🎵 IT075: Songs To Not Exist To
✏️ Alison Friel
🗓 15.09.20

Alison is an illustator from Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Hi Alison! Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

My tape is “Songs To Not Exist To” and I was trying to put together a collection of music that seemingly lowers your heart rate when you put it on, sinking into whatever surface you’re on. Slower-feeling tunes passing in and out of dreamy to dreary, with a consistent sense of calm, like wearing a weighted blanket. Each allowing you to escape into an ethereal and otherworldly plane.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

I’ve been looking a lot at older surrealist paintings and photos and conceptual sculpture, (Dorthea Tanning, Helmut Newton, William Mortensen) and trying to figure out how I can translate that uncertainty of reality in illustration.

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

Oh man I am sooo into the album work for Duster’s self-titled that came out last year. A huge inspiration both musically and visually for this playlist, feels like everything I want to evoke. But also recently loved Phil Everum’s beautiful photography and collage on the Microphones in 2020 album, along with the “powerpoint/photo flip/ music display” video made for it.

Duster – Duster
2019, Muddguts
Artwork: Salvatore Olentino

Microphones In 2020 – The Microphones
2020, Drag City
Photography: Mirah Y.T. Zeitlyn

I’ve also really loved a lot of the artwork to come out of the Swans discography and Michael Gira’s attraction to really basic human symbols and imagery in his work.

To Be Kind Swans
2014, Young God Records
Art Dir: Michael Gira
Illustrations: Bob Biggs

How I Loved You The Angels of Light
2001, Young God Records
Artwork [Execution]: Joseph Budenholzer
Design [Package] – Michael Gira

What did you listen to growing up?

A lot of generational rock and roll classics because  my parents are big into like all music that came out before the 1980s haha. The ones that stick out though are the Beatles, Kinks, Moody Blues. But also a lot of 90s influences from my older brothers (Pixies, but also a lot of bad grunge) and of course I was a teen during the big indie boom of the 2010s (Animal Collective, Beach House, Fleet Foxes, other one-hit indie bands I haven’t thought of since 2012).

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

Over the last few years I’ve really come to love just noisey, sludgy music that just feels like a wall of sound. Been enjoying a lot moody tunes like Mount Eerie, Grouper (an absolute inspiration on every level!), Godspeed. I also went through Elliot Smith’s discography as a part of a running quarantine project with friends where we listen to a whole discography and compare rankings.

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

I currently do print and pattern work for the kids clothing brand at Target, so you can check out all the cute baby Halloween outfits out now that I worked on. Otherwise honestly just sticking to my sketchbook trying to figure out how to make illustration exciting to me again since I feel like my outlook on art is completely different from when I graduated a few years ago! It's a journey!

Where can we find you?

︎ frielalison.com (mostly old grad work)
︎ @sunnycowpoke

Thanks Alison.

Talk Talk - Taphead /  Chris Reimer - Mustard Gas / Slowdive - Go Get It / Eric's Trip - Secret For Julie / Duster - Topical Solution / Guided By Voices - Smothered In Hugs / Telstar Drugs - Greyed Rainbow / Mount Eerie - (Something) / Mount Eerie - The Place I Live / Radiohead - Treefingers / Deakin - Good House / Yo La Tengo - Damage / Grouper - Heavy Water/I'd Rather Be Sleeping / Have A Nice Life - A Quick One Before the Eternal Worm Devours Connecticut ︎