“It Ain’t Easy,” but sometimes the Toronto-region group The Goombas seem to create challenging, yet pleasing blues, funk and soul rock n’ roll. You may think the band’s name comes from those little bad guys in Super Mario Bros., but it’s actually derived from Italian slang that refers to friendship. This is an important theme for The Goombas as a collective, a friendship that binds the three members together that has led them to this point.
“It Ain’t Easy” is the second single off of The Goombas’ debut record Moonlight, a record composed of psychedelia and rockabilly vibes brought together with some contemporary sounds. The single is an accurate sign of things to come for The Goombas, as the three-piece have many more classic vibes to come down the road. Commenting on “It Ain’t Easy,” the band briefly stated, “We’re very proud of this coming single, and we’re confident that people will enjoy this sound of classic vibes fitted with modern instruments.”
We recently spoke with The Goombas’ lead singer and guitarist Dakota Wylie to find out more about the very cool album cover for the “It Ain’t Easy” single in the latest installment of our UnCovered series.
What was the inspiration for the album’s cover artwork?
Dakota Wylie: The inspiration behind the album cover was a moonlit night, reminiscent of the perhaps relaxing, often mysterious things that happen when the sun goes down. Our music can be both; rather dark or enlightening, however, ultimately powerful and energetic. The idea itself, of using natural scenery in some manner, came about when I saw a sunrise of Durham region (Toronto area), where we’re from. It was a place known by many to be a real great scene to watch night sky and indulge in any sort of inebriation. This bred the idea of what we were trying to showcase with this album. It truly is something that makes you think of yourself, those around you and your surroundings.
“It Ain’t Easy,” but somehow The Goom pull it off with their new single.
Your new album cover is crazy-cool. Tell us about the artist and how you found him/her?
Wylie: Although the cover art was created by a Goombas, we have worked with countless artists in our time and many of them play roles in what has transcended throughout our style over the years. We love having a diverse portfolio of artwork, and capable hands to place our sound with. As for the album cover and its concept, I designed them both.
Please elaborate on the medium(s) used when creating the art. We’d love to know how the artwork was created.
Wylie: I took a picture one cool April morning (around 5:30 am) and painted a rendition of it, for the reverse side and from there I built the front album cover scene. That painting was made with watercolours as a base, acrylic and some black calligraphy ink was how I made the tree shapes. Once the painting was completed with complete satisfaction, a high-resolution scan was taken and templated for an album cover concept. I did all of this and created an album template on my computer and showed the band at practice, without exposing that I had in fact made the painting, designed and came up with the idea. When all three of the other Goombas were asking where I found the artist (and) if we could ‘for sure’ use it as our cover, and so on, I realized I had something really genuine and ultimately very good. That’s when I exposed my identity as the artist and they couldn’t believe me, however, (they) were quite relieved.
Would you consider the artist an additional band member, or someone contracted for just this piece?
The Goombas: All of the artists we have collaborated with are considered part of our family. Goombas love helping other artists do what they love. We are always constant advocates of art, and supporting fellow members of our community, artists or not.
Check out some of Dakota Wylie’s other artwork here.
Have you ever purchased an album solely because of its album artwork? If yes, did the music live up to the artwork?
Wylie: I’ve bought many albums based on the artwork, they often turn out to be great albums. I’ve also found albums with often obscure artwork that I might not be so keen on that then prove to be quite exciting. Such examples of both records I would have to say, King Crimson The Court of the Crimson King and The Black Keys El Camino, respectively.
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?
Wylie: Growing up opening up CD covers and reading lyrics you look at intricate details, and you fixate on things. One of the things I found as the years went on is just how memorable album artwork is. It’s easy to think of how it feels to be that excited about something, and how those little things matter to most people enjoying a record. It’s important to hold the visual art to the same standard as the music on the album, in my opinion.
Was the album art influenced by any of the themes explored on the band’s album?
Wylie: This is the intention. Without being too intrusive the artwork eludes to the sonic tones you will enjoy for the course of the album. Funk soul, rock n’ roll.
The cover art for new single “It Ain’t Easy” is a nice lil piece of art.