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2014-11-23 Packaging Poetry

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As I mentioned in the last blog, there's more to releasing music than just the music. Even if you don't go in for actual physical stuff like CDs, chances are good those songs you downloaded have a cover image associated with them. And chances are really, really good that they're part of an album, and albums have titles. It should come as no surprise that the non-music stuff was important to us and that we detail-oriented kids spent ages working things out and never being satisfied.

First came the title of the album. As the main word person in the band, the pressure for ideas was on me. Which was fine, because names are very important. I looked at lyrics (mine and other people's) and contemplated themes and hoped for inspiration from the aether...And I finally turned to my non-music influences. Fortunately, poetry was my first stop and fortunately fortunately I had just been browsing some of my favourite T.S. Eliot. As I rolled memorable lines through my brain, this bit from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock surfaced:

I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

His anger isn't as raw as what we show in some of our songs, but I think you'll find similar moods and themes in Eliot's works. So, obviously, I'm going to recommend you go read some. If you start with The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, you'll get a taste of longing and regret and good things you never got. A nice accompaniment for some of our songs...

Amber's head on Waterhouse's Mermaid

After the title, we moved on to cover art. In hindsight, we're lucky that we decided an EP should have very little in the way of booklets and such. (And, hey, if you're downloading and not getting all the paper bits, this means there's less you're missing out on. You're welcome!) It wasn't quite as bad as choosing the band name, but many a picture was considered and rejected. They came from our parents, our pasts, random subjects we like, and really anything that could be made into a picture. It hit a point that felt ridiculous and I was starting to want to kick things...One night, Jason was talking to me about how rows of streetlights and headlights looked in the dark (like eyes or musical notes)...Next thing you know, he's standing on an overpass in the middle of the night. Not preparing to jump in frustration (though that might have been warranted), but taking the pictures that became the front and back images of the CD. Whilst ease would have been appreciated, I love that we ended up with photos taken by one of us.

CD front CD back

We got a break from big choices when it came to the inside of the CD cover. Jason has always been very insistent that the quality of my lyrics is one of the Really Important parts of the band. It seemed obvious to us that those lyrics were destined for the inside of the cover. Easy thing done...

lyrics page

I'll spare you the font issue that followed. Just...Listen, when you have two detail-oriented people, one of whom is a bit of a font nerd, and they're selecting the fonts to use for the CD they lovingly, carefully made...Let me just assure you that you want people to care as deeply about the details in your life as we cared about that font, but you don't necessarily want to be party to the process. In short, the typography conversations were long and detailed and picky and, wow, I love fonts....And I'd spare you the mention, but I feel like we spent a lot of time on fonts.

asdfjkl; in multiple fonts

It seems weird to end on fonts, but lame to end by mentioning that there was some kerfuffle over the CD tray....So, let's try to pull this into a package...Overall, we wanted to bring in the darkness and the light, the black and the purple, the energy and anger and melancholy of the rain-soaked city in which we're rooted. We want you to join us in considering the drive through your darkness and to join us in, against hope, believing in hope. We live near the sea; there's still time to hear the mermaids singing to me. This? This CD and everything we create? We're the mermaids singing to you...

Varnish band shot

As always, I'm here to hear your thoughts and requests. Drop me an email, lovely.


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