Illustrated Tapes 043: Sounds of Doom

Curated by Death House
29.10.19
spoti.fi/2Bou2Xl



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Death House is an indie brand rooted in the occult, run by artist and printmaker George Heaven in London, UK.

Hey George! We love all the macabre imagery and haunted vibes of your indie brand Death House, so we thought you’d be a perfect match to curate our late October mixtape. What’s the story behind DH?

Hey! Cheers, I appreciate the kind words. So I started Death House last year because I needed a vehicle to get my artwork out into the world. I’d been doing odd freelance work here and there but It all got a little bit prescriptive for my liking. It was a bit of a gamble really as the market for illustrated t-shirts is pretty saturated but it’s been really well received so far. I’ve always been really independent so doing things this way really works for me.

Can you tell us a little bit about your mixtape and song selections?

Yeah so my mixtape is a selection of my favourite doom metal tracks. I’ve included some of my favourite tracks by bands that I think define the genre and have played key roles in its development. Since Black Sabbath gifted the world with their debut record in 1970 there has been a fairly steady torrent of bands that have embraced their defining sound and built upon the foundations that Ozzy, Geezer, Tony and Bill set down.

Bands like Electric Wizard for instance take the slow and bludgeoning riffs and make them even slower and scarier and bands such as Uncle Acid seem to encompass the feeling of drug crazed murderers trapped in a haze of psychedelic violence. It seems everyone has their own take on it. One of my personal favourites from this mixtape is Black Flag’s Nothing Left Inside. It was by all accounts quite a divisive choice to have the tail end of My War degenerate into a doomy trudge. It doesn’t have references to witches and serial killers but it does have an intense and visceral quality that makes it stand out in the crowd, which is why I love it.

How did you go about the artwork?

I wanted it to look like the cover of an old compilation record. The death head executioner holds his axe of doom, waiting to bring it down upon your neck in an explosion of blood and riffs!

How does music factor in to the Death House world?

Music is definitely a big inspiration for what I do with Death House. When I’m drawing the graphics I generally have either a movie or some kind of playlist on in the background. I do like a bit of Sabbath or something heavy to set the mood but sometimes when that gets a bit much I will happily listen to some Chas and Dave or a little bit of Glen Campbell it really depends on my mood. Same with movies, I watch a lot of horror but will happily let an entire series of I’m Alan Partridge play whilst I’m working.

Usually if I’ve been listening to a certain band, ideas from that will filter into my work. I went to see Electric Wizard a week or so ago and so my head is spinning with that trippy psychedelic horror stuff they use in their stage projections. For anyone that hasn’t seen them live I really recommend you catch them when they next tour!

Who is creeping it real for you in the music world? Do you have any fave album covers or projects with a haunted energy?

The latest Sleep record The Sciences was one of my favourite releases last year and I’m im still playing it regularly. Sticking with the Matt Pike theme I loved High on Fire’s Electric Messiah, probably one of the best modern metal albums I’ve ever heard.


Sleep - The Sciences
2018, Third Man Records
Artwork: Jason Roeder
Design: Josh Graham


In terms of album artwork I’m still a sucker for the Derek Riggs artwork for Iron Maiden. I love how they are all themed and just create a world of their own. Somewhere In Time is my favourite Maiden cover, all the little easter eggs and references to other albums are awesome.


Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time
1986, EMI
Illustration: Derek 'Master Of The Universe' Riggs
Concept/design: Derek Riggs, Rod Smallwood


I really like the artwork Brian Schroeder (aka Pushead) has done for Metallica over the years and I love his work for Zorlac skateboards in the 80s. I have a skateboard printed by Lovenskate featuring his artwork for Metallica’s cover of ‘Crash course in Brain Surgery’ by Budgie. It’s hanging on the wall never to be skated! On that note, anyone interested in skate graphics should go and buy Sean Clivers book Disposable it’s pretty much the bible of skateboard artwork!


Metallica - Crash Course in Brain Surgery
1987, Elektra / Vertigo
Illustration: Brian Schroeder


What did you listen to growing up?

I was a proper metal head when I was at school, long ginger hair and zits! My favourites were Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Pantera all that stuff.I used to get the train into Guildford and go to a shop called Ben’s Records and buy any metal stuff he had in there. I still have all the Iron Maiden records he sold me! I started to play guitar at this time too, which obviously influenced the music I was buying and listening to.

Through learning the guitar I discovered people like Frank Zappa and Jeff Beck who really blew my mind.  When I left school I tried to be a bit cool and started listening to more of the alternative stuff like Pavement and The Smiths but I will always be that sweaty, ginger weirdo, breaking guitar strings in the music room at lunch time.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

I went to see Sleep a few weeks back and Electric Wizard supported by Church of Misery and Conan. All those bands were fucking phenomenal and I’ve been playing their records a lot, particularly a Pre-Electric Wizard compilation of stuff recorded under different band names, Church of Misery’s Houses of the Unholy and Sleep’s Dopesmoker. I have also recently gotten into a band called High Reeper who are on a US label called Heavy Psych Sounds. They are really good if you are into Sabbath style hard rock with a bit of a 70s vibe.

Congrats on launching the first issue of Death House Zine, it looks rad! How did that come about?

I just thought it’d be cool! I have lots of artwork that has gone pretty much unused and thought it’d be cool to put it somewhere so why not start a zine? I’ve also got a bunch of other artists inside the pages plus some silly features and a short story I’ve written. I’ve been writing a fair amount so i think this will become a regular thing, depending on how popular this one is of course. It has had an awesome reception so far just based on the cover alone so I’m really hoping it delivers once folks get to see the inside pages!

What’s next for Death House?

More t-shirts and zines! I am also doing a movie night at Lost Boys Pizza in camden next month with a guy that runs a thing called Toxic Popcorn. I’m showing The Blood On Satan’s Claw which is a great old british folk horror film. You should come!

Where can we find you?
︎ deathhouseuk.bigcartel.com
︎ @deathhouseuk

Cheers George!