We're back with another adition of And Justice For Art's "UnCovered" series. This time around we speak with Olya Viglione, singer and pianist of New York rock group Scarlet Sails, about the cover art for their new album Future From The Past (pre-order here) which drops on April 10th!
Your new album cover is crazy-cool. Tell us about the artist and how you found him/her? Viglione: Thank you so much! The artist is actually a friend of mine from back in the day, we studied together in college 10 years ago. Her artistic name is Nadin Lespoir, and she’s a super talented collage artist and videographer. She still lives in Moscow and I moved to New York 7 years ago. So it was really cool to sort of go back to where I came from to create this album cover. It was a part of the idea of Future From The Past (album name). Create something with the people who were a significant part of my past and bring it into the future.
What were the partnership's dynamics like? For example, was a specific look given, or did the artist have full free range? Viglione: I was visiting Moscow around New Years, we were hanging and talking about all things possible. I passionately described the ideas behind the record and what I felt like the album cover should be like. We had a few beers. And then I woke up the next morning when she posted a collage on her Instagram, and I was like: "That’s it, you got it!" And then we went to the studio, took photos with a couple of more of my old friends. And then worked another month on perfecting it.
With the increasing popularity of digital music, most fans view artwork as just pixels on a screen. Why did you feel the artwork was important? Viglione: I think the artwork is important. I look at it as a visual component to our music. It represents the main idea and sets a certain mood. I want people to look at it and go: "Wow!" I don’t want to make anything boring or what’s already been done, I want it to be as strong and unique as the music we’re creating. Otherwise, why bother? Take a picture of your cat, at least it’ll look cute.
When people look at the album cover artwork, what do you want them to see/think? Viglione: Nadin (the artist) says: "The cover turned out to be about a strong woman, that moves forward with confidence. Although you can see a certain tension in her face that suggests that her path won’t be easy and she might have a few bumps down the road. She keeps her chin up and she walks that way that is meant to be hers (I know Olya pretty well, and that’s how she lives her life). She walks through roses that might seem romantic but also can hurt pretty bad, parrots and snakes, they can be given a symbolic meaning - parrots on each of her sides as a protective element, that gives support and keeps her belief in herself alive; snakes sprawling aside as an element of overcoming hardships and unpleasant experiences.
"The artwork goes in harmony with the main theme of the band, but it takes it to a new dimension. All in all, it is about the strength of a character, about the strength of inner self, about overcoming obstacles in life in dealing with people and with your own self, about being confident in yourself and knowing that you will succeed no matter what, despite the wind that blows in your face and about that belief that there will be calm after the storm. I wanted to convey this idea through the artwork, but if it didn’t translate well enough, after hearing the record - you’ll get it, no doubt about it."
Have any favourite music-related visual artists? Viglione: Brian (the drummer) says: "Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd), Mati Klarwien (Miles Davis), Pedro Bell (Funkadelic). Love the psychedelic elements those artists use to create a world between fantasy and reality, and turning the world of music into image. They’re album covers that you can just sink into and be absorbed by which adds a wonderful dimension to the listening experience we’ve gotten away from in the digital age, where everything is a click away."
Do you prefer having the most creative control when you get a project, or do you prefer when the band gives you a lot of input? Viglione: I have a strong vision for what I want so I like to have the most creative control, although I’m always open to ideas and suggestions. When the artistic worlds collide and click - that’s one of the best feelings ever.
Check out the video for the track "Boy You're Wrong"