A podcast about design and music by a graphic designer who has a regular article about these subjects in Classic Pop magazine. https://softoctopus.co.uk/index.php/podcast/
Art on your sleeve - Episode 16 - Eurovision Song Contest
This episode is a slight diversion from the usual format, but all is explained in the show introduction. I am joined by Eddie De Souza and Lucy Percy to dissect design for songs that have represented various countries in the Eurovision Song Contest.
Art on your sleeve - Episode 15 - Simon Halfon
Simon Halfon has been designing artwork since the 1980s, starting out at Stiff Records and then assisting Neville Brody, before setting up London and LA design studios in the 90s. Long standing clients included the late George Michael, Oasis and Paul Weller. He creates international campaigns for global acts and continues his work with iconic artists, most recently collaborating for the 3rd time with Sir Peter Blake, for The Who's latest record.
In this episode I talk to Simon about all of these things and so much more, digging deep into the design process and concepts behind some of his classic works. Simon has just released a book, Cover to Cover which, is as of publishing this post, has sold 85% of its limited edition run of 1000 copies. In the book Simon treats us to many of his personal images and stories which elevates the tome in to something more than a mere catalogue of work. I highly recommend it.
If you are interested in the book or finding out more about Simon's work, check out his website at: www.nemperor.com
Full show notes are available at: https://softoctopus.co.uk/podcast
Episode 14 - Being Boring by Pet Shop Boys
Being Boring, a single by Pet Shop Boys is 30 years old today (12 November 2020). It's one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite pop groups and as such I felt I needed to mark the occasion. This podcast complements a Pop Art feature I wrote for Classic Pop magazine about the photography of The Douglas Brothers published in March 2018.
The Douglas Brothers photography was used on the cover designs for the single, with graphic design by regular Pet Shop Boys creative collaborator, Mark Farrow.
Neil Tennant has spoken in detail about what Being Boring is about and this is included in the podcast, but to quote from his book, One hundred lyrics and a poem:
"An autobiographical elegy for my best friend from Newcastle whom I'd known since we were teenagers; he died in 1989 aged only thirty-four... The title was inspired by a Japanese review which said we were 'being boring'. I liked the bouncy rhythm of this phrase and confronting the criticism of our famously deadpan presentation. The teenage party referred to in the first verse was in July 1974 (actually, I had just ceased being a teenager) and the invitation quoted Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of Scott Fitzgerald, from an article, 'Eulogy on the Flapper', published in Metropolitan magazine in 1922: 'She was never bored mainly because she was never boring.' In the second verse I leave Newcastle on the train to study in London wearing platform shoes (it was 1972) and assuming I would never move back. In the third verse I am a Pet Shop Boy recording in Munich, while back in London my friend has died and other friends are ill."
Art on your sleeve - Episode 13 - Peter Coyle and The Lotus Eaters
In this episode I speak with Peter Coyle, formerly of The Lotus Eaters about the design work behind his music. When The Lotus Eaters made the top 20 in 1983 with their debut single, The first picture of you, they did so with sleeves that often used art to represent the band. In the podcast we talk about all of the band's singles, their classic album, No sense of sin and we lift the curtain on the thinking behind the art to find out who created the designs - something that was omitted on the sleeves themselves.
Peter now lives in rural France but we have remained friends from when we first began working together 20 years ago, so the chat is informal, candid and at times humorous as we travel back in time to discuss Liverpool and its burgeoning post-punk music scene of the early eighties.
Peter is still an active musician, recording under many names, most notably, Peter Coyle Fractal. He also has new recordings with Tony Lowe under the name of 22 Layers and we talk a little about their Travelling Alone single towards the end of the episode. This single and others are available on Band Camp.
We finish the episode with an exclusive track called You & I, which we recorded together, Peter wrote the lyrics and sings over a track that I composed a few years ago. The song will be widely available before the end of 2020 but for now, enjoy this exclusive preview.
Art on your sleeve - Episode 12 - Bob Linney
This episode is an audio supplement to a six-page Pop Art feature I wrote for Classic Pop magazine, issue 13, published October/November 2014. In the podcast I interview artist and designer, Bob Linney about his record sleeve artwork for The Beloved and play track excerpts along the way. We also touch on other sleeves that he has worked on and discover how he ended up forging a long time creative relationship with Jon Marsh and The Beloved.
The interview was recorded over Zoom during the COVID-19 lockdown period with Bob and I in our respective studios in East Anglia and Liverpool. Apologies for the variable recording quality. The podcast also coincides with the re-release of Happiness, an album by The Beloved, and the release of a limited edition range of screen prints that Bob made available in June 2020. The prints are available to order directly from Bob Linney’s online store at: www.boblinneyposters.com/beloved-artwork
Full show notes and archive at: https://softoctopus.co.uk/podcast/
Art on your sleeve - Episode 11 - Calling America
In this episode I'm joined by Sarah and Brian Linnen, hosts of the Permanent Record Podcast. There are few podcasts that dig as deeply into the sounds and visuals of artists that were big in the eighties/nineties as they do. I highly recommend that you subscribe to their show at the usual quality podcast outlets and explore their considerable archive at: www.permanentrecordpodcast.com
During this chat you will hear us each select one album and one single sleeve that we believe deserves greater recognition and talk about the reasons why we selected them. We also learn a lot along the way about how they were created and the designers behind the work. Our selections are as follows:
Kiss like ether
1991 single by Claudia Brücken
Designed by Tim Vary at Island Art
1983 single by The Cure
Designed by Parched Art
It’s called a heart
1985 single by Depeche Mode
Designed by T+CP, illustration by Tamara Capellaro
1984 album by Spandau Ballet
Painting by David Band, photography by John Shaw, art direction by Gary Kemp
1986 album by Crowded House.
Cover Painting by Nicholas Seymour, art direction by John O’Brien
6. Read my lips
1989 album by Jimmy Somerville.
Designed by Me Company
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