I was recently commissioned by Sheffield duo Rophonic, to produce the cover art to their new album, In With the Out Crowd. With an advance preview of the album, I was able to immerse myself in the pastoral and hazy world of Rophonic, and there came the challenge of creating a piece of cover art to match the music.
Guitarist and vocalist Peter Rophone’s brief was “this is the world where dreams are made”, and that both band members should be relatively small. The rest was up to me.
We initially looked at a variety of different artists for inspiration, particularly English Romantic painter John Martin, whose work we both admire. From this, came the conclusion that there should be a golden dusky sunset.
After working on several very different concepts, I hit upon the right direction, with what is on first impressions, a warm, surreal and dreamy landscape. Yet on closer inspection, it looks somewhat dystopian. There are strange buildings towering into the horizon, and the scene is framed by ruins. Rophonic themselves stand among the crumbling ruins, but both figures are overgrown with vines and entangled with creepers, as if they’ve been there for some time… perhaps in perpetual performance!
With tracks such as Welcome Back to the Afterlife, The Door Into Summer or the sublime Curtain Call which closes the album, the music does indeed pose certain questions as to our existence and what comes next. I wanted to reflect this in the strange world I had created – which is part digital painting and part photo montage.
The artwork was designed to continue across the front and back cover of the album packaging, plus there would be a different scene on the inside. Having created the main panoramic piece for the cover, the next challenge was applying the text.
I decided to use a transparency effect for the typography. White text (or any other colour for that mater) simply cut through the artwork and jarred with the whole thing. This needed to be subtle, yet legible and in-keeping with the mood of the whole project.
In With the Out Crowd is available on CD and digital download via Bandcamp.