Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Cover

If you were unfamiliar with Jackson Jackson you’d assume they were an African music act. But according to Wikipedia they are a Melbourne based Hip hop / Afro-Beat /Psychobilly /Progressive band. Their own Myspace page labels them
“ELECTRO-FOLK” which I doubt has its own section in the local HMV. What I am less confused about is how the album art came to be and what it means.

Jackson Jackson is made up of duo Jan Skubiszewski and Harry James Angus, Jackson Jacksons “singer-songwriter and trumpet player”. I love the trumpet player part it’s as if the singer-songwriter part wasn’t good enough.

Sleevage Fun Fact: Harry is the nephew of comedienne, actress and writer, Mary-Anne Fahey (famous for playing Kylie Mole on The Comedy Company). Anyone over 25 will remember her popularity. Watch the video below to have those fond memories crushed.

Aaron from Debaser sent me this outline of the brief from Harry of Jackson Jackson.

· The idea is to think of a flag and use that as inspiration, particularly the flags of African nations
· Mozambique flag – Hammer and sickle
· Come up with a flag that represents this album – tools/love heart???
· The Symbols on flags should reference the album name – tools for survival
· blocks of colour
· Colour ideas: British racing green, red, yellow, purple or dark blue, white

Here’s the Mozambique flag for reference. Guns, garden hoe and books? I guess literal translations of a country on flags makes sense.

Mozambique flag

And while we’re on the topic of flags I thought I’d share one of my fav which I found on Google images. The Isle of Man’s flag! What a classic. Even the term “Isle of Man” sounds funny. It’s like a Lynx or Budweiser ad country.

Isle of Man’s flag

OK back to the program. Debaser gives some insight into their response to the brief below

“When we received this we began looking at African flags (mainly as a colour palette) and started considering the title.
We decided that everyone’s most basic and important tool for survival was their hands. From there we started to mess around with the idea of the hand forming a flag… This of course led to my hand and face being covered in paint.”

The link between the hands and body parts wasn’t obvious straight away for me but once explained this made sense and seemed obvious :) I just thought they did the hands as “it looks cool”.

Here’s the back cover and the booklet photos.

Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Back Cover
Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Booklet cover
Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Booklet pages

I really like the feeling this cover creates. It’s raw and feels modern yet organic. It stands up well in thumbnail too as I originally noticed this while browsing Amazon. This cover is the complete opposite to their debut album “The Fire is on the Bird” (also done by Debaser) which was a table of toys and other junk.

Jackson Jackson: The Fire

It was a shame Debaser missed out on their second ARIA for Best Cover art. They had two noms. The Preset’s did dominate this year. There’s always next year guys.

I think Sleevage should be on the ARIA’s Artisan jury, the choices for best cover art are always so random. Which makes sense when you see that only 0.8% of the ARIA judges are “graphic designers”. That’s 7.4 people!?!

Oh and here’s some photos from behind the scenes. It’s not one of a band being painted it’s a Aaron from debaser.

Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Painting
Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Painting

Jackson Jackson: Tools for Survival Painting

JJ are touring right now in Australia, so if you dig the art and the album check them out.