Behind The Artworks: Derision Cult - Mercenary Notes (2022)

Jim Marcus of Go Fight! and Die Warzau is behind all the artwork. The EP and the tracks address themes of manipulation, media coercion, and over-stimulation. I knew the visual aspect of it needed to convey this as well. But beyond that, I didn’t really have any concrete ideas. I’d played around with some ideas with another artist that featured ideas around screens. That ended up not coming together for a few reasons and we’d already been able to call in so many great folks to help us with this, I decided to go for broke with the visual aspect of this too, and see if we could get Jim involved. It was really great to work with Jim, not just because of what a fan I am of Die Warzau in Go Fight, but because I’m a big fan of his visual work. I’ve been in Die Warzau and Go Fight videos over the years and they’re always great. He’s a highly respected font designer and his eye for cool iconography and his overall aesthetic was something I thought could be really amazing to bring to this. Plus he’s right here in Chicago so it just makes sense. Fortunately, he was really into and things took off pretty quick.

All while this was going on, behind the scenes we were working on a video for the second single called Deaf Blood which was animated. We (Sean Payne and myself) had created a whole story arc and it had a whole city it’s set in. By the time I showed the roughs of it to Jim it was pretty close to done. He also heard rough mixes of the tracks. Right away he developed a new logo for the project which I love. Jim and I are both recovering ad agency guys so we both know a bit about overstimulation and the impact advertising has on our cultural landscape. I think the combination of what we were doing on the anime side with Deaf Blood sort of made its way into Jim’s vision (either consciously or subconsciously). Really quickly, he developed this whole city-scape concept with the slogans and the arrows and put it in a big urban setting (Tokyo and New York Ciity were our reference points). The CD comes with an 8 panel digipak which really goes into a bunch of nuances of this over-stimulation vision. We’re also doing a run of posters that let you see the whole urban setting which I’m really excited about as well a a t-shirt set which highlights the iconography Jim created for the project.

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