcoming OP-Z of the Swedish company “Teenage engineering”. They have teased their customers that long with release dates and appetizers, that I guess the unit will be sold out in one day. What, you don’t have pre-ordered one for just 599$? You are really behind!