Monday, March 14, 2011

The Double Visions Interview Part 1: The band - Munch Munch

Double Visions cover artwork designed by illustrator James Hines

The kaleidoscopic pop group, Munch Munch's first full length record, Double Visions was released on Upset the Rhythm - the collectively run, London label with a DIY ethic - towards the end of last year to great reviews. Drowned in Sound described it as 'an engagingly haphazard concoction of ideas that bewilders, confuses and occasionally astounds at every twist and turn.' But I can leave you to make your own mind up about the sounds as I'm not pretending to be any sort of music critic.

The final artwork for Double Visions was designed and created by illustrator James Hines - more from him in The Double Visions Interview part 2: The artist - and last summer I was asked to photograph the band head-shots for the inside cover of the then unnamed record; having grown up with Richard from the band, I was only to happy to help. 

I left James and the rest of Munch Munch to do what they wanted with the final images; based on their previous e.p. artwork and videos - in particular a demo cover designed by Alex Ostrowski and individually decorated by friends of the band - I was pretty sure that the photographs wouldn't be used in any standard form.

Once the record was out I spoke to Richard about the process of getting the right artwork for the record cover - inside and out - and the reactions they've been getting in response to it.

Inside cover pull out band head-shots

I know you had a bit of trouble landing on the final title, was the eventual decision to name it Double Visions influenced by the cover artwork?

It all just kind of came together around the same time. We had a few possible title ideas floating around and found it hard to decide on one, then when we saw this piece that James had made it just seemed to fit in perfectly with the aesthetic of the record and pushed us into using the title Double Visions, which we were already toying with. 

There are some obvious reasons as to why it fits with the title such as the two people in the image, but I also liked the way the image is essentially very simple and only slightly messed around with to give it a whole different vibe, which I think fits in with our music really well.

James' technique of chopping and changing images influenced the way the band head-shots were used, was that something that you wanted right from the beginning?

I like the idea of opening up a record and being greeted by more information about the people who made the music, whether it's lyrics or more art or whatever. We weren't that keen on just having photos of the band members; so applying the same kind of idea as the cover and just slightly manipulating simple photos we were able to carry on the theme but make it more personal to the band.

You've have always done things a bit differently - something to make you go, 'oh I'm not sure', but then you come round to it and think, 'actually that's really cool'. That's the same sort of thing with the inside cover - What have the reactions been from people as they've seen it?

People that know us think it looks really freaky, which it does, but sometimes people that don't know us don't even realise it's just our faces spliced together. I kind of like that it's maybe not obvious straight away and people can think we're just really really ugly.

Your previous covers have all been really different, have any idea's for future covers arisen from this one?

We like to work on a group of songs for a release and let the music guide the artwork decisions so we will see what happens but we're open to anything!

Munch Munch, thank you for taking the time to speak to LookSeeNow.

Download a remix of the track Wolfman's Wife by Munch Munch and listen to the whole Double Visions album on  They also have tour dates in March starting on the 15th in London and going on to Cardiff, Glasgow and Newcastle, see the dates here.

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