It’s only fitting that a band as big as The Polyphonic Spree (both in sound and size) kick it up a notch with the packaging for their forthcoming album Holidaydream. We spoke with Chris Penn from Good Records Recordings about the inspiration for the record jacket, how we brought him to tears and Alice Cooper. Check it out…
DoradoPkg: Thanks for taking the time to chat today, Chris. Remind me again – how did you first start working with DoradoPkg?
Chris Penn: We were looking to do a Gatefold tip on jacket and heard that Dorado recently had begun producing them. Beirut’s Riptide was a recent one that we were fond of the texture.
DPKG: Yeah, the Old Style Gatefold really gives the packaging a nostalgic feel. Was this an intentional choice?
CP: Very much so. Good Records Recordings is dedicated to the art of the LP and 7″. We wanted Holidaydream to be reminiscent of a classic Holiday LP which we feel it is.
DPKG: Can you tell me more about why you decided to go with an Old Style format?
CP: We wanted to have a matte finish as a lot of the glossy packages seem to cheapen the art. The Gatefold definitely lent itself to the photo we chose for the spread.
DPKG: Who designed the cover / was art director for the photos included?
CP: The cover was an actual painting by Tim DeLaughter (founder of The Polyphonic Spree) on top of an old album cover. Jonathon Kimbrell of Napkin Art Studios took a photograph of it and did the layout. The concept was initiated by Tim and Julie Doyle. Jessica Jordan and Jenny Kirtland helped carry out the art direction and styling of the location. Jennie Kelley of Masterchef fame did the food styling. All of which are members of the band. The staged photos of the backyard and feast were shot by Steve Wrubel. The live shots were compiled by fans of the band.
DPKG: Tell me a little bit about the inspiration to release a holiday record. Is it safe to say the music directly influenced the album cover design?
CP: The music contained within definitely influenced the album cover design. Tim DeLaughter says Holidaydream can be played all year round: “We wanted to make a record that has the sentiment of the holidays without the melodic connotation telegraphing the obvious. We took many of the standards that we all knew and loved as kids and rewrote the music and melody to give them a ‘new’ life while leaving others somewhat true to form. By doing this, it gave us the freedom to explore the realms of those lyrics and sounds we’ve been hearing all these years. It was a very satisfying experience for us as we delve into some beautiful sonic landscapes that we really love. I think the subject of Christmas/Holidays resonates differently for everyone. It’s not across the board ‘happy’ time for all. It can be melancholy and a time to reflect. This is where I think we succeeded. We created a listening experience for a beautiful time of the year, that doesn’t require you to embrace the holidays with a forced sense of being. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s OK if you’ve been naughty, we’re not gonna punish you. We’re only human. Happy Holidays! Ha!”
DPKG: Are you printing inserts for this record? How important are liner notes and lyric sheets to you guys?
CP: We did full color printed matte sleeves which include a photo collage on one side and lyrics/liner notes on the opposite side. We also did full color center labels. We also did hand silk screened Polyphonic Spree Holiday postcards. The art of packaging is super important to us. Since Good Records Recordings partnered with Kirtland Records it enabled us to create a lavish package. The actual LP is 180 gram hand mixed virgin vinyl. The band helped in the manufacture. No 2 are alike.
DPKG: Do you think cover art plays an important role in music these days? Especially when so many people are viewing album covers as iTunes icons instead of in their intended 12×12 form?
CP: We still think cover art is important. Its role may be diminished as of late but with the resurgence of vinyl I think it will make a comeback. I remember as youth we would buy albums sometimes based on the cover art alone. We view albums as art; so should be its presentation to the listener.
DPKG:: Yeah, that’s great to hear – we definitely all agree. So what was it like working with DoradoPkg?
CP: Dorado went above and beyond the call of duty for us to make our street date. When a truck showed up with a pallet weighing 1600 pounds carrying 44 boxes of the jackets at A+R Record Manufacturing and I got to see the final jacket I wept.
DPKG: We brought you to tears! That’s awesome – glad the experience was a good one. So your last question: what’s one of your favorite album covers (in the label’s catalog or personally) and why?
CP: I loved the album covers of the 70’s. Some of my personal favorites are Alice Cooper releases. “Billion Dollar Babies,” “Killer,” “School’s Out,” “Muscle Of Love,” and “From The Inside” were all works of art. The packaging on those releases included trading cards, embossed covers, billion dollar bill posters, calendars, fold up desks, flammable panties, bookcovers, grease stained cardboard boxes, and pop up covers. A lot of thought went into the album art.
DPKG: Sweet! Thanks again Chris