So far this week we’ve had the pleasure of talking to No Sleep Nigel, seeing Ox dig for treasure, and Audessey fixing up samples ready to chop, and now, on day 4 of the Soundsci Takeover week we turn to the art of Soundsci, with Mr.Krum at the helm! This guy is a SERIOUSLY hidden gem and Soundsci’s secret weapon, so what better time to introduce him properly!….
How did you link with Soundsci and what what your first collaboration with them?
I first connected with Soundsci after Jonny contacted me through Facebook asking if I’d be available to do artwork for a new 45 the group were releasing called In A Flash. This was not long after Dig For Victory came out on Crate Escape (with artwork by Stilts). I’d bought the E.P. and loved it so was really pleased to be talking with Jonny about getting involved in future Soundsci releases. The artwork for In A Flash was fairly straight forward as it was only label designs which were required but we soon started discussing ideas for the debut full length album Formula 99, which was already in the recording process. F99 was what I would consider the first “proper” project I worked on for the group and included alternative artwork for the test pressing as well as a full colour sleeve design, inlay sheet, and various other bits of merchandise.
Does working with Soundsci differ from working with other artists you design for?
Well I think the main difference is that we’re all fairly in tune with one another. I speak with Jonny and Ollie at least once a week either on the phone or Facetime, either chatting about projects in the pipeline or just geeking out over music. I’ve known Ox for the longest and have a good relationship with him (again, mainly through nerding out over breaks and what not) and talk with Tone on Skype regularly, so we all connect really well and I’m usually intuitive as to what will work for particular projects. I think our tastes are all pretty similar so the process is really quite organic when it comes down to working on the design.
You are in charge of the branding of Soundsci’s label Worldexpo Records, what are your thoughts about creating a brand identity?
I think it’s very important for labels and artists to have good branding and a strong visual identity, particularly in the digital age market of today where (a good majority of) consumers have short attention spans and are constantly looking for the next new thing. Creating an identity that people can immediately relate to, especially when a new release drops, hopefully goes a long way towards solidifying a reputation for quality product and longevity in the scene.
Being as music is an audio medium how important do you think the art and design on a record sleeve influences potential buyers of a product?
Coming from a personal point of view, as somebody who has been buying records for over 25 years, I know for sure, the artwork/packaging definitely influences my decision to buy a record, or at least take a listen to it. When I’m out searching for records at car boot sales and charity shops, etc, obviously the first thing that’s going to attract my attention is the front cover artwork. If something looks interesting and jumps out at me then I’m far more likely to flip it over and check the track listing and credits to see if it’s worth taking a punt on. In fact, I’ve bought plenty of records that I know are going to be shit, or not to my taste, but I just have to own for the cover art! I’m talking about old records that I pick up cheap, but the same applies for new releases to an extent. If I’m faced with the decision to choose between two releases when my budget only stretches to buy one, and I have no particular preference for one over the other musically, then I’m gonna go with the better designed/packaged record every time. I think most people are the same in that sense. And going back to how the digital age has effected the way people release and purchase music, as a consumer, when I’m considering buying something (baring in mind, for the most part, I can probably listen to it online for free, all day everyday), I want to be getting a little bit more for my money nowadays. I always like to support artists so they can afford to carry on making and releasing new music but if the physical product isn’t up to much then I’ll probably pass on it, which is a shame because I certainly won’t buy an MP3 or any other type of digital format!
What is your personal favourite track or record from the crew?
That is a very tough question! I think either The Ultimate or Rhyme 4 Rhyme as the chemistry and energy levels are super high on those two and great to play out! The Process remix of Brilliance is a personal favourite as well though, as is Tribute… I really can’t pick an out-right favourite! Shouts to Jonny, Ollie, Ox, Tone, George and Supastition for consistently making timeless, banging Hip-Hop!
We’ll be back tomorrow with part 3 of Connecting The Dots, taking it to the UK to get involved in the production process with Ollie Teeba and Jonny Cuba. See you on the flip!