Back in the good old days, it was easy to be a pop star. You held a tune, you strummed a guitar, and if you were really talented you wrote your own songs. But nowadays it seems that bands are not content with holding a tune and kissing groupies, as more and more of them are getting involved in the production, the pr, the distribution… the latest addition to the never ending list of talents these young musicians aspire to is creating their own artwork, and Jacob Graham from post-punk band The Drums is the latest to prove that he is more than just a pretty face.
He directs the band’s art by hand, compiling it all himself to form a subtly anarchic eschewing of complex modern art. His album covers are reminiscent of The Smiths, and are simple, yet evocative; combining ‘50s style romanticism with modern camera angles. In creating their own artwork, The Drums have managed to retain their distinct sense of identity, infusing their influences, hopes and feelings into their album covers, which they no doubt would have lost had they commissioned an outside artist to do it. If you want a job doing, do it yourself.
We had a little chat to find out more about the man behind the art…
In TLOBF’s last interview, Jonathan said…“Our new year’s resolution was to be more boring as a band”. Is your art work created with a similar thought in mind?
We think artwork should be an extension of the music, simple and direct. There is no use having anything be more than it needs to be.
Your work has been compared to The Smiths, who are notorious for creating intentionally ‘bland’ and modest album covers to focus attention back on their music. Is this something you aspire to do?
I don’t think there is a single The Smiths album cover that is bland. I think they are all stunning. When things get too busy, that’s when they become bland. We don’t take artwork cues from The Smiths, but I think a lot of the bands we love have the same thing in common and that is they don’t waste time on frivolity. You need to stay potent. Labouring over things always causes problems when it comes to pop.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
From all things that are pure and true. New York City, Ohio, and James Dean.
Your music is pretty relevant to the emerging garage rock scene; do you feel your artwork is as relevant today as your music?
I think image is super important when you are making music, if you are serious about your band. It is all an extension of the song and artwork and music together create mood… and mood is vital!
In risk of asking the obvious…If you had to live in another decade, which would it be?
If I am thinking romantically, I would say the 1950′s, but if I am being realistic, I would say the future.
Do you think your romantic notions of the ‘50s would mar the reality of living in it?
Yep. Nothing is as good as one sensationalises it to be…right? I mean, there were a lot of awful things happening then. Like any decade, really.