The Hospital Records website and I have been on a long journey since I began working with the label. I’ve been planning on writing this piece about it for what must be several years now, but the thing with working on the internet is there’s never a finished point. You can’t carry on tinkering with a product once it’s been printed, but you can when you publish something on the internet! We launched a major redesign this winter, so now it’s had a few weeks to settle in, it finally seems like a good time to look back at how it evolved.
Back in 2005, before I got my foot in the door, their sites looked like this:
They had their own website, which could only be updated by one member of staff, and their webshop was run by a third party. Oh how I remember that store – I used to buy white labels from it as soon as they were available, only to regret being impatient and not waiting a few weeks for the full artwork. Sometimes I would buy both anyway – Sainsbury’s must have paid me well if I afford so much Vinyl back then! Read the rest of this entry »
Considering that it’s probably the biggest project I’ve had the pleasure of working on to date, I’ve come to realise I haven’t said much about the work I’ve been doing for Netsky over the past twelve months!
2012 has really shaped up to be our Belgian friend’s year- I remember being astonished at how quickly he ascended over the course of his debut album in 2010, but that was nothing in comparison to his follow-up! The sheer expanse of this project has really brought it together – it’s not just record covers; the artwork goes much further! Read the rest of this entry »
Aside from having to say goodbye to my old Vespa, one of the projects I worked on this Autumn was that of Enei’s debut album, Machines, on Critical Music. When I was given the heads-up, the first thing that struck me about the project was just what a great title Machines is!
I immediately thought ‘I like machines!’ and began dreaming up all the ridiculous things I could draw for the artwork: Washing machines, sewing machines, vending machines, washing machines, fax machines, robots, washing machines, salami-slicing machines and so on. Did I mention I wanted to put a load of washing machines on his album cover?
The daydreams didn’t last long, and from the giddy highs of domestic machines, I fell to the low of realising that all of my typical inclinations would be way too kitsch for the album, and my usual tact of just-getting-on-with-it wasn’t getting me very far either. Read the rest of this entry »
Matt Logistics’ fourth studio album ‘Fear Not’ is out this week, and once again, I have had the pleasure of doing the artwork for the project!
I love working on Logistics albums as I so often get the opportunity to go the extra mile with my artwork – starting from his debut in 2006 where I soldered together 750 lights into the album cover to 2009′s Crash, Bang, Wallop, which I hand-painted a canvas for, Fear Not has become a multimedia art project involving sleeves, stickers, animations, videos, hand-painted T-shirts and even Rubik’s Cubes. Read the rest of this entry »
This winter I worked concurrently on two album projects: John B’s Light Speed and High Contrast’s The Agony & The Ecstasy. Both projects are for different artists and evolved in different ways, but since the art was completed and wheels were set in motion, I’ve been noticing increasing unintended parallels between the two projects and their artwork.
Both album covers were driven by the artists themselves and both had different motivations- High Contrast rather controversially wanted the baroque Caravaggio classic The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew to represent The Agony & The Ecstasy, while John B had some press photos done last year complete with full make-up and styling, one of which he wanted to use for his album cover.
Both albums use transitional serif typefaces – I tend not to use serifs very often in my line of work, so two at once was a rarity! HC pushed for Perpetua on his – I have to admit this wouldn’t have been my first choice (the upper-case U having a tail bugs me) – I was angling for either Garamond (historically appropriate) or Bodoni (classical Italian), but Perpetua works in the entirety of the project. John left it up to me so I took the extravagant haute-fashion stylings of his photos and decided Baskerville fit that aesthetic and the more grown-up sound of this album quite well.
As well as both being driven by the artists’ own motivations for the cover image and both using transitional serif typefaces for different reasons, the most curious parallel that struck me was in this interview John B did with This Is Drum & Bass:
TiD&B: If you could compare your sound, and your new album to perhaps a work of art, what would it be?
John B: No idea… Maybe one of those crazy Renaissance scenes where there’s loads of stuff going on; someone dying from a dagger wound, a bunch of sexy Renaissance ladies with their boobies showing, some angels, and a lion or two.
I’m reasonably sure John hadn’t seen HC’s album cover at the time he did this interview, but it struck me as curious that he pretty much described it (minus the boobies and lions, of course) to analogise his own sound!
Lastly, both albums were a long time coming! It has been six years since Electrostep and five since Tough Guys Don’t Dance, both of which facts are a slightly alarming reminder of how long I have been doing my job now!
I’m pleased to announce (or rather acknowledge as it has been public for a couple of weeks now) that NHS200 is not actually a salmon slicer but a book!
This project has been my baby for the past several months. Making a book of all of the art and other visual stuff from the label is something that Chris and I have wanted to do for a long time, with the idea being suggested several times at Hospital over the past few years. More notes and photos after the fold! Read the rest of this entry »
Tom Chambers is a man with a camera. He’s been taking some great photos and videos for Hospital for a little bit now, and became a resident documenter for Hospitality while at uni in Brighton. His videos for us have been smashing it, like this video from Hospitality at Lovebox Festival this summer, doing a great job of capturing the atmosphere of our parties.
For his final project at University, he made a documentary about Hospital! I was very honoured when he asked me to be a part of it; he even missioned it on public transport all the way out to Rickmansworth to come and see me. I guess it was worth his time though, as he used a lot of footage from our chat in the end result – somehow I ended up getting considerably more air time than Chris and Tony even did, and they’re the bosses of the label!
We were all really blown away by the end result at Hospital; so much that we hassled Tom to let us release it as part of our Fifteen Years Of Hospital extravaganza. I am a bit freaked out by the sound of my own voice, I feel like I say some stupid stuff in it (sorry Edgar, I don’t mean anything bad about you or your job, I promise!!) and I seem to not bother finishing my sentences a few times too, but if you turn a blind eye to my flaws you’ll find a really tidy little documentary.
So if you’re interested in our world, check it out! It’s a great little look into the Hospital ethos of fun, and shows a little glimpse into how we work and why we do it too. It features contributions from a selection of staff, artists and general friends of the label – thankfully it’s not all about me, or even I would’ve embargoed it!
And big up to Tom for making it!!
This week has seen the release of Unquote’s debut album Reverberation Box, an album project I have had the pleasure of working on over the past couple of months. The artwork I created for this album has been greeted so warmly I thought I’d show it a bit of love on Notes!
Unquote is a St-Petersburger signed to Med School after he had a couple of fantastic tracks on big sister Hospital’s Future Sound Of Russia project in 2009. His debut single, the substantially titled ‘Hide Your Tears Because We Are In Heaven‘ came out last year, and my artwork for this is where Reverberation Box started.
I made this little (or maybe not that little) ‘U Gotta B Crazy’ button today, to help drive a bit of interest in London Elektricity’s new Remixes!! album. Who can resist hitting a big red button like that?! It’s ridiculously simple, but the nice thing about it is it uses HTML5 for browsers that support it (AKA Safari and Chrome), and falls back to Flash for browsers that don’t support HTML5 in the same way (damn you, mozilla hippies!).
I’m told it also works on iOS too, but I can’t really confirm that – the old iPhone I have here is still on iOS 3.x, where it doesn’t seem to work quite as well as I would’ve liked.
Feel compelled to put it on your site?
Sure! Here’s the embed code:
U Gotta B Crazy!!
Although it’s the obvious kind of content for me to be writing about, I’m trying to avoid making my blog into nothing but a series of case-studies into the latest album I have artworked. Having said that, here I am talking about my latest work to hit the music industry- London Elektricity’s ‘Yikes!’. It’s a good’un! Read the rest of this entry »