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UnCovered: Wayne Frear of Least We Got Shoes Discusses Influential Visuals

Least We Got Shoes frontman Wayne Fear joins us today for an UnCovered interview to discuss the artwork for the new album ‘Chapter 1.’

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Least We Got Shoes
Least We Got Shoes

Least We Got Shoes has recently entered a whole new world. They released their debut full-length record, Chapter 1, on May 26th, which was preceded by three single releases. Based out of Shipley, West Yorkshire, the band specializes in delivering genuine, unpolished, honest rock n’ roll. They have dubbed their brand of music “boxcar rock,” no-nonsense, straight-up rock with no strings attached. Their sound is very indicative of their blue-collar roots growing up in Shipley. Their sound also combines bluegrass, Americana, and folk.

Least We Got Shoes is led by the charismatic and efficient frontman Wayne Frear. His lyrics are honest and down-to-earth, complemented by guitarist Ben Martin’s blues-infused guitar stylings. Chapter 1 comprises real-life stories and free-spirited rock n’ roll exuberance. Their songs are encouraging and challenge listeners to confront harsh truths while being true to yourself.

With Chapter 1 recently released, we connected with Wayne Frear for an UnCovered conversation about the album’s artwork. He discusses the concept, how the artwork was created, and why the band viewed the artwork as being important to the album release.

Which album is the artwork for?

Wayne Frear: “The artwork is for our debut album, Chapter 1.”

Please help us understand what you are trying to convey with the cover’s imagery. Give us details on the concept.

“The concept came from Ben and myself but encapsulates the whole working class upbringing of the entire band. You could have nothing, never had anything, or at some point had everything and lost it all, but despite that at least you still have shoes on your feet, whatever state they might be in. The imagery of the dirty, cut hands of an old guy who’s worked hard all his life and is left with an empty wallet containing an old gig ticket, conveys that it’s been a life well lived.”

How did the artwork’s image and/or concept come to you?

“The idea of at ‘least we got shoes’ basically comes from a positive mindset movement that we are trying to create, in that no matter how hard things may seem or the challenges that life may throw at the collective us; at least we got shoes. We are fully aware that some less fortunate members of the global society might not even have shoes. But the point of the ethos is that at least you have something, whatever that something might be.”

Least We Got Shoes ‘Chapter 1’ sketch

Least We Got Shoes ‘Chapter 1’ sketch

Who created the artwork? How did you decide on that artist?

“The artist is the very wonderful Ingrid Greene and to quote her, ‘I paint on walls, windows, and everything in between.’ We decided on her after seeing her work on display. She’s a multi-talented artist and also an awesome human being. You should check her out on Instagram.”

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

“I think both the front and back covers show how life can be a struggle, but there are sparkles of happiness along the way. Least we got shoes, least we had that one great gig, least we have shelter tonight, least we have that blanket. There’s a positive that can be found in any situation, no matter how tough it may seem.”

“Life can be tough, life can be hard, it sometimes feels like playing chess in the dark.

Who are some of your favourite visual artists?

“I’d have to say Ingrid Greene; I already know she’s amazing… the world just needs to catch up. I’m from Bradford and so I guess I need to represent my local artist David Hockney, but I’m also an admirer of the American modernist painter Georgia O’Keeffe who said, ‘It’s not enough to be nice in life, you’ve got to have nerve.’ Great quote and a great artist.”

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?

“Yeah… I can see that, especially with AI being used more and more – there’s nothing wrong with it. Personally, I want to go outside, find that place, take that picture and try and capture the idea. I think the whole creative process of putting pencil to paper, eye to the lens and making mistakes before you’re happy with it, is part of the journey. Of course, it’s more difficult than putting data into a computer-generated image, but I think that is because it matters more to you. It has more passion and soul.”

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

“I don’t want them to see anything or think anything other than how they interpret it. Even within the band, we all have different feelings and thoughts about it. For example, I see it as nostalgic, Ben as a social commentary, (bassist) Andy (Parkinson) as how far he’s come, and it reminds (drummer) Johnny C of a time when he was homeless.”

Have any favourite music-related visual artists?

Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer’ video. It’s not only a fantastic song but the video/art made that song so much more inspiring with its use of animation.”

What do you think are some of the cover artworks that have translated best/worst onto t-shirts and other merch?

“The first thing that popped in my head when I hear this question was the acid house smiley face! No idea why, as I’m not a massive fan of that genre of music but I guess the t-shirt did its job. Also, the iconic Rolling Stones ‘tongue’ but personally for me, I think Freddy Mercury’s ‘Flash Gordon’ tee is the best ever as well as one of the best films and soundtracks ever made.”

Least We Got Shoes ‘Chapter 1’ album artwork

Least We Got Shoes ‘Chapter 1’ album artwork

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