Here’s a first. The artwork for an album that hasn’t even hit the shelves (yep, that makes this a premiere). You Am I’s eighth studio album “Dilettantes” has some stunning high contrast illustrated artwork courtesy of Ken Taylor, who has previously worked on artwork for Tim Rogers, amongst a long prestigious list of other international and local rock icons. But more on that later.
Right now we’re lucky enough to have the first glimpses of artwork for the new album, plus a preview of the album itself (scroll down for full length streams of the tracks ‘Erasmus’ and ‘Dilettantes’), plus an interview with the band conducted by the way-too-cool Symon Parnell from Under Oath Magazine.
Ken Taylor, on Art Deco
Tim and the band were really into the art of Aubrey Beardsley, as I was too, and all of us essentially thought that this kind of classic look would fit the album really well. I wanted to maintain a hand crafted aesthetic throughout the piece so I decided that everything must be drawn in ink and the type needed to be all hand drawn as it would of back then. they were really into the art that was done for a lot of the Oscar Wilde plays which also had a very hands on feel to it.
The font as I mentioned above is actually all hand drawn. it references old style fonts of that era. I based some of the forms on readily available fonts such as desdemona but added more authentic touches to it.
The artwork unashamedly references the style of Aubrey Beardsley and although it has all been redrawn and is an original artwork I was drawing it all with a bunch of his old stuff in front of me at the time.
On the front cover illustration
The image for the front is original. The idea was for a jaded dilettante – reading over her artists works with tears running down her face. I decided to place the lyre bird in there for compositions sake more so than anything else – I just kinda thought it would look cool. the peacock pattern under her dress though is a direct nod to Beardsley though.
Tim really liked a piece of old artwork where this had been done and I am a sucker for old Japanese woodcut prints so it just came from there. It was always going to be a simple classic colour scheme from the very beginning.
On direction from the band
As I mentioned above it was kind of a group thing. They were all lovely to deal with and had a very strong direction in mind from the beginning
On the decision to use an illustration over a band photo
The album was always going to be quite a different sound for the band and You Am I have in the past often gone with a photo. if not of themselves, of something else. They wanted the artwork to look different from anything they had done it the past.
It was a very tight timeline (surprise surprise!) and they new what they wanted. I sent through the original sketch (below) and it was approved straight away and I just went on my merry way from there.
You Am I: Dilettantes: Rough Sketch
You Am I: Dilettantes: Detailed Sketch
You Am I: Dilettantes: Back
You Am I: Dilettantes: Spread
You Am I: Dilettantes: Spread
Only a couple of weeks ago You Am I were in the studio finishing up some final work on Dilettantes, & our mate Symon at Under Oath Magazine: The Indie Alternative found some time to catch up and chat about Dilettantes, and the recording process. We love it, and are sure you will as wellâ€¦
Genius! But wait, thereâ€™s more!
Sleevage has 2 brand-spankinâ€™-new You Am I songs for your listening pleasure, complete with an excerpt from Tim Rogers, just press play.
“I Like this kid. He’s been given the name of a 16th century philosopher, steadfastly ignores his physical shortcomings in the face of the desires of the flesh and digs the Pretenders and Van Halen. he’s got a plan to win the heart of a young lady, and just ain’t gonna hear no. Could be the stirrings of a reciprocal restraining order I hear, but he’s a good kid, although the aforementioned lady’s current boyfriend? His arse is grass.”
“I first loved the word after hearing Duke Ellington use it to describe the members of his consistently brilliant bands. The meaning of the term has a duality- either referring to folks who dabble in appreciation of arts of culture, of those who have a deep love for works, or performers. On returning from a funeral of a recent acquaintance who was as charming as he was caustic, I was left, again, musing on the deep joy and befuddlement I’ve experienced in the company of a friends legacy. More often than not, the people who have left the deepest impressions on me have been those who have delicately bashed my ears with their love of music, art, literature, and with no airs and graces, more peanuts and beer. Ad somewhere up there is a BBQ I wanna be part of, ever serving the drinks. some day.”