Illustrated Tapes 168: BADA BING.
✏️ Laura Wood
🗓 07.07.22


Laura is a freelance illustrator, mainly in the book industry but also working across magazines, ad agencies. She’s based in Milan, Italy.

Hi Laura. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

My mixtape is made of Italian songs that are covers of well-known English tunes.

So, basically, English songs that have been ‘stolen’ (mostly in the 60s when copyright issues were very different from now) by popular Italian bands or singers who made a ‘national’ version of them. And I’m talking about national versions that have become so famous that made people in Italy completely forget about the original version.

“Bada Bing” is apparently is the typical/stereotypical phrase that an Italo-American person would say. (I say apparently because I had no idea about this, until now. I looked it up and that’s what Google said. I hope that’s correct!)

It means something along the lines of “And here we go”. I found it so funny and at the same time made so much sense to me. So I thought it would have been perfect for this cultural and musical mash-up.

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

With a visual metaphor, I tried to get the gist of the whole concept. It might be banal, however when it comes to different countries or cultures, food is always in the middle of it. So I decided to use the image of a pizza slice dipping into a classic Anglo Saxon kind of drink. I find this to be gross and funny at the same time!

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

To be completely honest, I’ve never paid too much attention to album covers (which is weird, because for some reason book covers always have such a huge influence on whether I would buy that book or not!). So I had to do some research to answer this one.

I guess some of my favourite album covers would be covers of albums that I used to own or that my parents used to have and consequently I grew up with. They are the ones that are most impressed in my mind still to this day.

For example, some of the Italian punk music I used to listen to, had really cool illustrated album covers, and in particular a band called Derozer made some really amazing ones, like the following:

‘114’ [EP] – Derozer
1994, Derotten Records

Alla Nostra Età – Derozer
1999, KOB / Mad Butcher / Derotten Records
Artwork: Stefano Zattera

When I look at the following album cover, it’s like my entire youth is coming right at me! It’s an icon album from the early 90s and the band, called 883, during their career made a lot of album covers drawn with a comic book style, like this one. I was very young back then and I remember finding this very very cool…

Nord Sud Ovest Est – 883
1993, Free Records Independent / ZYX Music
Artwork: Studio Prodesign

And finally, I want to give a special mention to this Kiss album cover, which moves!

Rock and Roll Over – Kiss
1976, Casablanca
Artwork: Michael Dorer

What did you listen to growing up?

As a young teenager, I had two big music loves: Elvis Presley and the Beatles.

I spent hours of my teenage years listening to them! I still love that music and in general music from that era.

Right after that phase (let’s say during my ‘rebellion’ years) I fell in love with punk music and everything that was underground and a bit rebellious: Nirvana, Korn, Slipknot, Hole, Placebo, Smashing Pumpkins, and everything ‘alternative’ that MTV was broadcasting during the very beginning of the century.

I was about 16 or 17 and I felt so alternative and punk! Until a punk dude I met in London told me that if something is on MTV it means it’s pop, end of story. I was crushed.

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

For a few years, I’ve been a huge fan of swing music so I often listen to that, which always works for lighting up my mood. Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerand, Duke Ellington, Lavern Baker and people like that… basically some of the most super-dooper musicians of all time.

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

At the moment, my creative world is a little bit of a mess. In a good way, tho.

I’m working on developing a brand-new illustration portfolio with a new style. That’s because after years of doing the same thing over and over, I needed a change. It’s not an easy task, since in the illustration world everybody recognises you by your style, that’s your business card, in a way. It’s definitely challenging, but rewarding indeed. I only need to remind myself everyday to be patient, resilient and, why not, a little bit stubborn and sooner or later results will come my way. Fingers crossed for me please!

Also, another big change was to start working from home again. Since 2013, I’ve always been working from a shared-studio space. However, this year I finally managed to buy a house (my own house!! How incredible!) which means I’m now poor and broken and need to make an effort to save some money. So I’ve decided to give up my desk in my shared studio space (sad, grown-up life choices) and work from home for the time being. It’s definitely not as fun and social as having a studio space, but I must admit I get a lot more done. I can also sing out loud while I work.

Where can we find you?

You can have a look at my portfolio on my website and follow my regular updates on Instagram

Thanks Laura 👋🏽