Welcome to “Cover Stories”, where we allow a Figment player to describe an album cover he/she designed in their own words.  From the original idea to the finished product, we’ll hear the story behind the cover.

For this installment of Cover Stories, we sought out Figment player formerwageslave, whose cover designs not only netted him the 2011 “Album Cover of the Year” Figgie, but also the #1 selling album on Figment in 2011.  We allowed him to pick a cover of his choice, and he decided to give us an inside look at his design process for the Lucifer and the Long Pigs album “Occult Outlaws.” Take it away formerwageslave!

The cover art for Lucifer and the Long Pigs’ “Occult Outlaws” is one of my favorite designs I’ve done for Figment so far. The artwork was complete long before I had a name for the album, and even before LLP released their double-album “Screwtape” collaboration with Squidbitchez. I had already used old parchment and worn leather textures for previous LLP albums, and in continuing that Wild West theme I knew that using an image of distressed, weathered wood was inevitable. I sorted through a lot of wood stock art before I found one that clicked– it had to look really old and dry, but it had to still be light enough that text, etc. wouldn’t get lost in it.

I had this image in my head of the LLP boys as true hell-raisers and outlaws, and few images communicated that more effectively than the murder of a lawman, a sheriff. I sorted through pages and pages of antique badge photos for one that looked old and beat-up enough, and one that was taken at the right angle with enough resolution for me to work with. I had almost given up when I found one of those old 5-pointed star badges (which also subtly reinforced the usual pentagram imagery of the band). It was perfect, but cutting it out and getting the lighting and shadows right were a chore.
I also wanted to include a spent bullet casing to drive home the idea that the victim had been gunned down. It took a lot of searching to find a bullet with the same finish and aging as the badge, and though the lighting, shadows and size are probably not quite right, I think it does the job just fine.
Next was the all-important blood. I wanted a bloody smear behind the badge, as if the band had just walked into a saloon and casually tossed the gory piece of metal onto a table to show off what they’d done. There are tons of stock photos of “blood,” and most of them look extremely fake. The one I went with might have been a little too bright, but I really liked how it popped out and had the exact dynamic shape that I wanted.
You can’t have a badge smearing blood all over the place without getting some on the front, right? I then cut out a chunk from another stock image of blood stains for the drips on the badge itself. I was also reminded of the Comedian’s blood-stained happy face button from Watchmen, which was also a visual influence on this design.
The final piece was the standard LLP text above and below the main image. Their logo font and text size are pretty standard at this point– except for special releases like the Rapture single, it rarely changes.
I had originally intended the text to have a red gradient, but decided that it took too much away from the contrast and coloring of the blood stains. I instead opted for a metallic gradient that was similar to the finish on the badge and bullet casing.
The rest is history!

We’re very excited to announce that the band we tasked you with building in our Let’s Build A Band feature has taken one more step towards completion!  Victor Rossi & His Big Fat Posse now have a logo!  frizbee, with encouragement from formerwageslave, designed the logo and we’ll leave it to him to describe his design process:

I tried approaching the logo from a few different angles. formerwageslave and I both agreed that a name like Victor Rossi & His Big Fat Posse sounded like the kind of band you’d see playing along side bands like Reverend Horton Heat or The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, but then ChildofAlma’s Shock-and-Awe Sensory Assault Blackened Deathgrind genre really threw us for a loop. It was a tricky combination to design for. I wanted something that felt sleek, something fitting of a name like Victor Rossi & His Big Fat Posse, but something that also let you know that the band was metal. I didn’t want the logo to be too metal, mainly because I felt that it wouldn’t fit the name of the band if the logo looked like your stereotypical metal band logo. I went in a few different directions, from a more classy, almost Steampunk look, to a more old-school, distressed Rockabilly flyer look. The logo I finally decided upon is entirely made from scratch. I decided that I needed to create my own text for the logo, rather than relying on the various fonts in my arsenal. I didn’t have anything that fit the vibe I was aiming for: sleek, but menacing. I created the sharp pointed text in Adobe Illustrator, and I initially intended to include the full band name, but I thought it felt cluttered and wound up going with the more simplistic VR logo. Once I had the text created, I imported it into Photoshop to complete the look of the logo. I added a nice grungy texture background, as well as a scratched metal texture to the logo itself in order to add to the overall impression I was trying to make. I added a few layer styles, such as a drop shadow, bevel and emboss, and a gradient, which helped make the logo stand out against the background and appear more realistic. I also added a small light flare to add to the sleekness of the logo. The blood spatter is actually a nod to my first design, which played very heavily with the blood spatter. In fact, the entire second half of the band name was written in blood in my first design. I decided that it was a bit too much, but I liked the idea of incorporating the blood spatter into this particular logo to help add to the “metal” feel of the band. I’m very happy with the way the logo turned out, and it puts out exactly the vibe that I wanted. The gleaming metallic VR doesn’t necessarily scream “metal” at first glance-it almost reminds you of a hood ornament on some classic car, but then you take in the dark, grungy background and the mysterious spots of blood and you realize that there’s more to this band than meets the eye.

