Whiskey Autumn's isolated vocals series is a cool look into their sound.
A few months ago, Whiskey Autumn approached me about modeling for their isolated vocal release series. Frontman Greg Laut storyboarded, directed, photographed, and styled the shoot for their “Letterman Sweater” track artwork, which you can see and listen to here:
In talking with Laut more about Whiskey Autumn’s isolated vocal tracks, I was inspired to work with him on the production of the artwork for their most recent release, “A Fool’s Errand.” Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we put this shoot together:
First off- what made you decide to release an isolated vocal series? And why create artwork for each track?
Isolated vocal tracks are meant to showcase a song in a way that people haven’t heard yet. The idea stemmed from nerding out on YouTube and listening to isolated vocal cuts from classic Beatles and Beach Boys songs such as "This Boy" and "Wouldn’t It Be Nice." Removing the backing instrumentation allows these songs to take on new life and emphasizes how important the vocals are to the overall sound of the recordings.
Many of the songs I write tell stories, and creating photos provides an image for the narrative. It’s fun to present a visual story and is more engaging than posting our existing album covers which people are familiar with at this point.
The images really do bring the story to life. “Letterman Sweater” was really the beginning of the portrait-style art behind each vocal release. What were you hoping to communicate with the artwork for that particular song?
“Letterman Sweater” is the story of a young man pining for his lost love. The only place he can understand and make the girl happy is in his dreams, where she is cold and puts on his sweater. The photo represents his dream world where the girl wears a piece of him and everything is a bit surreal. I wanted the picture to convey a sense of innocence since the song is about young, naive love.
Sweet. So let’s jump into the thought process behind “A Fool’s Errand.” Originally, you came to me with the idea of wanting the photo to have a feeling of rebellion. You had a strong sense of direction with this photo relating to the lyrics “adorn every white picket fence in flames.” Talk more about that.
When Whiskey Autumn was initially brainstorming album cover ideas for “Call You Mine,” I really wanted the cover to be a white picket fence on fire in front of an idyllic ‘American Dream’ type of house. We went with a different idea, but months later, I still thought this would make for a grabbing image. We just pivoted from the direction of literally lighting a fence on fire to a rebellious man preparing to burn down an established dream that he doesn’t believe in.
Speaking of the rebellious man, let’s give a quick introduction to our model. I actually did a Craigslist casting call for this shoot. We had a ton of people submit, and eventually local artist Michael Maloney reached out to us. His long hair and awesome tattoos (which he designed himself) seemed like a perfect fit for the defiant look of this photo. After an initial meet-up (and eventually an interview for his own feature, which will be published tomorrow detailing his cool artwork), we knew he was a perfect fit.
Which brings me to what I love most about the theme of this track art- the portrait element. It makes the song feel like it’s focusing on a character; a specific story, which I think is an awesome blend with such stripped-down tracks. Cut the instruments; add a strong visual. It’s a cool way for people to envision and interpret the songs differently and it presents something for their imagination to jump from.
Definitely. Even though I have my own interpretation of each song, listeners will naturally project their own feelings and perspectives onto them. Hopefully the photos will showcase what the songs mean to me while giving others a new vantage point to develop their own perceptions.
So stoked for more releases in this series. Check out the final photo we chose from our shoot and give “A Fool’s Errand” a listen here:
And make sure to check back tomorrow for the feature on the model in the photo, local artist Michael Maloney aka OhhMika The Fox King!
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.