Grails Guitarist Discusses Creating Album Art for Doomsdayer’s Holiday

Doomsdayer’s Holiday is the new release by Portland’s instrumental rock band Grails. Fusing Indian music, 1970s film noir, and psychedelic sounds into heavy acoustic and electric rock, Grails is a wonderful anomaly. I recently spoke with guitarist Alex Hall, who created the artwork for the album.

How did you go about creating the artwork for Doomsdayer’s Holiday?

All of the album art belongs to the found-collage realm. It’s an incredibly powerful medium to work in. I’m not an illustrator, so it allows us to visually express exactly what we want to, rather than relying on some party external to the process.

Was there a design philosophy behind the art?

If there’s a design philosophy, it’s probably just one of anti-design. The goal is to come up with images that are compelling enough to be left alone. Images that can be presented and then just left for the viewer to deal with.

I totally love the archival vibe that records used to have, like the way all of my Epic Records tapes when I was a kid had that same ugly blocky red font on the spine, you know? Album art that’s too slick and over-designed just seems to reveal that the music is striving only to be a consumable product.

Where did the cover image come from?

I have no idea where the main cover image came from. It’s been sitting in a cracked picture frame in [drummer Emil Amos’] living room for several years. We always knew that it would be made into a record cover when the time came.

What are some of your favorite record covers of all time?

Some great record covers, off the top of my head….

David Axelrod: Songs of Experience
Super heavy cover. The tormented producer genius, lonely keeper of the sacred truths.

Van Halen: Fair Warning
Incredibly sinister record cover. Killer combination of high-brow art and low-brow rock. Awesome record.

David Crosby: If I Could Only Remember My Name
Really, really dark. Sun rising over the ocean after a five-day freebase binge.

Flower Travellin’ Band: Anywhere
Kind of obvious, but still…naked Japanese hippie bikers totally win.

What about current album art? What are you into?

Wolf Eyes‘ album art is always really great. Like the music, just the purest distilled blackness and nihilism. It’s a hundred times scarier than skinny nerds in corpse paint.

– Chris Force

The complete artwork to Doomsdayer’s Holiday is below. The record is available now from Temporary Residence.

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