As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been doing some work for New Street Records. Last week my position as Head of Graphic Design was confirmed for next year, which is great because it means I can spend more time messing around with fonts and crayons and calling it work.
I was lucky enough to collaborate with the brilliant Versatyl & Pilgrim on the artwork for their new single, Lessons/Underground Sound, which is out today! You can find it on iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and Beats Music, so there’s no excuse not to give it a listen; I’ll even embed the video for Underground Sound right here:
I had great fun working with the guys on this, and they were full of ideas. They have strong roots in Birmingham, but rap about global issues, and wanted something to reflect this.
The final design took the form of a mixed media digital collage. The skyline in the top left incorporates some of Birmingham’s most distinctive buildings, including the Bullring, the BT Tower, the Custard Factory, and of course Old Joe. Surrounding the globe are social justice hashtags selected by the guys themselves, reflecting recent worldwide campaigns for change. The logo text is modified from a piece of street art produced for V&P by GraffitiArtist.com. We created two versions – one for each track.
All elements of the design (apart from the text in the bottom left corner) were hand drawn to “keep things organic”, in the words of Pilgrim. I had so much fun working on this – and the tracks themselves are great! If you want to hear more from V&P, you can find some of their previous releases here, including their Wax N Facts mixtape from last year. They’re one to watch!
In an effort to keep up with whats going on at the University of Birmingham while I’m on my industry year, I’ve got involved in a really cool project thanks to their Circles of Influence campaign. I’m really excited to be the head of In-House Graphic Design for New Street Records, a brand new student-run record label in Birmingham. We will be seeking out a range of student artists, and help give them the springboard that they need.
Keep an eye out for more news hear soon about our first signings, but in the meantime, here’s the poster for the launch night THIS THURSDAY:
If you’re in Birmingham, I highly recommend you head along – it’s set to be a great night. In the meantime, you can find out more about New Street Records on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
It’s been a while!
Sorry for the lack of updates – I’ve just had my last exam for the year (Bio-organic Chemistry, for anyone who’s interested) so here I am, enjoying a cool glass of post-exam freedom. After weeks of revising, I’m finally free to continue writing self important posts about nothing in particular. Good times. This is less a post in itself, more just an update – here’s what I’ve been up to:
- I reviewed Richard Ayoade’s The Double for SofaPotatoes – you can read it here.
- I wrote a guest post for National Vegetarian Week 2014 on The Tofu Diaries, which you can find here. There’s one guest post for each day of the week, so it’s well worth a scroll through!
- I entered my review of Blood Red Shoes into a blogging competition with Ticketmaster. It didn’t get shortlisted…but, the lovely Billy Beale‘s review of the same gig did! Pretty exciting stuff. If you can spare a few seconds to go and vote for his entry (and why wouldn’t you – he’s officially a better reviewer than me. I mean, come on) then lucky you because you can do it right here! It would mean a huge amount if he gets chosen. To vote, just scroll to the bottom of the page and like/tweet/whatever it is you do on google+. Thanks in advance you lovely people!
Coming up, I need to sort out my visa for Shanghai, and put together my presentation. Exciting! I also need to get ready to move out of my lovely flat in Birmingham, which I’ll be sad to leave behind.
So that’s where I am right now. Have you just finished exams right now too? Let me know in the comments!
Ears still ringing slightly, I thought I’d tell you about a gig I went to last night (all in the name of avoiding revision, of course!)
Playing at the O2 Academy in Birmingham last night were Blood Red Shoes with support from Slaves and DZ Deathrays – all three bands being two-pieces. Edgy.
First on were Slaves. I’d already looked these guys up so I was keen to hear their 15 second epic, “GIRL FIGHT” done live:
For anyone who first heard Blood Red Shoes as part of the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Soundtrack (cough), it’s hard not to compare Slaves to “Crash & the Boys”. Not all their songs are < 20 seconds long, but these guys really don’t mess around. A self-described “garage punk band from kent”, most of their songs were prefaced with some kind of explanation for the ensuing wall of noise. It was impressive to see a two piece that seemed too large and loud for the stage they were on, and as an opening act, they really got the audience going; I’ll be keeping an eye out for more chances to catch them. And “GIRL FIGHT”? It did not disappoint. (Incidentally, I saw I guy down the front with a “girl fight” t shirt on – if anyone can tell me where I might purchase one of these…)
Next up we had DZ Deathrays. They really had the grunge/garage aesthetic down, and it was a lot of fun. The guitarist had an orange stack which was making a nice sound, but for me last night it felt like that was about all they had to offer. There was the odd catchy riff in thrown in there, but all in all I felt like I was listening to the same track throughout their set. Technically their sound wasn’t as good as the other two bands – the sound team seemed to be running into trouble all night, and there was a lot of waiting around – so maybe this was what let them down. Listening now to their studio stuff, it seems like they just didn’t really deliver as a live band on the night. Maybe that’s one of the limitations of being a duo – below is a great studio track from them. Definitely worth a listen.
After more waiting (apparently “the sound desk was broken or something”), we were treated to a great set from Blood Red Shoes. They came out all smoke and lights, and set the tone for a show that didn’t dip in energy from start to finish. Most of what they played was from their new self-titled album, which is full of not only their most mature tracks yet, but also some riffs that sound really great live.
Their stage presence was understated (guitarist Laura May shyly admitted at the end of their set that they couldn’t match the in-your-face charisma of Slaves) but suited their moody sound, and played well against the lights show, which was delivered by a slightly strobe-happy technician.
As with the other two bands, Blood Red Shoes had ample energy to really fill the room. Overall it was a great night, and everyone in the audience left grinning and sweaty. (Although, at £4.40 a for a pint of Carlsberg, stone cold sober. This isn’t London, O2!)