The original chalk drawing from the Vertikal covers has been lying around my home for years. Was it a good image in itself? I didn’t really have any idea what to do with it. Until now when we got a chance to reproduce it as a lithography at Idem Paris – the oldest fine art printing studio in Europe. Where artists like Picasso used to work and more recently David Lynch creates his exhibitions.
So I flew out to Paris for a couple of days to work with this method. On heavy old machines the ink transfers directly from the plate (or stone) to the paper. With range and density way above standard printing. Very suitable for this image. The atmosphere in the studio was like time stood still. With no stress I really had the opportunity to work with these master printers to get the perfect result.
100 signed and numbered Vertikal lithographs from the original drawing are now available.
There won’t be more...
Price will be between 125 and 150 euros depending on your location.
Photos : Alexis Sevenier
Find the 100 lithos HERE on May 20th.
Friends, this will be a long one so bare with me. It is actually so long that I need to name it.
How about “With friends like this, who needs a knife in the back??"
Today marks the day of birth of our baby ”Mariner”. After being present at two real deliveries I will stop any further analogies but this was a hard and painful album to write.
Throughout our active years we’ve always tried to keep momentum so that we would not write the same album twice. Whether we succeed or not is up to you as a listener but the most important thing for us is that we feel like we do something new and are moving into unexplored territories. The story of how we teamed up with Julie is in a thousand interviews out there so I won’t bore you with that but were shit scared about what would come out.
And even after we had the master and were more than happy about the outcome we had no idea of how it would be received. And honestly we still don’t.
I remember last fall when I was standing outside of a bar in Umeå with Erik and I told him that “I think we might have recorded our “Lulu”, he responded “You might have…”.
What I want to say is that the writing, recording and release is painful. Even if we’re used to the process, it is full of anxiety and we want to make sure that everything comes out right according to our plan. You want no screw up from anyone. Not from the record label, not from our manager and definitely not from us.
This brings me to my point. The cliché that art comes from blood, sweat and tears is not an unfair one. The hour of music we have created always starts in the head. The process of getting an idea, scrapping it, and scrapping the next twenty ideas before you get something that in your view has potential. Sitting at home writing and writing until you have some sort of skeleton to build on.
This is by far the most time consuming part of the writing and the next step of presenting the idea to the rest of the band is by far the most anxiety filled part. Will the other guys approve, is it good enough or will the idea be met with an awkward silence?
I don’t think I need to continue throughout the whole process, you get my point. Things takes time and we really put our soul (what ever that means?) into our music. It is us.
But this album isn’t only us. If you have any knowledge of writing vocals lines and know the range that Julie has, I know I don’t have to convince you that her struggle was real. With the stress of us breathing down her neck, she gave her all and pushed our music to another level.
We have had long discussion with Erik about the artwork. After being an integral part of the band for fifteen plus years, he knows us well but also knows that we are a hard bunch of people to work with. It took him a long time to get the artwork right but when he did, he nailed it.
His brother Pär Olofsson took the press pics. He worked his ass off to come up with some amazing ideas (despite a limited budget) that integrated the concept of warped time and space into the photos. We didn’t make his life easy.
The label (Indie recordings) and our manager have spent countless hours into coming up with a plan that would help us getting this album out at the right time and during the right circumstances. All the efforts of two years of hard work has been directed to one date : Today’s.
Why am I boring you with this long bitching about the process behind the album? Because I want to bring attention to a problem all bands have had since the dawn of internet.
During every release we’ve had to deal with people leaking the album online, long before the actual release.
I am not touching the economic aspect of this debate. The aspect that makes my blood boil is the shameless disrespect of our work. How much I tried I can’t for the life of me understand how somebody that have the album before everybody else isn’t satisfied enough with it. What do they gain by uploading it and piss on everything we’ve put in?
Who are these people? Actually now we know...
I know nothing about the technical aspect of the digital copies that are sent out but apparently they are watermarked in some way. The leak that has been out for a couple of weeks was traceable and originated from… …one copy that had been sent out to one of our distributors. A part of our team and one of our closest partners. Someone at that office fucked us over. I just laughed when I found out. It’s actually so unbelievable I don’t know how to write anything about it.
I just want to say that I understand every single one of you that downloaded it. If a band I like have music out I want to hear it. I wish you could have waited until the official release date but I understand.
The digital age has surely been a blessing in many ways but it definitely has created an attitude that has devalued the process behind an album. I see examples of this all the time. We’ve had people that have shared the leaked album on our wall and people that have uploaded it on youtube like it is the most casual thing. A shameless behaviour that baffles my mind.
We put in the effort, would it be too much to ask that we are the ones that decide when and where we release our music?
With that said, we’ve had some amazing people out there that has made us aware of the links and I want to thank you all for that.
That’s it. My bitching is done. I know there is nothing I can say to chance anything. I just needed to get it out of my system.
I know I just wrote that the economical part isn’t important to us, which actually is semi-true. Cult of Luna isn’t our job and the money we make on record sales is next to nothing, lets just say that I’m not taking any boat loan anytime soon.
Money has never been an incentive to why we do this.
However, if we don’t sell records then no one will want to work with us. If we don’t earn the label money, we will not get a recording budget. That’s the fact of the matter.
We have always seen the artwork as an integral part of the album and that aspect is completely lost with the small thumbnail you get on all digital platforms.
So if you want to support us or any other band you like, buy their/our record. See the €20 (which in the Swedish beer currency is about 3,5 beers) as a support for the people behind the art so they can continue do what they do.
And also, if you’ve manage to plough through this shit storm and are able to read this, then you’ve earned yourself a free hug at any of our shows.
Tonight we leave for Glasgow, hope to see you out there.
A lot of people are asking us about the change in the line up so here is the explanation.
Anders left the band unexpectedly during the recording of 'Vertikal'.
We were taken by surprise and although we had issues with the reasoning behind it, we respected his decision.
We are still on very good terms - and with what we have experienced together through the years, we will all be friends for life.
The only person we could think of to replace him for touring duties was our good friend and musical genius Kristian Karlsson from PG lost.
He has been with us for the last three years and during the writing and recording of 'Mariner' he became a full time member.
In 2014 Erik told us that he was forced to quit.
He gave us a good "heads up" so we knew that when we stepped off stage from the 'Beyond the Redshift' festival it was for the last time with him.
We didn’t want him to quit the band and he didn’t either. But the fact of the matter is that the day only holds twenty four hours and the week only holds seven days.
We are not a full time band but still Cult of Luna consumes a lot of time and effort that in his case was needed elsewhere.
His departure is still hard to accept. When we started the band we were just teenagers and I used to spend the weekends at his parents house when we practiced in his hometown of Skellefteå.
He has been a part of every single Cult of Luna record up till now, from the first demo until 'Vertikal II'. Although you’ll not see him live, he is still a part of the Cult of Luna universe.
As you probably already have guessed through the brilliant design of the 'Mariner' artwork, it’s Erik's contribution to the record.
Erik’s shoes can not be filled and his spot will not be replaced.
David Johansson, from the beast of a band Kongh, has been nice enough to be a hired gun/guitar for us since Erik's departure.
That was all.
Thank you for reading.