Autoheart released their superb second album I Can Build a Fire in 2016. We were privileged to create the album design for one of our favourite bands. Their first album, Punch, has been a staple since it came out. This project brought us back to one of our creative inspirations: music and design. (See the Haçienda: How Not to Run a Club or the Rock and Hard Places books we’ve done).
Autoheart were interested in the work of Australian artist (and total gent) Ron Adams. They connected with Adams on Instagram, a dialogue began and both sides became more enthusiastic about working together for this album.
Adams’ bright, hand-painted geometric paintings were the perfect accompaniment for the new, more electronic and dance-driven direction the band were taking. His work touches on themes of politics and sexuality. His brushstrokes and letterform images have a warm organic feel when you get closer. It was perfect for Autoheart: a band that can meld heavy synth and automated beats with delicate vocals and lyrical themes of longing, love, sadness and joy. And the songs are catchy as hell.
The band told us that their visual cues for this album included the work of Peter Saville (Joy Division, New Order) and Mark Farrow (Pet Shop Boys). Again, our stars aligned further, because those designers and bands have been our creative influences for years.
Adam’s painting Neptune became the cover star of the album. It was very colourful and a strong visual which can be iconic at small sizes — perfect for small iTunes and Spotify thumbnails. But it looks fantastic on the physical CD cover. Other pieces by Adams make up the interior of the design, typography was kept minimal in the spirit of our influences and to allow the paintings and music to take centre stage.
… The results look beautifully simple but a huge amount of love, work, perfecting and ironing out complications went into making it so, and compoundEye not only made it all feel easy, but it was also a pleasure to work with them – and we hope to continue to do so.”
Band guitarist, Barney JC said of the project, “compoundEye created the physical (6-panel Digipak CD and later gatefold vinyl) editions of our second album, ‘I Can Build a Fire’ and was involved in the process as a sounding board from the very early stage art concepts.
“They instinctively knew what was right in terms of tone — a minimal, almost austere style that’s subtly influenced by the design used by early 90s electronic artists, echoing the music — and redesigned our band logo along these lines.
“The images we decided to use are all paintings by Australian artist Ron Adams, and compoundEye brilliantly translated these into a beautiful product that strikes that balance of nodding to the past while being thoroughly of the now.
“As is the way things go through many, many revisions and they were guiding where necessary and accommodating to our strong (and sometimes changeable) ideas. The results look beautifully simple but a huge amount of love, work, perfecting and ironing out complications went into making it so, and compoundEye not only made it all feel easy, but it was also a pleasure to work with them — and we hope to continue to do so.”