Illustrated Tapes 127: Songs that make you wanna leave the city
Curated by Dommy Sullivan

Dommy is an Illustrator and tattoo artist from Dartford now based in Brighton, UK.

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

Hi! This tape is inspired by being stuck in the city during lockdown. Throughout the three lockdowns in the UK I had this huge desire to be in the countryside all the time. I used to go on a lot of big walks/cycles for hours around the South Downs and these songs were the soundtrack to that for me. I had so much fun exploring different places and it cemented the idea of moving to the countryside one day. Now when I listen to these songs I feel transported to those places and feelings again.

I wanted to choose songs that had a calm and magical feeling to them, and a few more upbeat ones to break it up a bit. I can imagine listening to these songs cycling down a big hill with great views, and nowhere to be for the rest of the day.

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

I wanted to create something quite optimistic, cheerful and light to match the mood of the playlist. It’s more of a positive exploring vibe and wanting to see what’s out there, rather than a moody “I hate the city” kinda playlist. Most of my drawings are usually in black and white as they’re for tattoo designs, or a lot more detailed, so I took the opportunity to make something colourful and simple while I could! I made this on Procreate, starting off with a sketch then block filling in all the colours with different brushes for texture, then I added in all the details over the top of that using the pencil brushes.

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

I love album covers with striking photographs, particularly film photography. They give me that nostalgic warm feeling of looking through old photo albums. I love this cover from Bess Atwell for her album Already, Always. The colours are great and I just think it’s a great image that suits the vibe of the album well.

Already, Always – Bess Atwell
2021, Real Kind Records
Photography: Sequoia Ziff

I also love covers where there’s a lot going on. I’ve always loved art that has that ‘Where’s Wally’ feel to it, where you are constantly seeing something new in it each time. This album cover by Fleet foxes is one that’s good at doing that. It’s also got a medieval feel to it which I love and inspires a lot of my own illustrations.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
2008, Sub Pop
Artwork: Pieter The Elder Bruegel

Other mentions go to Parquet courts, Pavement, Melvins and Dead Kennedys. I feel like all their album covers are just so great compositionally and colour wise. In particular Frankenchrist by Dead Kennedys, Stag by Melvins, and Wide Awake! by Parquet Courts.

What did you listen to growing up?

My sister was a bit older than me so lots of the music I got from her, things like The White Stripes, Green Day, Reuben, Gogol Bordello. I remember my dad also bringing home a stack of CDs once with The Smiths, The Clash, The Cure and The Jam’s albums amongst them. That's what I pretty much listened to until my later teens when I started going to gigs myself and finding my own music. I was really into indie music like Bombay Bicycle Club, Kings of Leon, The Strokes. When I got to uni I started to explore more and got really into disco, american blues, punk and grunge. I used to listen to a lot of Melvins, Pixies, Robert Johnson and Tinariwen around that time.

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

Everything on this playlist pretty much, chill folky music is my favourite genre I’d say, so these songs are some of my favourites I listen to a lot. Other than that I also listen to a lot of disco, club kinda bangers and 70s-90s rock when I feel I need a bit more energy. I’m loving Confidence Man at the moment, I think they’re really fun.

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

Honestly not much! I’ve actually taken a step back from being creative for a couple of months as I found myself in a burnout situation. Coincidentally, I’ve been going on lots of big walks in the South Downs again to recuperate. I’ve found that not doing anything creative at all can be just as productive for your brain as being creative all the time. Slowly started getting some ideas back after not having any for a while so I think the walks are helping!

Where can we find you


Cheers Dommy!