︎ ︎ ︎

🎵 IT207: Out the Window at Night
✏️ Nicholas Stevenson
🗓 22.07.23

Michelle is an illustrator based in Almere, The Netherlands

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

My tape is called ‘Out the Window at Night’, based of the eerie views from my childhood bedroom.

The playlist begins at dusk, the sun is setting and the plants are all breathing out. As the playlist goes on the garden starts to come to life and strange luminous creatures invite you out to dance. The final section takes you off to a beautiful and magical sleep.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the years illustrating a particular feeling that I had looking out of my bedroom window at night. I spent a few years as a kid living in The Seychelles, my view was a garden full of tropical plants and flowers. At night the plants seemed to have an eerie glow to them, probably aided by the ghost stories I would beg my parents to tell me. A sort of haunted tropics, beautiful and scary and mysterious, is what informs a lot of my personal illustrations. I’m frequently trying to chase a feeling of intrigue, eeriness and childlike energy that stems from that time. 

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

I tried so many things for this! I’m in a bit of a transitionary moment with my illustration so I used this as an excuse to play. In pursuit of that eerie, glowing night time I even tried making 3D glowing trees in Blender, but they didn’t make it in the final cut.

I did something a bit more straightforward also and tried just memorising the view from the window.

In the end I did something more symbolic, it doesn’t look like any of my memories, but it succeeds at conveying the intended feeling best.

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

Zerzura (Original Soundtrack Recording) by Ahmoudou Madassane.

Zerzura – Ahmoudou Madassane
2018, Sahel Sounds
Photography: Christopher Kirkley 

It’s a photographic cover, but it’s so graphic and musical. Totally beautiful and the perfect accompaniment to the sounds.

Their Satanic Majesties Request – The Rolling Stones
1967, Decca
Artwork: Artchie, Michael Cooper, The Rolling Stones

This was sort of a response to Sergeant Peppers, but it has a really unique magical charm of its own. I love Mick’s moon hat. The original pressings were lenticular, with the photo moving slightly and the perfect cloudy border was added to reduce the production costs.

Iroha ni konpeitou – Akiko Yano
1977, Philips

Also a photographic cover! I guess it’s good to look beyond illustration for influence. What is stronger than holding a dolphin on your album sleeve? It’s too perfect. The left hand vertical strip you get on Japanese releases is such a wonderful design element.

What did you listen to growing up?

Very early on it was my parent’s music. Paul Simon, ECM jazz, Joni Mitchell. It took a while to figure out that what I really craved was power chords and distorted electric guitar and I gravitated towards anything I could find with that. I was making do with a Puff Daddy single that sampled Led Zeppelin (for the Godzilla 2000 soundtrack?), The Backstreet Boys and the noisier tracks I could find on Now compilations… Eventually I found Pop Punk, Metal, Hardcore, all that stuff. Elliott Smith in my teens was a nice way out of all that. Elliott’s music opened me up to liking songwriting in general and more styles of music.

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

Madison Cunningham – Revealer. She’s an amazing writer and guitarist.

Boldy James – Killing Nothing. Scary, very good rap record. 

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

I’m trying out some new ideas and processes. I’ve had some fun jobs that have been good playgrounds. I just completed a screen printed puzzle for Roger Omar’s amazing project where he collects dreams by children and commissions illustrators to bring them to life. I also made some artwork for a new Glitzerbox, a super deluxe compilation album put out by members of The Notwist. 

Where can we find you?


Thanks Nicholas 👋🏽

Michael Andrews - Gretchen Ross / Cosmo Sheldrake - Cuckoo / Mort Garson - Rhapsody in Green / Brian Green - Impressions in F Major / Francis Bebey - Fleur tropicale / The Sweet Enoughs - Mysterious River Snake / Ali Farka Touré - N'timbara / Felbm - When It Rains / Michael Andrews - Mirror / Pino Palladino - Ekuté / Meridian Brothers - La Policía / Lilys - Can't Make Your Life Better / Broadcast - Come On Let's Go / Grizzly Bear - Little Brother / Parannoul - Insomnia / Pet Shimmers - Snake Eats A Lady / Kosmischer Läufer - Unterwasser / Weval - Don’t Lose Time / Chromatics - Shadow / Beach House - Superstar / Blake Mills - History of My Life / Trust Fund - Forevre / Michael Andrews - Liquid Spear Waltz / Oro Swimming Hour - Fluvia / Christopher Bear - Why Are You Going to New York / Hiroshi Yoshimura - GREEN / Ryuichi Sakamoto - Dream 〜夢のパピー / Rostam - Gwan ︎