SuperKid and I recently had the "Cowboys and Synthesizer" EP we are working on duplicated. We ordered no packaging, just the cds themselves, duplicated and printed on. In the meantime, we have been tossing around packaging and artwork ideas. Lots of questions entered my mind about the art and overall package, and considering the way I collect and consume music, the biggest question was do we even need to make cds? And then, if we do, do people really even want to buy a cd anyway? Personally, I'd rather buy the vinyl or download it. Well, the project budget rules out vinyls, yet it feels hypocritical to be ordering cds and once they arrive, trying to figure out where I even have a cd player to listen to it.
Without giving away what we are going to do about this dilemma, we headed out to some arts and crafts stores to get moving. Getting moving is important in life. Doing this alone, got me thinking about the first Project Nairb album I made back in 2003 (pictured above). For the art, I created a water color background as a sky, ripped up various blue pieces of paper and cardboard to create the ocean, and drew an island with a palm tree in marker. I had it mass printed by my friend J-rod, and cut them all out and meticulously glued them together (probably the last time I used a glue-stick). From there I got those computer printer cd label stickers (which I hear are great for getting your cds stuck in your car) and watercolored the entire sheet. I numbered each one, peeled the labels off, and every disc was different, unique. Inside the little plastic bag, I put little pins I bought at the crafts store. Above you can see there is a car, a spaceship, and a spider-web. The pictured ones are the only ones I have left, so I made at least 161 of them, but definitely not more than 200.
I can remember bringing them out to shows and people sifting through them, deciding which pin they wanted, which one they identified with most. After they bought the album, I asked them to open it so we (I) could see which watercolored cd they had received. People compared them with each other and wore their pins. From time to time thereafter, a person would show me a bag they use or a vest they wear that still has the pin that was pretty much arbitrarily included with my album. I think it gave people an involvement and personal connection with the album itself. It created a world. That's often a characteristic of my favorite albums, they create a world and you go there.
That is something we hope to create with the release of "Cowboys and Synthesizers." As I alluded to before, I don't want to give away what it will be, and in all honesty, part of that is because we'd like to to pour a little more imagination into it and see where it goes, but I will say that it will be something that can't come out of a factory or be downloaded. The songs will be downloadable, of course, but the album will only be able to be given away hand to hand, person to person. That is ultimately what I hope this EP will be to people, personal.
So, as we go through the process of creating these albums, we will keep you in the loop with the creative process...thanks and stay tuned!