Led by their roaring new single “What Else You Got”, New Castle, Indiana-based hard rock foursome, The Protest, released their brand new full-length studio recording, Legacy, on July 13th via Rockfest Records/Sony. The the ten-track offering will see the band continue to rise up the “gotta-know-this-artist flagpole” and with some dope cover artwork to boot, the album will pique plenty of interest. For our latest edition of the And Justice For Art series, we asked the band’s drummer and graphic artist, Jarob Bramlett, to shed some light on the dark art.
What was the inspiration for your new album Legacy cover artwork?
Jarob Bramlett: We realized that the only things we leave behind on earth after our lives are over is our legacy and our bones. In a lot of cultures and stories a butterfly represents life, or souls. There are 3 butterflies because this is our 3rd album as The Protest. So the idea behind the artwork is to portray the contrast of life and death. And to beg the question, “What kind of Legacy are we leaving behind?” We hope it challenges our fans to ask themselves the same question.
The Legacy cover is crazy-cool. Tell us about the artist and how you find him? We’d love to know how the artwork was created.
Bramlett: Thank You! We actually designed the artwork, branding and packaging all ourselves. The guys have brilliant ideas and they trust me to execute them! ;o) We had many different ideas for the album cover and we were almost settled on one when I started really thinking about what leaving a “legacy” truly meant. I credit divine inspiration for this revelation! I knew to pull off this iconic “real photo” look that I needed actual pictures of 3 different butterflies and a skull with the perfect lighting.
Remember to grab the new album Legacy… it dropped on July 13th!
I reached out to fellow Indiana designer and photographer, Sam Kaufman at East Fork Studio, to help out with the skull photo. He did an amazing job. I then just had to make all the pieces fit, add shadows and blurs, edit colors and tweak it for a few weeks until the band and I were happy with it. We rebranded everything on this record: Our music, our logo, our vibe, etc. We cleaned up and stayed dark. I am extremely pleased with the statement the album cover makes.
Would you consider the artist an additional band member, or someone contracted for just this piece?
Bramlett: I am blessed to actually be a founding member of this band. We have grown so much together. The guys have put up with a lot of garbage designs from me on my quest to becoming a graphic artist. Hopefully they will keep me around for many more albums, LOL!
Did the artist who did the cover art hear the album before hand? Or, what kind of input did you give him/her?
Bramlett: This album has been in the works for a long time – it took over 2 years to complete. I think being a part of the song writing and being an eyewitness to all of our struggles, breakdowns, hurts and victories gave me the greatest insight possible for the album art. We gave up on giving up and looked past earthly success. This album is a declaration of what we believe and I think it makes the listener / viewer ponder what they believe as well. And that was exactly our goal is because Life is short – so live it fully and be your best so you leave a great legacy.
We got these rad, exclusive shots of the band during the album’s creation process.
Have you ever purchased an album solely because of its album artwork? If yes, did the music live up to the artwork?
Bramlett: Oh, yeah! Album covers like KISS’ Destroyer and Nazareth’s Hair Of The Dog caught my attention as a kid. I think the artwork for those albums triggered my imagination when listening to the songs. Both albums rock.
With the increasing popularity of digital music, most fans view artwork as just pixels on a screen. Why did you feel the artwork was important?
Bramlett: My guys and I are old-school in the fact that we love album artwork, feeling physical CDs and reading liner notes. However, we know that the industry is changing and not everyone feels the same way as us. We wanted an iconic image on a solid black background with a splash of color. Something memorable that looks good printed on vinyl, or on your Spotify playlist.
When people look at the album cover artwork, what do you want them to see/think?
Bramlett: As stated before, we hope when people see the butterflies and the skull that they ask themselves, “What kind of legacy am I leaving behind?”. We also hope they realize they are capable of bringing life and light to their circumstances. Just as they are also capable of bringing death and darkness. We all have a choice.
“What Else You Got” to do besides watch this new music video?
Was the album art influenced by any of the themes explored on the band’s album? Do you think the album art will affect the listener’s perception of your album?
Bramlett: Yes, the title track “Legacy” paints the image perfectly, in my opinion. The artwork reflects the whole album, though. There are songs that cry out for help; there are fight songs and there are victorious songs.
What are your thoughts and/or the pros and cons about digital art versus non-digital?
Bramlett: We live in a digital age where less and less people buys CDs, or music in general for that matter. A major con is that people often listen to the singles without discovering the coolest tracks hidden within the rest of the album. But a pro to this is that music is always so readily available and at your fingertips.
What do you think are some of the cover artworks that have translated best/worst onto t-shirts and other merch?
Bramlett: Iconic album covers always look good as shirts and on merchandise. Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and Guns N’ Roses’ Appetite For Destruction are some of my favorites. I’m starting to really enjoy simple and to-the-point art.