Emerging South Wales newcomers Copehill Down are set to release their towering debut EP, The Design, The Disaster: Part One, on April 21st, 2023. Building up the anticipation ahead of the release, the UK outfit also dropped their blistering new single and video, “World One,” on Friday, February 10th.

Inspired by metalcore heavyweights like Unearth and August Burns Red, the Welsh outfit combine heavy riffs with emotionally charged and thoughtful lyricism. Find them online at https://copehilldown.com.

Speaking about the EP, the band says:

“Our debut EP is part one of a two-part double EP. Both are concept EPs hinging around the collapse of civilisation and how human nature has attributed to it. Each track picks up on a theme that relates to the main concept from a slightly different angle. In doing so, we wanted to tell a story that raises questions and addresses issues about the trajectory of the ‘end times’ of our civilisation that we seem to be in, and are becoming ever more entrenched within.”

In our latest UnCovered interview, we spoke to the Welsh metallers to find out how the artwork ties into the theme of the EP, the inspiration behind the dramatic design, and their plans to use the artwork across the upcoming series.

Which album is the artwork for?

Copehill Down: “The artwork is for our upcoming debut 5-track EP – The Design, The Disaster: Part One, which will be released on April 21st. As the name suggests, the EP is part one of a double EP, with part two scheduled for release in December. Together, the double EP will effectively form our debut album with a common concept running throughout. The same image will also be used for our next single, ‘World One,’ which will be released on February 10th.”

Who created the artwork? How did the musician/band decide on that artist?

“Dave, our bassist, created the artwork. He’s a professional graphic designer, which comes in very handy and saves us a few quid… I guess we owe him a beer! Also, as a member of the band, he had an intimate understanding of the music and themes! As you may have gathered, we’re a very DIY-minded band across the board. Dave handles all our artwork, our website, music video filming/editing, and social media content (and also books and organises a lot of our shows!).

“Jay (one of our guitarists) is our in-house mixing and mastering wizard, and then Neil (our other guitarist) is our lead songwriter and the creative driving force behind a lot of the music and lyrics. We enjoy the freedom and satisfaction of being a self-managed, unsigned band and the full creative control it gives us to shape our own music and image.”

Artwork for the EP ‘The Design, The Disaster: Part One’ by Copehill Down
Artwork for the EP ‘The Design, The Disaster: Part One’ by Copehill Down

What’s the story behind the album and the artwork? Is there a particular theme or narrative being displayed on which you can elaborate?

The Design, The Disaster: Part One (and Part Two) are connected concept EPs hinging around the collapse of civilisation and how human nature has attributed to it. The name of the EP references humanity’s incredibly advanced state of self-awareness as both nature’s ultimate design and also, its most creative disaster. Each track picks up on a theme that relates to the main concept from a slightly different angle. In doing so, we wanted to tell a story that raises questions and addresses issues about the trajectory of the ‘end times’ of our civilisation that we seem to be in.

“The combined EPs are an explosive onslaught of highly energised metalcore from beginning to end. We love every track for different reasons, and each brings a unique and new dimension. However, we are especially excited with the song ‘World One,’ which will be released as a single ahead of the EP. Named after a computer programme which predicted the collapse of civilisation by 2040, ‘World One’ is an apocalyptic reflection on global climate events and how we are already on the trajectory toward collapse. We’d describe it as the epic centre-piece of the first EP. Lyrically inspired by John Martin’s ‘Apocalypse’ painting, it’s the darkest and most hopeless song we’ve written. The line, ‘There’s death waiting for us… in the skies’, became the basis for the EPs artwork.”

What inspired the creation of the artwork?

“As well as inspiring the lyrics, the apocalyptic paintings of John Martin really inspired the artwork for the EP. The paintings are really awe-inspiring and biblical in nature. What we wanted to achieve was a modern take that brings them into the 21st century. The latest series of Stranger Things had just been released around the same time, and Dave was inspired by the parallels between the paintings and the visual feel of the ‘upside down’ dimension.

“He had an image in mind of some kind of tornado made up of dark, otherworldly matter. The tornado symbolising nature’s destructive immune response to cleanse the infection of our ‘advanced’ civilisation and undo the failed design experiment of our existence. So we had an idea in our heads, but the tricky bit was creating it. Unfortunately, John Martin died in 1854, so commissioning a new painting was out!”

Draft art for the ‘The Design, The Disaster: Part One’ EP cover
Draft art for the ‘The Design, The Disaster: Part One’ EP cover

Please elaborate on the medium(s) used when creating the art. We’d love to know how the artwork was created.

“As the song inspiring the artwork was named after the “World One” MIT computer from 1973, which predicted the collapse of civilisation by 2040, it seemed fitting to experiment with AI-generated artwork to see what a computer’s take would be on the imagery. Dave did some research and found Midjourney, who describes themselves as ‘an independent research lab exploring new mediums of thought and expanding the imaginative powers of the human species.’ We weren’t expecting much to be honest but thought we’d give it a go just to see what it could do.

“Dave was able to experiment with the technology for free while it was in Beta. It took quite a lot of trial and error as the AI relies on what you tell it to create, but after trying all sorts of literal and very detailed instructions and not getting what we wanted, Dave simply fed in the actual lyric, ‘There’s death waiting for us…in the skies’. The result was eerily close to what Dave had envisioned! That image was the one we ended up using (after Dave had fiddled with the lighting, colouring and texturing). We’re still amazed and a little creeped out by it, to be honest! To finish it off, Dave also managed to create a subtly animated version of the final image, which brings the artwork to life and is really hypnotic and unnerving. It’s been great to use on social media!”

When people look at the album cover artwork, what do you want them to see/think?

“To feel unnerved and helpless with a sense of dread, we guess! To have this monstrous, violent, relentlessly destructive force ripping towards you. That’s what we’ve aimed for musically.”

If you could picture your album in the hands of someone you would be amazed to see holding it; who do you picture?

“Any member of the bands that have inspired us would be unreal! Unearth, August Burns Red, Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, After The Burial, Metallica, Iron Maiden.”

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?

“An image, whether digital or not, still speaks a thousand words and forms an instant impression which, with today’s ability to instantly stream pretty much any song on the planet on any device at any time, is more important than ever! Up-and-coming bands need to make sure their thumbnail images stand out for the right reasons. If your thumbnail image doesn’t portray the right tone, feel and professionalism, chances are you will just get skipped or remain invisible.”

Author

I have an unhealthy obsession with bad horror movies, the song Wanted Dead Or Alive and crap British game shows. I do this not because of the sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll lifestyle it affords me but more because it gives me an excuse to listen to bands that sound like hippos mating.