Happy Wednesday! How are ya? Oh? That’s kind of cool. So, wait…you’ve just been riding around on a moped with a nine-iron yelling at kids going on hay-bale rides for a week? Are you a monster?! Why are you doing that? Jesus. Just because you can’t afford a vintage clown outfit. You’re sick.
This week’s blog features one of my favorite bands around right now, Mandolin Orange. Today is all about the making of the artwork and brand identity behind their new release, “Blindfaller.”
First, let me start by saying the entire group of people I worked with on this project have quickly become some amazing friends and people I admire on the highest levels. Andrew and Emily (Mandolin Orange) are kind, funny (literally hilarious), easy-going, and profoundly talented. Their manager, Jimmy, is absolutely on par with the hilarity, while also being kind, he provided whole-hearted approach to every step of this wonderful album, and was extremely direct in communication. Side note: Thank you, Jimmy…I can’t tell you how much I appreciate a well thought-out, and simply communicated idea. Genuinely, I wish the world worked more like these three folks.
Outside of just business, Mandolin Orange is an INCREDIBLE band. I think in a past blog I mentioned that they’re the only band I’ve reached out to to do work for, and I couldn’t be happier that I did.
Ok. Enough niceties. On to what we did: Firstly, we were a bit stuck on a title for the record, but we knew we wanted something revolving around a forest and the National Park system. So, I did some researchin’ and discovered my favorite book to date, “The Holy Old Mackinaw.” People just don’t write like that anymore!! I literally love the book so much that if you visit my house, I’ll most likely make you read a passage aloud. I recorded one of my great friends from Chicago, Nathan Hosner (also known as the narrator from each character’s ending in Mortal Kombat X) reading it. He’s an incredible actor that came out of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Acting in England. Check it out below. But, yeah…that book is the BEST. Essentially I was looking for logger terms from the 20’s/30’s. We found a ton. So, after throwing a bunch of words together and going back and forth between band, management, and myself, the band decided on “Blindfaller” and we were off and running.
I built their cover and inside images down in my little basement. I started with a piece of plywood and some styrofoam on it. Merne came over and dipped little tree branches in flock (that’s nerd-talk for tiny fibers that look like leaves) and I built up some terrain. We put all the trees on and made one tree this fantastic red. My original thought was to light the single tree so it looked like one element of powerful growth in this wild, craggy forest. However, as we progressed through the design, we realized we needed to make the forest vibe a bit darker. The band pitched a forest fire…so, we went with it. I threw some tiny Christmas lights behind the set and silhouetted the trees using a combination of a fog machine and dry ice to make a fake forest fire. It came out kinda neat, eh?
There’s a cool video about the process below. I hope you enjoy today’s images!