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by Silke Hartung

Q & A: Sola Rosa’s Andrew Spraggon Talks Cover

by Silke Hartung

Q & A: Sola Rosa’s Andrew Spraggon Talks Cover

On November 5, Sola Rosa ‘s 2018 EP ‘In Spaces’ won a Tui for the Best Album Cover of the year at the Artisan Awards. Based on photography by German Matthias Heiderich and designed by Kiwi Jaime Robertson, the clear lines and nearly surreal architectural perspective wooed the judges over Tami Neilson‘s bright “forbidden fruit”-themed retro pop photo, and maestro Barny Bewick‘s eerily hot date for the cover of Cairo Knife Fight‘s latest. Silke Hartung quizzed Sola Rosa‘s Andrew Spraggon on his approach to album artwork.

It’s a surprise your albums haven’t won a design award before – the cover artwork has always been vibrant and generally well suited to your music. What makes for a successful album cover?

A good album cover should always capture the overall feel and sound of the music. I grew up with vinyl and cassettes and then CDs, and the cover art is important to me. It speaks volumes about how much care and thought has gone into presenting the overall package. If your cover art sucks, then why should anyone take that next step to listen to the music?

For this album I wanted to use photography as the previous few releases had been purely computer generated images by American Dan Stiles. I wanted a new direction but overall I wanted it to match the music. I’m really happy with the end result.

How do you find an artist able to visualise the music in a way that the listener will understand what’s “in the box”?

For me, I look at the overall sound of the album and what that sound represents for me. For ‘In Spaces’ the sound was quite electronic and angular with the beats, so I wanted something visually that matched that sound. I wanted something sharp, angular and urban. 

I had recently discovered the photography of Matthias Heidrich and instantly felt a connection with his photographs and my music. I contacted him to ask if he would be interested in collaborating and after looking at a selection of photos for the cover I ended up with the cover choice. Then it was a case of working with Jaime Robertson to illustrate and also create images for the singles from that one image.

sola rosa

You collaborate a lot within music. When it comes to your cover art how actively involved are you as an artist?

I’m involved right from the start. I know what kind of image I want for the cover, it’s simply a case of finding the right people to work with to get a great result. A lot of time goes into the cover art, it can take months of looking through images and discussing detail to make a final decision. Once selected it’s then a case of choosing the right layout and illustration. If pressing vinyl and CDs then there’s a lot more to consider such as back cover image, inside sleeve, booklet etc. So it can be a big process.

So when will we get to hear a first taste of your new album, and who have you been working with this time?

I have a January deadline, so hopefully people will get to hear a taste in 2019. I’ve mostly been working with UK vocalists such as Kiko Bun, Eva Lazarus, Jerome Thomas, Josh Barry and Kevin Mark Trail to name a few. The only local artist on this album is Troy Kingi. There’s still collabs in the pipeline so I can’t give away too much. Also working with my band and other musicians such as Julian Dyne, Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper, Hadyn Godfrey, Elia Gaitau, Michal Martyniuk and more. A lot of collaborators on this album – it’s been in the pipeline since 2013.