As a musical unit, Mowgli thrives where so many others are not able to. Electro-jazz is not exactly an easy musical space to navigate, but this French trio does it with style and proficiency. Their brand new album Gueule de Boa (out via BMC Records) is a strong affirmation that there is a lot of excitement to be had within an electro-jazz record because they are able to deliver it in such an accessible way. You have lots of infectious and catchy riffs that blend in well with more experimental moments, and some very danceable grooves. Their music tells stories of the modern jungle, alternating between urban sounds and wild lyricism.
Mowgli is made up of Ferdinand Doumerc, Pierre Pollet, and Bastien Andrieu. Doumerc may be familiar to some, thanks to the saxophonist’s time spent as the leader of Pulcinella, a BMC Records band that released three studio albums. One of their goals as part of Mowgli is to blend acoustic with electric music and have it all make sense. Interestingly, the title of the album, Gueule de Boa, is a French play on words. The phrase means “the throat of the boa” in English, but the pronunciation is the same as the French equivalent of the word “hangover.”
If you take a look at the Gueule de Boa album cover, you’ll probably agree it’s quite unique. For our latest UnCovered interview with spoke with Doumerc about the album cover, album art in general, and some of his favourite album covers of all time.
Which album is the artwork for?
Ferdinand Doumerc: “This artwork is for Mowgli’s last album, Gueule de Boa. Mowgli is a French band from Toulouse, it’s an electric jazz trio!”
Please help us understand, what are you trying to convey with the cover’s imagery. Give us details on the concept.
“We told the artwork designer that we wanted something organic, with elements of jungle and boa (a link with Mowgli, and another with the title of the album).”
Did the artist get a chance to listen to any of the music before creating the artwork?
“Yes, the album was already created and recorded.”
Are there any symbols or stories hidden in the artwork?
“Gueule de boa is a word game, it means ‘boa’s throat,’ and really looks like ‘gueule de bois’ which means ‘hangover.’ We asked her to put it in the drawing too…”
How did the artist collaborate with the band on the artwork?
“We must confess it was through our label… We didn’t communicate directly with her!”
What are some of your favourite covers of all time?
“Boards of Canada’s Music Has the Right to Children, Marvin Gaye’s I Want You, Herbie Hancock’s Sextant, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew.”
Where would you be most excited to see your album artwork postered, or displayed?
“In my bakery!”
Based on the results, would you work with the artist again?
“At the beginning, seeing the proposition on screen, we were not totally convinced… But finally, we love it! So, yes, we would like to work with Anna again, with pleasure!”
Who are some of your favourite visual artists?
“Roger Dean, Stom Thogerson, Mati Klarwein.”
Have you ever purchased an album solely because of the artwork? If yes, did the music live up to the artwork?
“Yes! And I remember, when I was a teenager, going to my library and choosing discs by their cover. For example, I borrowed In the Court of the Crimson King by King Crimson because the artwork really impressed me! The same for Yes or Iron Maiden’s discs!”
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?
“I grew up with LPs, with artwork in a medium size, and it’s a wonderful entrance in an artist’s world… Artwork on a screen is totally different, really less sexy…”
When people look at the cover artwork for Gueule de Boa, what do you want them to see/think?
“I want them to be surprised, I want them to be curious to hear it!”
What are your thoughts and/or the pros and cons of digital art versus non-digital?
“Obviously, the digital audio marketing is nice because of its easiness. I want to listen to a tune, I have it directly. But I hate it to discover a band in this way. I remember, when I was a teenager, I had to listen to some LPs or CDs three or four times before starting to appreciate them… And the digital way, for me, is more immediate…”