In what has become an annual tradition of ours since 2017, we discover the story behind the artwork of The Choice Music Awards nominees and delve a little deeper into the process of how it came about. First up for 2021 are Fontaines D.C.
Who did you collaborate with on the cover? How did this come about?
The artwork is the result of a collaboration between myself (Conor Deegan) and Charlie Drinkwater. We had worked with Charlie in the past on some posters and he was easy to work with and good at what he did so it seemed like a good bet.
Did you have a definitive idea as to how you wanted it to look?
I had a clear idea of the artwork for a long time – long before we even recorded the album. I would walk past the GPO every day in Dublin, and I was always quite enamoured by the statue of Cú Chulainn in there. It always seemed so mysterious to me, this ancient symbol sitting nonchalantly in the middle of our city.
Sculpture of The Dying Cú Chulainn by Oliver Sheppard
After a bit of research I found out that the statue was placed there by Éamon de Valera as a commemoration of the heroes of 1916. I thought this was a very interesting decision on his part – to align these human people he knew with a mythological figure. In this way he alluded to their own heroic nature, and to attempt to put them as a foundational story of our nation in the same way the stories of Cú Chulainn and others are. even more fitting is that the original title of our song ‘Lucid dream’ is ‘A Lucid dream of 1916’ and the GPO as we know is one of the sites of the event.
There is also a point to note of us aligning ourselves with these images; the title A Hero’s Death lining up with what the statue depicts; and the idea of how people are turned into myths. We create music that bares our humanity and in doing so we inadvertently create a myth of ourselves. Its quite ironic really.
“Charlie did a marvellous job of portraying the dreamlike quality we were trying to achieve with the music- a sense of degradation and loss in some kind of spacey dream.”
Was there a starting point and criteria or free reign?
I asked Charlie to make artwork from a picture of the statue we bought the rights to and forwarded to him, and to make it blue. Carlos also laid out the font and said one part of it should be yellow. Other than that he had free reign and came up with the rest of the packaging.
Does the final artwork align with the aesthetic and sound of the album? What does it say?
Yes it does. Charlie did a marvellous job of portraying the dreamlike quality we were trying to achieve with the music- a sense of degradation and loss in some kind of spacey dream. He did this with the risograph printing technique he used.
Favourite album cover(s)?
Probably Mellon collie and the Infinite Sadness. That artwork almost understands the emotions of the album more than the songs do. Either that or ‘music from big pink’, which really brings to the front the primitivist element to The Band’s approach.
The winner of the Choice Music Awards 2020 will be announced on March 4.