We think it’s a great logo and we hope you do too!  Let frizbee know what you think of his design by leaving a comment below.

Tyman is next on the clock with an assignment to create the band members (needless to say he doesn’t have to create Victor) and an idea of the musical equipment they play.  We expect some interesting choices given the band’s name, tagline, and genre!  Tyman you have until April 13th to send us your assignment, so get to work!

We know you’ve all been waiting patiently to find out who will take home a 2012 Figgie Award, and we’re happy to say the wait is over!  It was a close competition in almost all of the categories, so congrats to every band that was nominated!  Now here are the winners!

 

Click on each of the award icons to see who won!

Best Developed Band 2012

Best Tagline 2012

Best Band Name 2012

Best Single 2012

Best Tour/Festival 2012

Best New Artist 2012

Album Cover of the Year 2012

Album of the Year 2012

Congratulations to all of the Figgie winners and nominees.  The winners will receive 1,000 pieces of Lucre for each Figgie Award they received.

We just wanted to let you know that we’ve made a change to the Figment G-Base.com Gear Store.  Now you can not only buy the best music gear for your band, but you can sell it too!  That’s right, now you can sell your band’s gear back to the Gear Store.  Why?  The full reason will be revealed over time, but for now suffice to say that it will help you in those cases where you may need the lucre to buy equipment for another one of your bands.

To sell your gear, go to the Figment G-Base.com Gear Store by clicking on the link under the equipment you own on your band page or using the link under your band’s name on the dashboard page.  Once you’re in the Gear Store simply go to the bottom of the page, under the gear for sale, and you’ll see a section of the store where it lists the equipment your band owns.  To the left of each piece of equipment will be a button that says “Sell…” and lists the amount of lucre you’ll receive for selling it back to the store.  Click the button and your account will be credited for the lucre you earned from the sale and a message will appear at the top of the page confirming that you sold that piece of equipment back to the store.

That’s all there is to it, so go ahead, buy and sell to your heart’s content!

My bookmark list has been bulging at the seams for some time now, so it’s time for an expanded edition of Cleaning Out The Bookmarks. So sit back, click and enjoy some great internet ephemera!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have no time for Bon Iver, nor do I care for Bon Jovi, but Bon Joviver I can get behind.

frizbee always sends me great stuff, and this link to a Cracked.com & VirusComix.com Rock Timeline is no exception.

In November of 1979, Pink Floyd released “The Wall”.  The 30 shows they played on “The Wall” tour in LA, NY, Dortmund and London are legendary for the sheer scope of the production.  “Pink Floyd:  The Lost Documentary” is a rare look behind the scenes of the shows the band did at Earls Court in London, and really shows how much work goes into putting on a rock opus of this kind.  Make sure you watch Parts 2 & 3 as well.

Turns out the old rock n’ roll maxim “Sex, Drugs and Rock N’ Roll” may only apply to men…well at least the first part, according to Ellen Campesinos! bassist for the rock band Los Campesinos!

And while we’re on the subject of women and music, I enjoyed this article “On Being A Feminist Metalhead”.  Black Metal ain’t just a boys club gentlemen.

Even 8 year old girls can rock hardcore!

Do you love Nirvana?  Then you’ll want to check out “A World of Nirvana”, a mash-up of Google Maps and YouTube, that allows you to view Nirvana shows by year from the band’s early beginnings in 1987 through some of their last shows in 1994.

And speaking of live shows, you gotta love this Flikr pool.

If you never read our interview with Clay Hayes of GigPosters.com or even if you did, we recommend this Visual News interview with the man himself.

