︎ ︎ ︎

🎵 IT192: All Day Breakfast
✏️ Stephen Kissel
🗓 22.12.22

Stephen is an illustrator and cartoonist based in Lynchburg, VA, USA.

Howdy Stephen Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

Hey Sam! Well, breakfast foods have always been ones I could (and often do) eat for any meal — they’re some of the best! That made me want to put together a set kinda inspired by them, but also that would make for a good listen while cooking.

It took a little while to figure out the right order for things though! I knew where I wanted to start and end it, but wasn’t sure exactly where to put the rest. So I started thinking about making breakfast on the weekend and feeling a little sluggish after sleeping in a little.

The mix ended up a bit slower at the start and picks up after the first ‘cup of coffee’. It has a little more energy in the middle and starts to slow down again at the end… like you might feel after scarfing down a big meal.

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

I was mainly trying to show my character whipping up a meal and wanted to keep a warm, early morning feeling to it with the colors. 

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

When I was in school for graphic design, I started paying a lot more attention to packaging design and caught the album artwork Chutes Too Narrow. The playful vibe and diecut insert was a something I was immediately drawn to.

Their Heartworms album was another one that I really loved. The art had some beautiful linework and colors, but also just a little creepy with the skeleton and wormy tendrils popping out.

Chutes Too Narrow – The Shins
2003, Sub Pop
Artwork: Jesse LeDoux

Heartworms – The Shins
2017, Columbia / Aural Apothocary
Artwork: Jacob Escobedo

Hard to pick one album from The Decemberists, because Carson Ellis’ art is so good, but the brighter color palette and collage-style of I’ll Be Your Girl might be my fave.

I’ll Be Your Girl – The Decemberists
2018, Rough Trade / Capitol
Art Dir / Design: Glen Nakasako, Jeri Heiden
Art Dir / Design, Illustration, Lettering: Carson Ellis

I started listening to a lot of Animal Crossing music during the pandemic before New Horizons came out. So everything from catbeats was a really nice way to chill out. All of their albums have had such fun artwork and scenes that I just want to go hang out it.

“Closing Hour at the Cat Café” [single] – catbeats
2019, Swedish Columbia
Artwork: Zhenya Artemjev

I have vivid memories of first seeing musical acts with the Muppets on Nickelodeon, specifically snippets of Crocodile Rock with Elton John from the Muppet Show and Kermit doing a rendition of “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys. I think it was the weirdness and fun of having musicians interacting with puppets and also playing things so straight. Between those and then all the amazing music in Fraggle Rock, I was hooked.

What did you listen to growing up?

As a kid, I was mostly hearing the country stations that my mom listened to while taking me to school. I think the first big thing I was into music-wise though was Weird Al (which I couldn’t help but include here). Even with it mostly being parodies of other songs, I feel like it kind of helped expose me to different types of music in a way. I had this recorded VHS copy of his There’s No Going Home special repeatedly and being obsessed, so I totally don’t mind the attention he’s getting lately.

I went through more pop/rock in my teens with bands like Matchbox Twenty, U2, Linkin Park, and Coldplay, but also random punk stuff from things like the Tony Hawk soundtracks. College (and working in coffee shops) brought me more into some indie stuff with Spoon, The Decemberists, Death Cab and so on.

Nowadays, I feel like my taste is all over the place!

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

It’s been a mix of things lately… a lot of Japanese Breakfast, The War on Drugs, random J-Pop and anime/video game soundtracks. I’ve really been liking chelmico since hearing them during the opening of Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken. We have a really great local-ish indie radio station too (WNRN), which always has some good stuff on air.

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

My day job keeps me pretty busy most of the time! I work for a local arts non-profit doing arts education out in the community, so I feel like that always keeps me going creatively. I’m also working on some new comics projects for the new year and getting prepped for any upcoming shows to sell work at.

Where can we find you?

You can always check out my website at stephenkissel.com and you can find me over on Instagram at @stephenkissel too.

Thanks Stephen 👋🏽