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🎵 IT193: After Sunrise
✏️ Nicko Phillips
🗓 29.12.22

Nicko is an illustrator, designer and art director based in Point Lonsdale, a magical lil seaside town, not far from Melbourne, Australia.

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

Hey Sam! My tape exists in a magical underwater cosmos. The songs are designed to be played at sunrise – either for those still kicking on, or those just rising. A gentle meander through the seascape on either side of an adventure. It’s the soundtrack to a coastal vacation. They’ve been selected to help evoke that feeling of saltwater dried on the skin, as the dawn of a new day slowly warms your face.

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

I love drawing to music, so that’s always the starting point. It’s almost meditative to be able to imagine a scene, build a soundtrack based on that, then bring it to life either on screen or on paper. In terms of process, I always start with a super low-fi pencil sketch that shows basic elements and composition, then I get busy in Illustrator, and finish it off in Photoshop with textures and layering elements.

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

Donuts – J Dilla
2005, Stone’s Throw
Artwork: Jeff Jank

I think perfection lies in imperfections, and this album 100% embodies that ethos. The samples are awkwardly chopped, the sequencing feels at times feels jarring, but everything just works. It feels like such a visual album too, and the artwork by Jeff Jank totally nails the vibe.

Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
1975, Harvest / Columbia
Photography: Hipgnosis

Pink Floyd, Wish you were here. This cover is from a time and place when craft and meticulousness was a standard. A lot of Pink Floyd’s covers were designed by art studio Hipgnosis (lead by Storm Thorgerson). They believed in doing a lot of the visual trickery for real rather than fudging it in post, which obviously lead to some very extravagant and expensive photo shoots. But damn, it’s worth it.

Wildflower – Avalanches
2016, Modular Recordings / Astralwerks
Quilting & textiles: Kris Vierra
Cover: – Gen Kay
Design: – Chris Hopkins
Design [butterfly logo]: – Fergadelic

The artwork for this gatefold LP is magical. A lot of silk patchworking (by quiltist Kris Vierra), which I guess is a nice lil metaphor for how The Avalanches create a lot of their multi-layered, sampled based music. The video for “Subways” by French duo Mrzyk & Moriceau is pure magic too.

You can catch my visual vibe board over on Pinterest for all things album covers and gig posters too.

What did you listen to growing up?

All sorts of junk. I’m the youngest in my family, so was thrown a lot influences from them. Dad was always a classical music nut, Mum loved the Beatles, Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel, my sister was mad for 80s & 90s pop music, and my brother listened to a lot of early hip hop and rock. Being a 90s kid, I was also was very drenched in grunge – Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Pavement, Sonic Youth, The Breeders, Alice in Chains, Hole. All the usual suspects.

I remember stealing the Led Zepellin Remasters tape from my brother and thrashing it night and day on my Walkman. For some reason I walked everywhere when I was a kid, so I sure did some time with that Walkman, and that Led Zep tape was super formative and lead me to myriad other bands and genres. A true gateway band that I’ll forever love.

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

I find with streaming, it’s really changed the way I listen to music. I’m more into playlists and mixes these days. In terms of new releases, Eddie Chacon and John Carroll Kirby have been making a lot of magic lately, and also Ty Segall’s album he released this year was a total zinger. The Domi & JD Beck album was pretty bonkers.

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?


Cheers Nicko 👋🏽