BEHIND THE DESIGN

I’ve always been bewitched by a little bit of mystery and psychological seduction. Especially the kind that leaves me questioning my own sanity in search of an explanation. In fact, that last sentence has me doing a bit of that right now. Anyway, I’ve been watching a lot of films recently that spark my curiosity in that realm. That being said, you can imagine my motivation when Universal Music Group’s, FirstCom Music, asked me to create a cover that fell right in line with that concept.

To give you a little perspective, FirstCom Music provides the music that you hear in television, film, trailers, radio spots, news, commercials, and everything else you can think of that incorporates music in some fashion. They literally have composers and artists all over the world who create music specifically for this purpose. And yes, there are several big name original artists who also produce music for the FirstCom Music library.

I’ve been working with FirstCom since 2008 and I’m used to getting relatively short descriptions along with access to the music for their new releases so that I can develop a concept for the album artwork. Sometimes I’ll get up to ten albums at once, with two weeks to complete the art. It’s always a challenge, but I love every second of it!  

The original description for Dark, Dangerous, Decadent was sent to me broken down into the following adjectives: lush, tragic, dark, degenerate, sports, competition, drama, hybrid orchestral, dramatic beats, conflict, anticipation, power, performance, corruption, mental and openings. And that was pretty much it. But the music (CLICK HERE to have a listen) was unbelievably descriptive. The music itself, strings and beats, a hybrid combination of dance beats, dubstep and big orchestral drums with lush strings and synth overlays. Drool…

In this case, there is not one specific concept for the cover design, but rather an underlying vibration of uncertainty conflicted with tension, anticipation and power. I really wanted to create a scene reflective of the mental intertwining of Eyes Wide Shut. The kaleidoscopic faces of the veiled model symbolizes controlled chaos with the idea of transformation in conformity. The minimal colors accentuate the intensity and proportion of the overall emotion in the music. And the typography carries impact in the weight of the words, but does not deflect from the mood. The visual tone is organic austerity. You can’t make this stuff up.

I’ll end the description for this cover on a quick note. Music written for use in production doesn’t get near enough attention. The guys and gals that write and produce this stuff are actually creative geniuses. There’s a whole world out there that I bet most people never even consider. The funny thing about it is that it shapes our experience every time we turn on the radio, flip on the television or go to the movies. Music has such a strong effect on our psyches, our emotions and how we perceive the world around us. And I get to explore all that stuff every time Universal sends me a new project to work on.