Empathy for the Devil
Gigs, Posters & Rock’n’Roll
It’s always been great to work with real authentic rockers, no matter what they do — stoner, hardcore, garage rock, blues trash, doom metal, whatever.
Message from the Clergy: Thou shalt be contented working for the Holy Spirit of Rock’n’Roll.
Those hairy (sometimes) tattooed (or not) dudes are big-hearted, amiable, and receptive gentlemen of talent. On the designer’s side, it’s all about fathoming the music to gain the superpower to conceptualize it visually. Listen, get into it, talk to the musicians, listen, start sketching while listening, have a beer with the bass player and the singer, listen deeply again, scan some stuff, etc…
Regarding the joint, if I may say, we’re all creative people dealing with one another: creativity is the first key. Yet I am the supplier, they are the client: empathy is the second key. The point is to be able to raise mutual trust and friendly respect.
To this end, I trippingly come back to the band, once I have listened to the usual demo cd, with feelings, moods, ideas and concepts. In fact they hear that I can not only feel but also understand their music.
Indeed, I make it mine. I have to. They need know that I am inspired by the album because they want me to add the proper visual layer to it. They need figure out that I am about to raise and develop a visual concept that is in total symbiosis with the music and the album concept.
The rest is usually pure pleasure. Yet I am getting lost in my own writing.
Back to the actual point of this article:
Working with El Kablo Licht und Ton, the greatest, ultimate punk rock’n’roll trash garage sound engineer is not the same story. When we first started collaborating… aw, we were having a pint at the — now defunct — Byblos Bar in Lausanne. His brief has been very clear, and it never changed so far: “What do you wanna talk about? I want it punk. Do what thou wilt.” This is all I got at the time.
Post-scriptum: the bands are happy with the Flyermann-El Kablo posters (usually) as well as the venues (not always)
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