Just a song. Part 2

October 9, 2012

Petr Krykin (Cookoo band) is speaking about covers, posters and other sort of illustration in music. Let’s touch up the playlist and watch the pictures.

Petr Krykin
guitarist in Coockoo

To say the truth, I haven’t heard of the decline of covers illustration culture. But the man in a superhero disguise sitting next to me says that the culture of the covers depends on the culture of the CDs. He says that this culture has gone kaput for 10 years with the little help from the download button on our computers’ screens. And on modern Internet a cover lives its modern internet life. Not a long one. All the pictures you like should be saved somewhere, and it’s impossible as soon as every other hour there are hundreds on new ones on the way.

But it’s not that bad. Music hasn’t disappeared so thevisual art of it can’t disappear, either. The culture hasn’t declined but regenerated. Nowadays we still buy CDs because of the cover design or  to take it with us to a trip or just to have it on the shelf.
It’s nothing to feel upset about.

Show us cool illustrated covers

There’s a nice thing that’s called bias. It’s a good thing to help us perceive information as something half-known and thus not frightening. That’s how it works: the favorite group’s name itself is a sort of pheromone. So the best covers can’t be chosen objectively. If you take any stupid rating of the “N best covers of all times” you’ll see that almost all the groups there are legendary, so their covers are somewhat optional. That’s why any kitsch like a baby diving to get a dollar becomes a masterpiece. For example you can have a look at the Dire Straits — Brothers In Arms cover.

I would also mention:

Grace Jones — Slave To The Rhythm (1985)

Just because it’s a trick.



Deep Purple — Deep Purple

Because it’s beautiful and distributed. I swear I knew the artist after I had liked the cover.


Pink Floyd — Wish you were here

Because every time I looked at it I got  carried away by my thoughts and associations into the strange retrofuturistic world of the music. It’s a cover to a non-existent movie.


Pink Floyd — Animals

I like the monumentality and the strangeness of the illustration. I was happy to see the Battersea Power Station with my own eyes.

I can say that all the things Storm Torgerson does are great. The albums’ covers of Peter Gabriel and the Cranberries, the Muse – they are all great and well-known.


Placebo — Sleeping With Ghosts

Frankly, I am not interested in their music much. But I like the picture.


Led Zeppelin — IV

I like simple forms and patterns as well as the objects against the background.

Stanley Donwood’s art is an individual case. It’s been almost 20 years since he started working with the Radiohead. This is a very good example of long-termed self-expression, style immutability and irrationality that all the modern lacks. I am speaking about all those imperfections that look perfect.

As an example I can show my favorite cover. I paid for it 400 rubles in Purpurnyi Legion just to stare at its crazy booklet.


The king of limbs

The king of limbs with its art-newspaper and all the other things attached was already too much for me, but still the way its design evokes my great respect. It’s all about how modern covers exist and develop.


I get covers for 10% of the groups on my i-pod, so that’s what I found there:

Arcade Fire — The Suburbs


Arctic Monkeys — Favourite Worst Nightmare


Kasabian — Velociraptor


Modeselector — Happy birthday


Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy


I can’t help showing another my favorite. Isn’t it cool?


How does a music style influence the style of the cover? Why do some of the artists sell photos and others sell pictures? Which way is your?

I know the way the music style influences the covers of my favorite metal groups, for example. That’s all about it: the more pronounced the style is the more it influences the cover. But on the whole I don’t see any regularity in the choice of photos or pictures. And I think it’s a bit easier to use the artists’ photos as soon as there’s less to be added.

I prefer cool covers. No matter whether it’s an illustration or a photo — anything can be cool.

For the Coockoo I’ve drawn images as soon as it’s difficult to get all the associations, references and implications into a photo. As a result, I got a sort of impression of what was happening then, what we were doing  and what was going on. However, it’s rather typical.


What animated music videos have touched your heart?

As it always happens, the best things I’ll remember later. I like David O'Reilly, maybe because of this I like this video:


I also like the video There There by Radiohead:


Blockhead — The Music Scene:


Massive Attack is worth mentioning, too:


And now we can enjoy a sort of Renascence for concert posters and placards.

There are so many groups now and so many means of self-expression. It has become so easy that it takes two clicks to get a drawn picture printed. So why not to draw placards? You can express yourself and promote your group at the same time!

I think that some groups have extra money to spend on cool guys, and others manage without outside help. Some groups are lucky to have a designer as a member. But it’s better to concentrate on the music anyway. As it’s the most important thing.