Illustrated Tapes 142: Hallelujah, I Love Jazz.
Curated by Seb Westcott

Seb is an illustrator and tattoo apprentice from Brighton, currently based in Cornwall.

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Hey Seb. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

I guess it starts with that walking bass line on ‘Excursions’. The first time I heard it, my mind was totally blown apart and since then I’ve been looking for rap music that recaptures that feeling for me. I stashed a bunch of these gems in a bag cause I don't think it’s a sound you hear by accident, it feels like these were songs that found me because I was ready to hear them and there are so many tiny transcendent moments that take me by surprise no matter how many times I hear them. I guess that’s just a long winded way of saying that I just think Jazz Rap sounds really really cool.

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

I thought a lot about all the sonic elements that make me love this sound and reimagined them as visual ingredients. I knew it had to be colourful but refined and it needed to somehow juxtapose elegance with a sort of jarring sharpness and I knew that above all it just needed to be playful. Once I had those ingredients laid out in front of me, the idea came really easily. I sat down with my pencil and a sketchbook and two spare minutes and scribbled down a rough idea which ended up being almost totally unchanged when it came to the final artwork. 

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

I tried my hardest to think of something that wasn’t MF DOOM but I dunno man, how could I not? Mm..Food is my absolute favourite album cover but I think the illustration on the back is even cooler.

Mm..Food – MF DOOM
[Back cover]
2004, Rhymesayers Entertainment
Artwork: Jason Jagel
I aslo like a lof self consciously really dumb ugly album covers. Two that come to mind are the new Lil Ugly Mane album and Knife Man by AJJ.

Volcanic Bird Enemy And The Voiced Concern – Lil Ugly Mane
2021, Self-released / Fashionable Death
Cover: Patrick Quinn
Design: Lil Ugly Mane

Knife Man – Andrew Jackson Jihad
2011, Asian Man Records
Artwork: Sentrock

What did you listen to growing up?

Almost all of my musical memories as a kid are from being in the car with my dad. He had this one mix CD that someone had made for him but for some reason it was kept in the case for a Fatboy Slim album so for a long time, I was under the impression that like, “Helicopter” by Bloc Party and “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Toploader were Fatboy Slim songs and that he had a crazy diverse sound. Two albums I specifically remember hearing a lot though were the Best of the Beach Boys (because whenever “When I Grow Up” came on I would start earnestly wondering what my life would be like in ten to fifteen years time) and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips (cause that one song was instrumental and had fighting sound effects and I thought that was super cool).

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

Driver by Adult Mom has been on repeat for pretty much all of the year, I dont think I’ve connected with an album in that way in a long time, it feels like an album I’m going to carry with me for the rest of my life. I also liked the albums that that Little Simz and Japanese Breakfast put out this year. And, despite all the valid criticism and mixed reception that Donda received, I still think that Kanye is talented in a way that no other artist is, it’s an album I can’t imagine anyone else making. Also 2021 was the year I finally GOT Blond so it’s been my Frank Ocean year.

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

Pretty much all of January is devoted to one really big project that’s basically my dream project and I can’t talk about publicly because of NDAs. I’m also learning to tattoo which is super exciting. I recently realised that I can draw a pretty passable picture of Garfield in like 20 seconds so I’ve been doing that a lot too recently.

Where can we find you?

@iamsebwestcott is my main illustration Insta, @sebtattooedme is for my tattoo stuff and is my portfolio!

Cheers Seb 👋🏽