Posts Tagged ‘the Astronauts’

On-stage banter no. 548

December 22, 2009

Kidnapped By Spacemen

October 31, 2009

I’ve done a few CD covers and flyers over the past few years for a band called the Otters – a shifting group of young musicians and frontman Mark Astronaut, sometime leader of the punk/folk/underground band the Astronauts, and an individual performer with a massive catalogue of songs about alienation, horror and excessive drug use… often delivered in the guise of a disarmingly catchy pop song, blasted out with force and noise.

I’d hope that my style of artwork fits in with the way that accessible music can have a darker side, and how Mark’s disgusted lyrics are transposed with surreal stage antics, this delivery sometimes masking angry subjects… besides the pictures being something pleasant to look at while playing the CD. The new single ‘Melissa’s Party’ was intended for release a few years ago, and I drew a cover for this lurching song about an addled gathering: “no-one talks about the body, it lies around just like a spoilsport”. Maybe the person on the cover is having a lovely time, maybe they’re really out of it.

Kidnapped By Spacemen’ was a bit different – a track of 18 minutes long which caused jaws to drop on its first performance. The band wanted something similarly bold for the artwork, so I used block text and a pattern in the background drifting away like noise:

Songs Beginning With the Letter ‘H’’ made me think of children’s posters teaching the alphabet, so I used a nice rounded font and a simple picture, but put these paranoid characters in a green glow from above… maybe they’re at a rave or maybe it’s a radioactive death cloud.

You can listen to the band on their myspace, and look out for a documentary about Mark in the new year.

Restricted Hours

August 29, 2009

I went to a nice gig the other evening, another one for which I’d drawn the poster:



When Mark asked me to do the poster, he said to leave a gap somewhere in case they added another artist to the line-up, which is why I used the handwritten style font…  in the end, they didn’t add the other guy’s name, and I have no idea who he was.

Avant-garde saxophonist Lol Coxhill played some pleasurably crazy sounds, Hazel Turnock played a stripped-down/sat-down set of her sultry punk ballads and a few intriguing covers (Iggy and the Stooges and They Might Be Giants), and local legend Mark Astronaut marked his birthday with a selection of his songs from over thirty years of his underground career, with help from members of the Otters.  Lol ‘OMG’ Coxhill guested on the Astronauts’  ‘Don’t Think About It’ to epic effect.

I did a few sketches at the gig and was reminded how difficult it is to draw in the dark; also that I’d rather just sit back and watch Mark flail around in his dramatic way, and nod my head along, than try to capture it on paper.