Album Design by Atlanta Band Photographer Maryann Davidson Photography
With their album release party and concert just a few hours ago, I wanted to congratulate Souls of Redemption on their successful evening and wish them continued success. It was just a few months ago that Souls of Redemption (SOR), a local heavy metal band, approached me about doing the photography for their sophomore album. After attending one of their rehearsals, I was ALL IN as the band photographer. Inspired by their lyrics and song flow, I sketched out an album design based on SOR’s original concept for the album cover.
After the models were found for the album cover, the first photoshoot was set up at my studio in the Atlanta Goat Farm Arts Complex. While we waited on everyone to arrive, I shot a few quick family portraits. As I said in a previous SOR blog post, I love it when family and friends come out to support their loved ones. So I happily gave the band a few images they didn’t expect – their family. Once the baby woke up from a nap, it was time for the big shoot. When there’s a baby on set, your schedule is their schedule. Everyone quickly learned this as we sang ABCs to keep the little one alert for the camera. You can check out the hilarity of this in behind-the-scenes video on Instagram.
The second photoshoot was the following week at an old abandoned house not too far north of Atlanta. With the owner’s blessing we gained access to the home’s interior. The living room floor was falling through and barely held up under the weight of a sandbagged strobe light. The glorious part was we needed a place that looked like it had been hit by a tornado, and this house fit the bill. We didn’t have to move a single item in the living room in order to get the shot for the album’s insert.
With all the photographs squared away, it was time to start putting the puzzle together. When pieces didn’t quite fit, they were polished or thrown away. The first concept for the cd back (which is often an afterthought in album design) was quickly thrown out because it gave away the ending. (You should never pick up a novel, look at the back cover and be told how the story ends.)
As a band photographer and artist, I am a firm believer that every part of an album’s design should have meaning and be a piece of the complete puzzle. The insert is as important as the cover. The color of the images should convey a mood. The font should fit the character. The tray should have personality. Etcetera and so forth and so on.
So to explain the Album Design as a whole . . .
- The Cover: There’s a storm coming. Tornado off in the distance. A father rushes to get his wife and daughter into the storm shelter. “We Hold Within The Strength To Rise”, a quote from the title track, peaks through the spine of the clear jewel case.
- The Back: The storm. Is it over or just starting? Name of band and album prominently placed. Song list is tight and clean. Souls of Redemption’s website in lower corner.
- The CD: The outside of the weather-beaten home. Band name, album name, song list reflective of back cover. It’s nice to not always have to reference the jewel case to see an album’s song list.
- The 6-Panel Insert: The living room after the storm with furniture and baby items tossed about. Vines emerging into the living room through broken windows, claiming an old family Polaroid upon their entry. The mirror, not broken, but too dirty to reflect even its own dust. Each band member’s framed portrait still somehow upright despite all the turmoil.
- The Music: The album starts with sounds of rain and a storm coming. The intro, Sirens, is an atmospheric guitar solo without lyrics. Each song elevates to the next level. By the final song, Healing the wounds, the album fades to the sounds of birds chirping (for more than 30 seconds), an element not at all expected from a heavy metal band.
- The Tray card: When you lift the cd, there’s an element of surprise – the father is emerging from the storm shelter to bright blue skies . . . and chirping birds.
A special thanks to CNewsome. Without your support and endless hours of photoshopping, this album design would not have been possible.
Remember to support local artists.
“You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.” – Walt Disney
Souls of Redemption Album Design and Release by Atlanta Band Photographer Maryann Davidson Photography
by: Atlanta Photographer Maryann Davidson – (c) all rights reserved