Five years on since their official formation, things are looking pretty good for The Ones You Forgot. Everything is trending in the right direction for the New Jersey quintet, who dropped their new three-track EP Time Trials last month, which includes the single “Stepping Stone.” They invite you to indulge in their sharp, hook-focused pop-punk flavour that’s both emotive and inspiring. Following the path of pop-punk mainstays like State Champs, Stand Atlantic, and Knuckle Puck, Time Trials is a feel-good kind of listen, emphasized by their impressive pop sensibilities.
Following their formation, the band’s debut EP, Too Afraid To Say, was a very well-received introduction that helped them develop a local following. This buzz helped the group get invited to play at the 25th-anniversary edition of the Vans Warped Tour in 2019. Single releases like “Something For Me” and “Desensitized” extended the group’s attention, which is impressive considering they were released during the worst of the pandemic. Along the way, they have opened up for national bands like Boys Like Girls, Four Year Strong, and Grayscale.
What stands out about Time Trials is not just the quality of the tracks but the fun “racecar on fire” album cover. For our latest UnCovered interview, we chatted with lead singer Jenna Bruno about developing the cover art, working with graphic artist Stephanie O’Byrne, and our usual host of album art-related questions.
What was the inspiration for the album’s cover artwork?
Jenna Bruno: “With all the songs touching on staying in the moment, we wanted to reflect on how life can sometimes feel like a race. We landed on the name ‘Time Trials’ first, and the artwork just came to mind naturally with that ‘race’ theme.”
The cover art for Time Trials is very cool. Tell us about the artist and how you found them.
“The artwork was illustrated by Stephanie O’Byrne. We came across her work on Instagram a few years ago when we asked her to create a lyric video for our song ‘Something For Me.’ When we came up with the idea for how we wanted the album art to look this time around, we knew she would be the perfect one to execute it in the style we were looking for. She also did a lyric video for ‘Live For The Now’ off Time Trials!”
What were the partnership dynamics like? For example, was a specific look given, or did Stephanie have full free range?
“We just explained the meaning of the EP and what elements we wanted, like the race car, flames, and checkered flags. But that was it! She has a pretty distinct style, and we always loved it, so we knew giving her free range would be the best!”
Did Stephanie hear the album beforehand? Or what kind of input did you give her?
“She heard the one single ‘Live For The Now’ because she was designing the lyric video for it. But now that you mention it, I don’t think we shared the other songs with her. That’s ok though, because she was able to capture what we were going for anyway!”
Have you ever purchased an album solely because of its album artwork? If yes, did the music live up to the artwork?
“Maybe not purchased, but I have definitely streamed some simply because I thought the album art was cool. Sometimes it lived up to the artwork, and sometimes it did not. But it’s just like books! You can’t judge the music by its album cover.”
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?
“It captures the story in a new way! Obviously, music is consumed through the ears, but adding a visual element can bring a whole new life to the work. I’m a big daydreamer when I listen to music, so I personally always associate something ‘visual’ to music even if it’s in my mind.”
When people look at the album cover artwork, what do you want them to see or think?
“I want them to think it’s badass! Personally, I think it is the best album art ever created for us, and I think a lot of people would agree.”
What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of digital art versus non-digital?
“I love both forms! As long as it was made by a human, then I think both digital and non-digital practices are great.”
How do you think the album art will affect the listener’s perception of your album?
“I definitely feel like it’s a more mature design, which in turn is related to our sound growing up and changing a bit too. And I think for those who already listen to us, both the visuals and the songs will be a refreshing update to what we have released in the past.”
Is the art for Time Trials related to any of your previous album cover artwork?
“Nope! The artwork for Time Trials stands completely on its own. It does not relate to our previous artwork at all, but I think it’s worth noting that we specifically chose the number ‘14’ on the race car because that is the year (2014) that the band started.”
When it came time to come up with artwork, did you give Stephanie guidance, or was this just a natural brainstorm?
“It came together very naturally once we realized all three songs had a mutual theme. The name ‘Time Trials’ and even some of the lyrics helped us come up with the artwork pretty quickly. The visual element was the last piece, and we all agreed on it right away!”
What’s your favourite thing about this album cover?
“I love the illustrated style of it, and I love how much it ties the songs together, like how we didn’t just choose this randomly. It all made sense!”
Did Stephanie work on any art for the album besides the cover?
“As I mentioned, Stephanie also created the lyric video for our song ‘Live For The Now!’”