Secret 7” is a competition offering artists the opportunity to design vinyl covers for some of the biggest names in the music biz.
Whether it’s a baby diving after a dollar bill or the Beatles donning day-glo military suits, an album cover is always pivotal in helping define the work within the sleeve. Open to interpretation and laden with visual references, songs can often translate effortlessly into the world of art and vice versa. So on that note, we introduce Secret 7”: an innovative project that has called upon all types of artists to design vinyl covers for the songs of big-name artists. Devised by the clever minds at Talenthouse and Universal music, the competition, open to all, has collaborated with a stellar line up of bands, including The Cure, Florence & The Machine and Bombay Bicycle Club. Entrants have submitted a design for their chosen song and 700 of the best works will be displayed and auctioned off at Idea Generation Gallery in April. To add an extra twist, no one will know which work belongs to which song, so all is open to interpretation. With the winners being decided by the public via Facebook and Twitter and all proceeds going to The Teenage Cancer Trust, this is one cause worth getting involved with. i-D online caught a few moments with art student-turned-music superstar Florence Welch to discuss the project and her own penchant for a paintbrush.
Why did you decide to get involved with the secret 7” project? Well I’ve been working with the Teenage Cancer Trust for a long time and it’s a charity I really support. It was something that definitely appealed to me and it just seemed like a fun thing to do.
You were once an art student. Did that affect your decision to get involved? Yeah it did, I haven’t done any art in ages actually. It’s really nice to go into that space and do something creative. I studied fine art and illustration and my projects were a bit weird, I was quite death-obsessed – lots of shrines and people in jail.
Are you as a musician inspired by the art world? Yes, definitely. My second single was inspired by Ugo Rondinone’s art installation on the Southbank which literally just said “the dog days are over”, so I get a lot of inspiration from art. I find that when I’m on tour what I try and do in every city is visit a gallery.
Why do you think your chosen song ‘Only If For A Night’ is right for this project? I think the song has so many visual references. There’s a kind of medieval battle feel along with bucolic English countryside scenes. I think there’s a lot to work with.
What’s the story behind the song? It’s funny, we mixed church bells with this rolling drum pattern, it reminds me of my grandmother. It would have been something my grandmother would have had as a kid, hearing the English church bells, and then the drum pattern sounded like rolling, thundering hills. I was thinking about dreams and visions, my grandmother and then Joan of Arc. It’s a weird mix of influences and ideas really.
Do you always have a strong visual sense when you write songs? Yes it’s really important. I feel that music is similar to being a translator; you have to describe what the chords and the drum patterns are saying.
Do you have a favourite vinyl cover of all time? Oh, I’ve got this really sweet one called A Tapestry of British Bird Song. It’s got this amazing stained glass artwork on the cover. The album itself is literally just birds singing.
After the success of your second album Ceremonials, what are your plans for the year ahead? Lots and lots of touring! I’m going to South America first and I’m so looking forward to it, I can’t wait!
Have you made any new year’s resolutions and if so, have you kept them? To be more organised. It’s not really working, I cancelled a meeting with my accountant today so it’s not going well so far.
For more information or to vote for your favourite vinyl visit talenthouse.com or vote via facebook.com/secret7s or Twitter @secret7s. Florence + the Machine’s new single ‘No Light, No Light’ is out this week on Island.
Text: Rose Poole