Silver Lake‘s The Ross Sea Party just released their debut LP Hotel Pool and the album artwork was done by the band’s own lead vocalist/guitarist Brady Erickson. Below, Free Bike Valet interviewed him in regards to his other artistic side:
Have you always been a musician and an artist? Which came first and which do you consider yourself to be more of?
“I actually starting playing music and creating visual art at about the same. As a kid, I spent my summer vacations with family that lived several hours outside of my hometown of Palm Springs. Without any friends to pass the time with, my brother and I turned the garage into a workshop of sorts. My mom was an art teacher, and had tons of dusty old screen-printing and painting supplies that I’d spend hours making a mess with. At one point, I found an old acoustic guitar, and became obsessed with learning to play it. To me, it all felt like the same thing. I loved creating things –whether it was visual or auditory. Years later, I ended up moving to L.A. to study painting, but continued to play music all the while. Today, they still feel very much like the same thing. I really see music as being an extension of the arts.”
What inspired the cover art for your band’s new album Hotel Pool?
“I’d initially thought that the album cover would be a photograph, as many of my favorite album covers are. But as I got deeper into thinking about it, something more abstract seemed suitable for the album. It’s not really an album that aspires to capture a specific moment, such as Dylan’s Highway ’61 Revisited does. Hotel Pool is more of an abstract flood of tones and rhythms that feel more playful, so I started to work with throwing paint around. The cover art ended up being influenced by some of my favorite kinds of painting. I’ve always loved the wild brushwork of Franz Kline and De Kooning, and am also really into typographic painting –Ed Ruscha, Christopher Wool, Ralph Steadman. Finally, there’s an additional level of collage that probably has roots in my favorite book of art –Dan Eldon’s ‘Journey is the Destination’.”
Did you create the art while recording the album?
“Yes, although the basic typography was done many months prior. When I was working on some Ross Sea Party t-shirts, I had spent an evening quickly sketching dozens of ‘logos’ with some watered-down acrylic paint and a cheap brush. The freehand, accidental quality of those sketches turned out to be central to the look and feel of much of the band’s artwork. I’ve actually revisited that stack of warped papers many times, and mined a ton of material out of it.”
(Erickson’s early type sketches)
How did you create it?
“It’s comprised of about six different elements, hand-drawn things, found items, bits of paintings. I scanned them and then composited the whole piece in Photoshop.”
Do you create other artwork for your band or other bands?
“I’m constantly making artwork for The Ross Sea Party. Stickers, shirts, fliers –there’s always something to be done. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse to play that role in the band. I basically demanded free reign over the visual media if I was going to be the one working on it, but the rest of the band is always really supportive and stoked on the artwork. It’s a lot of work though, so whenever I’ve been asked to create artwork for other bands, I usually decline.”
What are you working on now?
“It’ll be a full-time job promoting the new album, but I love to be working on multiple creative endeavors simultaneously. I have some paintings up for sale at Shelter Half on La Brea now, and will probably be focusing on doing more painting in the near future. There are also a handful of side-projects that stem from The Ross Sea Party. I may even end up playing some drums for one of them in the upcoming months.”
Brady Erickson can be contacted in regards to his artwork at [email protected].