Behind The Artwork: Brigades - True Blue (2018)

Brigades guitarist Eric Morgan shares the story behind the artwork for their latest EP True Blue, which was released last week. True Blue is available everywhere now, including Spotify, BandcampApple Music, and Google Play. Physical cassettes can be purchased through the band's merch store.

Personally, the art for our new EP True Blue is very special as it features a photo I took of my wife from a trip we took last year. Though honestly, and frustratingly, it was one of the last pieces to come together for this album release. 

Sonically and lyrically we knew what this record was going to represent early on as Darren and I were in the middle of writing and pre-production. He had actually texted me the name of the album over a year ago — already this theme was churning in his mind. But when it came time to get the cover art produced, we hit a roadblock.

Both of us agreed that the art should not feel like it belonged in a genre. It didn’t need to communicate the sound but a mood that would pair itself with the songs in the listeners mind. We knew we wanted a photo base in order to capture that level of emotion, but communicating this became a challenge.

After a couple months of going back and forth working with a talented photographer friend, we never landed on an image that we loved and eventually just felt stuck. What was in our heads wasn’t coming out and we didn’t know how to relay what was envisioned for the record.

This was the first time during the album cycle that we hit such a impasse and it was a bit demoralizing, especially since we were closing in on the date penciled for the announcement. Feeling gloomy and more so panicky knowing we needed something soon, I started going through travel photos I had taken over the last few years.

I came to a forgotten set of images I’d taken from Color Factory during a trip to San Fransisco. The pop-up interactive exhibit in Union Square featured dozens of intricately themed rooms based on a single material or color. There was a room that was hundreds of disco balls that happened to be next to a room of only blue balloons — which resulted in an array of blue light reflections that ended up serving the album title.

Showing a few possible images to Darren, he immediately picked out the close-up that became the cover photo. It had the simplicity, the emotion, and matched the aesthetic we were painting with the songs. Having the cover image gave us a spark on finalizing what we wanted to do merch wise, look wise, and obviously flush out the blue color scheme that surrounds the record.

My wife, who’s a web designer at an agency here in North Carolina, took on finishing the cover work — after a bit of convincing that it wasn’t weird to have her face on the release. She also did the layout for our cassettes, as well as the illustrations used for our single “Sucker”.

For me, it was great to get a chance to work together on a passion project with my wife and to have her contribute to an integral part of the release. Darren too really enjoyed having one of our own be a part of the project, he had made it a sort of a mission early on to build our “team” around those close to us and that helped build a record we were both proud and excited to share.

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