Things couldn’t be any peachier for Daniel Peachy at the moment. The accomplished singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist last month released his brand new album, Suspension of Disbelief, issued under his music releasing pseudonym Streets To Ourselves. A combination of alternative rock and pop-punk, with a few more acoustic and instrumental moments, the album is primarily a modern take on 1990s alternative music that would appeal very well to fans of Blink 182, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, and Weezer.
This album is a shining moment in Peachy’s long, eventful career that has seen him perform now for over 25 years which includes stints in eight different bands. A real visionary of an artist, Peachy recorded Suspension of Disbelief entirely on his own, including all instruments and vocals. He also considers himself a student of music, having previously studied guitar, piano, drums, singing, and music theory.
Suspension of Disbelief is the second release from Streets To Ourselves, and the follow up to the debut EP Pitch Perfect, released in January 2019. What’s striking about both records is their stunning cover artwork, with obvious traits and characteristics shared by both. We recently spoke with Peachy at length for our latest UnCovered feature in which we talked about the artwork for Suspension of Disbelief, how he went about creating it, and how its influences correlate with the themes present on the album.
What was the inspiration for the album’s cover artwork?
Daniel Peachy: “I wanted the inspiration to come from some of the themes on the album, but I also wanted the artwork to reflect some of my personal interests. I love the outdoors and I wanted an album cover that showcased nature. I also love science fiction and so I wanted to have an otherworldly aesthetic as well. The concepts of inversion as well as visual reflections are some other ideas I wanted to explore. An influence in the form of another piece of album artwork is the album cover for Californication by Red Hot Chili Peppers, the way the sky is in the pool and the water from the pool is in the sky.”
Could you elaborate on the medium(s) used when creating the art? We’d love to know how the artwork was created.
“I mostly used Photoshop, but I also added a few filters on Photobucket. The original image is a photo I took in December at my cottage in the Laurentian Mountains of Quebec. The lake I’m on had just frozen and I took a picture of it, not because I was thinking about an album cover, but because it looked beautiful. The ice was thin and it hadn’t snowed yet, so there was a really interesting reflection on the ice. Later on I was thinking about album artwork, and I wondered how the photo would look if I inversed it. I loved how it looked once it was turned upside down.
The inversed image looks as if the sky is literally frozen in ice, and in the bottom half of the image the lake is replaced by the sky. To me it looked as if it was a picture of some alien planet that may or may not exist. Then I added a number of filters to enhance the colours. The filters also enhanced the dark areas of the image, which created a lot of negative space mostly in the top half of the image. I’m obviously aware that it’s a relatively lo-fi image, especially compared to most contemporary album covers, but that is by design. When I made the image more high definition it didn’t look as interesting to me, it’s supposed to look like an old photograph.”
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?
“When I was a kid in the ‘90s all the albums I listened to were on CDs and tapes. Back then an album was always something tangible and something you would hold in your hands. Because of that, album artwork was and still is an important part of the experience for me. In the same way that a music video is visually important to a single, the album artwork is the visual representation of a collection of sounds that make up an album, and in my opinion that is not something that is trivial.”
Have any favourite music-related visual artists?
“Storm Thorgerson is definitely one of my favourites. He’s most known for designing almost all of Pink Floyd’s album covers, but he also did album artwork for Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Genesis, Muse, The Mars Volta, and so many more. I love his surreal style, and how he often places objects outside of their traditional contexts. Another favourite of mine is Jamie Hewlett, who is the artist for Gorillaz. I love the cartoon influence of his work.”
What are your thoughts and/or the pros and cons about digital art versus non-digital?
“I think about it in a similar way to how I view the fact that a lot of music is currently being recorded with digital technology. I think creating art digitally opens up many new avenues for creativity that non-digital art just cannot. Digital art also opens up the door to new levels of perfection. However I also believe that there’s a beauty to imperfections. In my opinion non-digital art often has a more human feel to it. I personally can’t draw or paint very well, but I have an enormous appreciation for art that is hand drawn/painted. I believe using digital technology to create art of all kinds is perfectly fine as long as it isn’t being used as a crutch.”
What do you think are some of the cover artworks that have translated best/worst onto t-shirts and other merch?
“I think an obvious choice is the cover of Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd, it’s such a simple image but it’s also so iconic. The artwork for the self-titled Blink-182 album is another really good example because of the contrasting bright pink and turquoise. I also have a t-shirt with the album cover of King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King, and it looks so striking with that face of a man who looks absolutely horrified.”
Was the album art influenced by any of the themes explored on the band’s album?
“It definitely was. One of the main themes of the album is the duality between positive and negative, good and bad. The album artwork explores this duality through the contrast between bright and dark, light colours and black. It also explores the concept of duality because the album cover includes the sun, clouds, and trees which represent life and positivity, but also includes a great deal of negative space in the form of blackness which represents death and negativity. Something else worth mentioning is that the overall image is not a perfectly even reflection. The bottom half of the cover is brighter and shows more of the details of the landscape and the sky. Whereas in the top half, the darkness is creeping in and obscuring more of the image.”
Is the art for this album related to any of your previous album cover artwork?
“Yes, it’s related to the album cover from the EP Pitch Correction which came out before Suspension Of Disbelief. They’re both altered images of photographs I took at my cottage, and they both have exclusively natural elements in their source photos. They both feature the sun, the sky, and the clouds. Pitch Correction features a leaf, while Suspension Of Disbelief shows the forest. They also both have the contrast between brightness and darkness. I was comfortable with both covers being similar because both the EP and the full-length album are intentionally similar musically, and both explore similar themes lyrically. I think of the EP as a trailer of sorts for the full-length album.”