First off, the album is a lesson in how fun metal can truly be. The songs are heavy and catchy and full of energy. It's one of those records that I've been listening to end-to-end while roaming around the city for the past few months and it always manages to put a smile on my face.
|First rough sketch of the cover.|
Late one night after Torche had played Seattle, Rick, Andrew, and I were talking about art and Rick mentioned that it would be cool if I worked with them on some project in the future. I was totally into it, but really didn't think that I would actually get the job of working on the cover for their follow up to Meanderthal . Hell, it was 4am and we'd been smoking out for hours at that point, so I thought it would get lost in the haze. Then, I got the email a couple of weeks later from the guys to start working on some sketches. They gave me a ton of feedback and ideas throughout the process and I was able to quickly come up with a few sketches. Steve's starting idea was that he wanted a cover that was inspired by the awesome landscapes that Roger Dean had created for such bands as YES and ASIA. A colorful fantasy world filled with floating islands and such. They gave me a lot of freedom to go my own way after that, but wanted me to think outside of my usual subject matter.
I had toured for 7 weeks with Kylesa in 2010 alongside Torche, so I was able to get to know the guys well during that time. It helped out when it came to turning their ideas into a solid concept for the cover. They are a fun group who radiate that from the stage and it becomes infectious to those around. On tour, they would go to movies and stop in at water parks or bowling alleys and still make it to the show in time. They had a fucking blast! That gave me the idea of turning the "floating island" idea into creatures that housed fun landscapes. There's a water park, an amusement park, and a magic castle on three of the Harmonsters. Three of them have natural landscapes on them because I know the guys also like nature and camping. And, the other two blue guys are related to where the guys are from.
|Miami Detail (actual size of city drawn is 1 3/4"x 3/4").|
|Atlanta detail (size of city drawn is 2 1/4"x 1 1/4").|
|Rick brand ice cream.|
I couldn't find a good picture of Gainesville for Rick, so I made up a cartoon mascot of Rick as an ice cream cone. Drumsticks and all.
The Harmonsters being floating islands of fun, needed something that would convey their whimsical nature. Then, I remembered the guys' love for sweets. Easy. I just added tons of the stuff that I had grown up snacking on. There is a little something for everyone with various varieties of candy, confections, and sweets in the design.
Steve also wanted the creatures to breathe rainbows. Why not? Harmonsters probably shit sweet rolls, so rainbows were an awesome addition to the mix. The rainbows are also what the narwhal disco ship is floating on. You can't have good without evil, so it was suggested a few of them could be fighting with a some darker members of their species. Not only can these "dark ones" breathe storm clouds to block out the rainbows, but they do battle with vegetables. Tomatoes, asparagus, carrots, broccoli, and an eggplant serve as weapons against their do-gooder sugary nemesis'.
The narwhal disco ship is just silly. A stoner induced idea of Torche's tour ship breaking down in the Harmonster world only to have the creatures fasten candy necklaces to the hull and pull them gently through the air while they let go of the controls and continue the party in back. The ship itself was based off of one of the ships from the 80's classic, Flash Gordon. A happy narwhal became a futuristic figurehead on the ship adding that touch of whimsy that it needed.
There it is. One of the most fun covers and projects that I have ever been a part of. They have made this project so fun for me by pulling out my humorous side and making me put it to paper.
If you want to hear an awesome record from a great bunch of guys, go and pick up Harmonicraft today! And, catch them on tour with COC, Black Cobra, and Gaza in June!