Illustrated Tapes 002
Porch Light

Curated by Alex Vissaridis
14.03.18
spoti.fi/2FR5ln9



Made to be played front →  back.
Alex is a London based graphic designer and art director.

Yo Alex, can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

Me and this tape go way back. This is essentially an edit of one of the earliest playlists I ever made. It started life as a rainy day mix on iTunes, and when I moved over to Spotify it was the only playlist I bothered migrating. It’s something I keep adding to every now and then when I find a song that fits the mood, but the whole thing is now 40 songs and over 3 hours long, so it’s a bit of a monster. It was really fun to dive into it again, condense it down into the length of a mixtape and give it some real thought with a proper arc and everything.

A couple of the tracks that made the cut were there from the iTunes days; ‘Sometimes’ by My Bloody Valentine, ‘IZ-US’ by Aphex Twin, ‘A Dedication’ by Washed Out… but the track (and sound) that probably best defines the playlist is ‘All I Need’ by Radiohead. There’s something about the droning synthesiser that comes in at 0:21 that I really love, and there’s this other weird repeating synth sound first heard at 1:13 that’s really beautiful. I basically built the playlist around that.

How did you go about the artwork for the tape?

Honestly, I didn’t really think about it much. I’ve always been drawn to digital decay, glitchy-style things, and it just felt right to go down that path for this. I pressed play on the playlist, started with a really simple pixel-art waterfall shape, and then I manipulated it until it felt done. The only prerequisite I gave myself was that it had to be lo-fi and fuzzy around the edges, to match the music.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory was the first album I felt a true connection to and the artwork in the booklet was this crazy multi-layered thing of graffiti, typography and grungy texture that you could sit down for ages and just stare at. I also loved the little alternative logos and symbols they had on the back cover that they then used across their single releases and merch. I filled sketchbooks with that stuff.


Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
2000, Warner Bros.
Design: Frank Maddocks
Drawings; Mike Shinoda


Talking just about covers though, Nine Inch Nails’ 2005 album With Teeth was the first time I ever tried out an album based off the cover art alone, and anyone who knows me will know the love affair it kicked off. I’d happily credit it as the reason I got into graphic design, too – its designer, Rob Sheridan, was plucked out of college at 19 by Trent Reznor, and toured the world as NIN’s art director, working on album art, music videos and tour visuals, which just sounded like the coolest job in the world.


Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth
2005, Nothing
Design: Rob Sheridan


Talking just about covers though, Nine Inch Nails’ 2005 album With Teeth was the first time I ever tried out an album based off the cover art alone, and anyone who knows me will know the love affair it kicked off. I’d happily credit it as the reason I got into graphic design, too – its designer, Rob Sheridan, was plucked out of college at 19 by Trent Reznor, and toured the world as NIN’s art director, working on album art, music videos and tour visuals, which just sounded like the coolest job in the world.


LFO - Advance
1996, Warp
Design: The Designers Republic

Finally, the Designers Republic’s work in the 90s for a lot of artists signed to Warp Records is insane. That music and artwork still looks like the future today, so I can’t imagine how many minds it must have blown when it first came out. A special shout out to Aphex Twin for having tDR plaster his face across his album covers in ways that were as freaky as his music during this period, too.


What did you listen to growing up?

I was a bit of a late bloomer in most things in life, so while all the boys at primary school were starting to get into stuff like Korn, Godsmack and Papa Roach, I was still listening to pop music like S Club 7 and the Now! CDs. Eventually, Linkin Park pulled me over to the dark side, and they opened doors to metal, punk, hip hop and electronic music.

I went through a long rap phase in high school, and listened to a lot of 2Pac, Xzibit and Eminem, but by Year 11 I was fully into alternative metal like A Perfect Circle, Tool, Deftones and NIN, as well as some pop-punk, emo and more generic rock. Like with a lot of people, it was at uni that my tastes really broadened.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

By day, I work as a graphic designer at Deliveroo, which is a fun brand to be at. But, as I’ve been working as an in-house designer for my whole career, it’s my side projects that mean the most to me. I’ve been working on a video games magazine with a friend for a few years now – it’s a long, difficult process, but we’re still chipping away at it and hoping to launch a Kickstarter for the first issue soon!

I’m also working with another friend on a side-thing called Studio Pizza. We started off making a zine about Chester Bennington from Linkin Park and we’ve since done a bit of client work to help fund the next zine we want to do. But, I dunno. He’s started this mixtape series now. I’m not sure this studio thing is gonna work out. Might ditch him and go solo.

Where to find Alex:

︎ studio.pizza
︎ vizzee
︎ @vizzee
Mark