Maybe Ailbhe Reddy is a control freak. But then again, maybe she’s such a talent that she can deliver her own artwork too. She tells us about the old encyclopedias, vintage botanical and medical illustrations which informed Personal History.
Who did you collaborate with on the cover? How did this come about?
I actually did the cover art for Personal History myself. I started working on the concept and ideas for it before I got into studio to record. I, obviously, had all the demos ready before studio so the concept of the album was already very clear in my mind. I actually did a lot of different drafts of the artwork before settling on the final version. I had done some artwork for different singles in the past, but had never undertaken such a big project, or anything that would be printed on vinyl and CDs so it was a bit nerve wracking when the vinyl arrived to my apartment, I was terrified that I had made a huge mistake somewhere! I really wanted to do the artwork myself for my debut album and had such a clear idea of what I wanted that I felt I couldn’t get across to another person. The album and artwork all felt too personal to outsource. Or maybe I’m just a control freak?
Did you have a definitive idea as to how you wanted it to look? Was there a starting point and criteria or free reign?
I settled on the title Personal History and started using Pinterest to look at different old medical certs, which sounds soooo weird but that is where I started. I was thinking of personal history as being a medical history and how I could portray that in the artwork. I then started looking at old encyclopedias, and vintage botanical and medical illustrations. The album is about creativity blooming from introspection and self discovery, so I suppose the artwork is meant to represent that.
“I really wanted to do the artwork myself for my debut album and had such a clear idea of what I wanted that I felt I couldn’t get across to another person. The album and artwork all felt too personal to outsource. Or maybe I’m just a control freak?”
Does the final artwork align with the aesthetic and sound of the album? What does it say?
The album is all about self discovery, and a personal history of my twenties. I had completed a degree in psychotherapy before I started writing the album and a lot of the clinical words from my studies ended up in my lyrics, lyrics like ‘personal history’, ‘self improvement’, ‘true intimacy’, and ‘ego’. So, the aesthetic of the artwork felt like it naturally aligned with the music and the story behind it.
Favourite album cover(s)?
The Party by Andy Shauf
Capacity by Big Thief
Woman by Rhye
Grim Town by SOAK
Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers
The winner of the Choice Music Awards 2020 will be announced on March 4.
Read our interview with Ailbhe here.