Interview: Adde Russell
Those familiar with our site will no doubt know how much we love Death Cab for Cutie but suprisingly enough our collective love for them has just exapnded ten fold. You see, recently we went looking for the person behind the artwork for Plans and Transalanticism and this adventure led us to the awesome Adde Russell. To say she's talented word be one hell of an underestimation so I won't even bother but thankfully Adde let us send her some questions and this is what went down. ... (continued)
Those familiar with our site will no doubt know how much we love Death Cab for Cutie but suprisingly enough our collective love for them has just exapnded ten fold. You see, recently we went looking for the person behind the artwork for Plans and Transalanticism and this adventure led us to the awesome Adde Russell. To say she's talented word be one hell of an underestimation so I won't even bother but thankfully Adde let us send her some questions and this is what went down. Hello! How are you today? I am doing great today! The holidays are over and it's finally a new year. Firstly can you Introduce yourself to our readers? My name is Adde Russell and I'm a painter & designer currently living in Austin, Texas. How did you get started in the world of art and more specifically the creation of album covers? I would have to say that as a child I always looked for ways to be entertaining or put my spin on something. When deciding on college, I thought that going to art school would be fun. After finishing college, I started working with aÂ gallery in Seattle and focused mainly on painting and exhibits, etc. Some time passed and I felt compelled to do some new things and I got an offer to do album art. Because I wanted to have control over how all the art went down, I quickly learned to work with the computer and figured out how to produce layouts that were suitable for printing. After my first go at it, I was offered more opportunities and each project has pushed me to learn more about the design process. I love what I get to do. The 405 loves Death Cab for Cutie, we're even named after one of their songs, so it's exciting for us to talk to the person that came up with the art for Plans/Transatlanticism and a load of their singles. How did all those projects come along for you and what came along first, the music or the art? The opportunity to work on Transatlanticism came about because I knew Josh Rosenfeld, one of the founders of Barsuk Records and my drum teacher was Jason McGerr. I'm not sure how it all happened, but I think Josh asked the band if they'd give me a chance to come up with something. I was so excited that I went home and created a ton of stuff with so many different styles. I had the expectation that either they'd find something in the mess that they liked or that the band would see how much work I'd done that they wouldn't have the heart to say no. I'm not sure how they decided to work with me, but they did.Â After I started working on the art, I was given the music and it all came together. For Plans, I was fortunate to be given a second chance and went about it the same way. Except that during the first rounds of art reviews I was listening to Jay-Z and Beck, so the art was kind of amiss for what they may have been looking for. A short time later I was given the music and was able to pull it together and present something that was a little more fitting for Plans. If the music came first, were you given specific guidelines for each album or was it left for you to come up with ideas? I feel art and music or anything of a creative matter can be very subjective. I guess that's what makes it what it is... And at times these opinions can change on a minute to minute basis, so I don't know what comes first. In my experience working with Death Cab for Cutie, they really went out of their way to allow me to feel that it was a collaborative effort. I also think that attitude spreads through several aspects of their working relationships with people. They seem to have a lot of faith in the process and through that trust, good work is done --- OR maybe that's how I feel about things. I don't know. Could you also tell us a bit more about the artwork for those two albums? Whats the story behind the crow? The crow came from going to a hobby shop and picking up whatever I thought might work for anything. The first bird was this sorry little white styrofoam bird with red string wrapped around it. Really messy and not well thought out. When I showed the various concepts to the band, that bird idea was an afterthought in the mix. I was more excited about just the red string and really didnât think too much ahead of that. If I remember correctly, it was Nick who was really into the bird and string thing and said to keep working. Once I was able to hear the music the idea became more solidified. For Plans, it was understood that the artwork was to be a little different than before. After listening to the music, I felt that the work needed to be sharper and more theatrical. I began assembling small dioramas, cut small holes out of some black paper and rigged the lighting with a flashlight. After photographing numerous scenes, I brought everything into the computer and went to work. How do you feel about the outcome of Plans and Transatlanticism? It seems that when I complete a project and it goes to print, there are always things I wish I could do over and make better. However, I feel very grateful that I was given the opportunity to work with Death Cab, so any neurotic feelings I have about some minute details are overshadowed by the wonderful experience I was given. If someone asked you for your favourite album cover, what would you pick? It's always changing. I really like the work the Big Active puts out. They have a never-ending list of talented designers and artists. I'm a big fan of Stefan Sagmeister - he's done work for The Rolling Stones, Talking Heads and Lou Reed. I also like the work of Jesse LeDoux who's done a lot of work with Sub Pop Records. Lastly, what does the future hold for Adde Russell? The future hopefully holds a lot of things. I'm working in my studio - painting a lot and working towards a show in the fall. I'm also beginning to discover the world of advertising and have started to explore the many options in that area. I've got a couple of album / book design projects coming up in the spring. Mainly, I'm just working on surrendering to the universe and be grateful for whatever comes my way.
Add RussellDeath Cab For Cutie