It’s not a secret that it took me more than 3 years to release my latest album. The recording was mostly done by the spring of 2012. But the release was on the 30th of January 2014. So what happened?
The following story is not about the years that passed, and what stuff I went through to finish the recording. But this is a story about the 4 weeks before the release. Because in those weeks I made the decisions and the artwork for Songs from the Treeless Forest and Briiidges.
I listened to the final, unmastered recordings for the album. Finally time to make the artwork, and it wasn’t much time. As I decided to move fast into releasing it. I had been waiting enough with this record and this time, the record wouldn’t be more about the music than the artwork. As “Compassion is Terrorism” was both about the music, the message and the artwork to spread that message.
As the record was recorded by two different sound-engineers, and had basicly 2 sounds, i started off wondering what the form of the record should be. If I’d chose a vinyl-record, I could put the different sounds on the different sides of the record. But would I sell enough records to make this affordable? As my musical style sort of changed completely, I would have to start over: do new sorts of shows in new sorts of places, maybe. And do these people listen to vinyl records? Or do they prefer CD? Or is a download-code enough? Or should I add a download-code to the vinyl record, so that everyone could buy and listen to it (who owns or has access to a computer). I decided I could basicly put a downloadcode with anything. One of the biggest advantages in digitalisation is exactly that! Basicly we don’t need to put our records out on plastic disks anymore. We can release our records on about anything at all, if you want to serve those who love a physical record.
Ofcourse: part of the nostalchia of listening to a physical record is where you hold the thing that holds the music and the placing it on- to into the player to hear the music. The smell of the ink of the record-sleeve. It all plays a role. But we’re in a new era and I want to try new things and find out what my fans think of it. So I decided to split the record into two parts: a CD that contains 8 songs and comes with an arty booklet. And a t’shirt in different sizes with a download-code attached to it for 4 songs.
I had 2 and a half weeks left before the release when I started on the artwork.
This record is about letting go and moving on. As the previous record was straight forward and mainly political, this one is record about friendships, relationships and other ships. So instead of writing an essay or giving away the lyrics or the meaning of them, I decided to make a drawing for each song.
For the cd I decided to make a small artwork for each song that gives away at least a small idea of what kinda feeling I got when I wrote it. Or something I pictured while listening to it.
As I used to work at a printshop in downtown Haarlem, it was possible for me to print the books exactly as I wanted, cut them, fold them and put them together in the way that I saw fit. Only I had too little time to think about the order in which I placed the drawings. That could have been better, looking back on it. It’s not my best album-artwork ever, but it doesn’t need to be. I had a great time assembling it and planning all.
I used different kinds of paper: Biotop in 2 different weights for the full-color prints and brown craft-paper for the black-and-white prints.
The last week I spent assembling the booklets together with 2 friends and later with my lovely sister to cut the whale that serves holding the CD. What an amount of work for one week! But we managed. I finished slipping the CD-s the day before the release party. The title of this shirt-record was decided by the drawing I made using three “i”-s to serve the image of the bridge. The bridge is a free interpretation of the bridge I love most in my second home-town: Budapest. The Szabatság Híd. The total amount of time I spent on that bridge since I first set foot in Budapest (about 10 years ago) contemplating on so many things, adds up to many hours and maybe even days.
I looked for a screenprintingcompany nearby that also (say to) care about the environment. And who were able to print on good-looking eco-friendly t’shirts.
For the shirt I designed 2 labels. One holding the downloadcode and the other one covering the credits and the names of the songs on that record… shirt…
And last but not least, to attract some extra attention to the release we recorded a video with a couple of friends for the song: “For Friends”. Hermance van Dijk did the camerawork and I did most of the editing.