Behind The Artworks: Sleep Waker - Alias (2021)

This is Frankie Mish, drummer for Sleep Waker, and graphic designer for the band. Alias' artwork was something I really wanted to nail down as soon as the concepts for the record started coming together. I wanted it to feel detached from reality, while also basing it on something that felt real, so the move toward photography was definitely intentional. In the past, our art has been flat and based solely on two-dimensional shapes, so this time we wanted to add more depth to also reflect the amount of thought that we like to put into our songs.

The image of the person with a glowing face came from our lyrics, and the reoccurring "blank face" line. The photo and glowing edit was from our old guitarist and current photographer, Eric Overway's, artwork. The cables protruding from the back of the models head was an idea I had shortly after creating the first iteration of the artwork to relate this to some of the inspirations we had for this record. Things like Ghost in the Shell, The Matrix, Blade Runner, all of which have a strong focus on cyberpunk and retro-futurist imagery, and fun fact, the actual “plugs” or little metal pieces are stock images of cheap lightsaber hilts just edited to look more chrome haha.

The circle enclosing the image was meant to view as if you’re looking into a different reality or almost from another perspective. I like to think of it as something that could be interpreted multiple ways. Are you a separate entity viewing this person through a window from an outside perspective? Are you the figure in the image, viewing yourself from this reality projected into your brain from the cables, reaching out to yourself? Or are you there, present in the room with this person, and the perspective is just this small circle, the rest is nebulous space?

Whatever way you want to interpret this, I hope it just creates more questions for you and makes you want to explore more about this album and it’s ideas. The goal is to almost show a glimpse of the world we’re creating rather than give it away. What if this circle moved to the left or right, up or down? What else would we see? Is the figure reaching out to another person, or to something that isn’t really there? What are they connected to?

Finally, the text for this record was also a crucial decision for me. I really wanted to create something unique that could hold up on it’s own, but also blend in seamlessly with the brand. We went through multiple versions and ideas, and finally landed on this italic style lettering with unique A’s and a connective style. It’s a step away from the usual basic Helvetica Neue we used, but I felt it was important that the font really connect to the style of the music and almost look like a font from some futuristic sign in Blade Runner. The way it’s positioned above the circle, I really wanted it to be a highlight of the image and catch your attention first then drag you down into the figure. The slight bleed into the circle from the red and blue is meant to represent change, and how your experiences and personal identity can merge into your life and affect your perception of reality.

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