On Monday, October 13, 2014, fans of the Brian Buckley Band were treated to a tease for the band’s forthcoming album in the form of the CD Cover art. The understated yet impactful cover image was designed by Melissa Constandse. In a slight departure from the covers of the previous three albums, there’s a lightness to the cover for Welcome to the Heart of the City.
We spoke with Brian Buckley about the cover and tried to get any hints we could about the upcoming record.
IMP: The cover image is beautiful. Where did the idea come from and who did you work with to create the final image?
BUCKLEY: The cover image was an idea that I had that sprung from the band playing the record; front to back–live in rehearsal. I wanted something that seemed to visually represent what we were trying to accomplish sonically and I feel like we reached that goal with the end result.
In all honesty, I only had convoluted ideas running through my head, so when we approached Melissa Constandse (the designer of the entire record)–she was patient and talented enough to approach it with the caring hands of a sculptor. She absolutely knocked it out of the park. Melissa’s idea to turn the city into a water-color collage was the linchpin that really sold the final image.
I can’t scream her praises quite loudly enough. She has done many records in her career so we were honored to have her complete what, in my mind, —-is unbelievably difficult: creating an image that honestly captures the essence of the songs. To say we are in her debt is an understatement.
IMP: In this age of digital downloads do you think that album covers are still as important as they once were?
BUCKLEY: The cover image of an album is undeniably significant in my opinion. Even in the day and age of such vapid commercialism and immediacy when it comes to the clicks of listeners and how quickly they can be swayed to press stop.
I am not the most traditional of artists, in that–I believe in the trailblazers. I honor the rebels when it comes to delving into the ‘newness’ of any given route. But, since physical albums are nearly a thing of the past, I must say, I miss the ‘handling’ of a record, the searching through the contents of its booklets for the lyrics to your favorite tune. That whole experience is nearly pre-historic.
Thankfully, we still use our eyes to help convince us of art. Posters, book covers, album covers, etc., and I am still of the belief that they help us press play. I want a listener of our new album to visualize the cover art as they listen to the tunes. Fingers crossed.
IMP: Can you talk about the significance of the symbolism in the image you chose? The little boy? The balloon? The City?
BUCKLEY: It is hard for me to discuss the exact reason why we chose what we chose for the front cover, and or, the purpose of the album title only because we don’t want to soil any listeners’ future experience of the music. Their interpretation should be as real and valid as the creators who wrote and performed it.
That said, after we finished each of our four records—-I like to envision a word that could possibly ‘frame’ the album as a whole. As if, you were tasked to use only one word to describe the tonality of the portrait complete. And my word for this album is: HOPE.
It is a collection of songs targeted to the dreamers of the world. To the artists. To the loners. To those who were made fun of for welcoming such lavish aspirations. It is largely—-for them.
IMP: You’ve had some intriguing titles: ‘For Her’, ‘Hysterical Blindness’, ‘Without Injuring Eternity’. Where did Welcome to the Heart of the City come from?
BUCKLEY: ‘Welcome to the Heart of the City‘ came from Mexico City actually. I was in DF with my wife and we were taking a cab from one end of the city to the other. This particular destination was known for its artists from all walks of life, and all mediums of various crafts.
As we travelled this specific highway: an enormous sign read ‘Bienvenidos al corazón de la ciudad’ (or, ‘Welcome to the Heart of the City’). I was so taken back by the grandiosity of it all that it immediately reminded me of the happiness and madness it takes to maintain the life of an artist. I fell in love with that sign so much that as the record begin to take shape in the studio, there was simply nothing else that it could be titled. Nothing else felt appropriate.
IMP: When can we expect the album and what’s the scoop with the release?
BUCKLEY: ‘Welcome to the Heart of the City‘ will be available on iTunes for PRE-sale on Friday, Oct. 17th, along with ‘Friendly Fire‘ (the album’s first single, which will be automatically downloaded when you pre-sale the album in its entirety).
The full release date will be Friday, November 14th. Friday, November 14th is also our CD release party in Los Angeles, CA at The Hotel Cafe. We will be playing the record front to back with a full horns and strings section.