Bob Dylan as a zombie?  Madonna as a zombie?  Keith Richards as a zombie?  Wait a minute, Keith IS a zombie!  Check it!

Alternative- pop song lyrics got you wondering?  No need to worry, McSweeney’s provides “Common Sense Solutions to Alt-Pop Song Problems”.

Project Thirty-Three is a blog devoted to “the seemingly infinite number of vintage album covers that convey their message with only simple shapes and typography…”

If this house is rockin’…you CAN come a knockin’!

I love to lie in bed and listen to music, but this is ridiculous…ly cool.

This real band used fake band member names to drum up some mystery that turned into internet hype that turned into an album, tour, etc.  Funny how that works…huh?

Moyssi.com is a website collection of the more than 300 concert programs created by James D. Moyssiadis aka Moyssi for John Scher Productions from 1977 – 1984.  The cover illustrations all depict something original about the artist performing.  It’s really great stuff, so check out the whole site.

frizbee also sent me this article from Webdesigner Depot that showcases some of the Common Design Styles Used In Album Artwork.

Turns out rock bands cop more than just riffs from other people! Who knew a font could cause so much trouble!

Hope I die before I get old!  Well, recent articles in Noisecreep and Holy Taco would seem to back that up.  Ouch.

Who needs a Vegas wedding when you can have Reverend Sister Go-Go perform your nuptials.

Inspiration Feed posted this great article on “10 Ideas Smartly Expressed by Awesome Typography”.

They also had this cool post on “40 Exciting Occupy Movement Poster Designs”.

Graphic designer Simon C. Page created these alternate album cover designs for a series he called “Music Inspired Album Covers”, all of which “were created, influenced and inspired by just listening to the music”.

About.com’s Chad Bowar released his Best Heavy Metal CDs of 2011 list, and it’s a doozy.  Plus he compiled a list of his Top German Metal Bands.

And in the WTF Dept., Disney Is Selling a Joy Division Mickey Mouse T-Shirt.

Looks like Figment News isn’t the only one interviewing fake bands!

Ever wonder how Grace Jones managed that arabesque on the cover of her Island Life album cover?  Here’s how.

These last two links come courtesy of theHoseman who not only clued me into this great article on The Hammond Organ, but also sent me this incredible poster!

 

 

 

 

Rock God Revisited

March 6th, 2012

I’m sure by now you’ve seen the latest Apple iPhone 4S commercial where the kid asks the Siri feature to, among other things, call him a rock god. Well, Matt Binder decided to put his own spin on the commercial on FunnyorDie.com. Enjoy!

Douchebag Siri: the Fixed Apple iPhone Rock God Commercial – watch more funny videos

Tagline…Your It!

March 2nd, 2012

For those of you who haven’t been following the process, we’ve been building a band together here on Figment News. While we won’t waste your time with a complete explanation of the process, we can tell you that our band is a Shock-And-Awe Sensory Assault Blackened Deathgrind (SASABD) band called Victor Rossi and His Big Fat Posse.

Now we’re the first to admit that this is not your “typical band”, but that’s the fun of this exercise creating something that’s not only never been done before, but that is also a true reflection of every player that is participating.

So in this fast-paced world of every changing musical tastes how do you market a Shock-And-Awe Sensory Assault Blackened Deathgrind band in one sentence? That was the task we gave to theHoseman, whose skill in creating memorable taglines netted him a coveted Figgie back in 2010. Well, for one thing you don’t rush him.  He may have taken almost all of his allotted time to settle on a tagline, but in the end it was the first one that popped into his head that he felt best summed up this band.

So without further adieu. Here is our band’s new tagline!

One for your head, two and your dead!

Ominous, threatening, and a bit cryptic…sounds perfect for a SASABD band if you ask us!  Is it the band counting off the beginning of a song in their own unique way, a drug reference or simply a twisted take on the opening lines of the Carl Perkins song “Blue Suede Shoes” made famous by the so-called King of Rock N’ Roll, Elvis Presley?  Hmm…now that’s an interesting angle…is Victor Rossi the evil doppelgänger of Elvis?  Or vice versa?  I guess we’ll find out as we enter the design and writing portion of this process.

Up next is the Band Image/Logo task.  frizbee and formerwageslave you’re on the clock!