Parquet Courts’ Andrew Savage on the interchanging influence of art and music
- Lucy Bourton
- 29 July 2016
Since Parquet Courts’ inception in 2010, guitarist and vocalist Andrew Savage has gained recognition for his artistic talent as well as musical prowess. After studying drawing and painting at the University of North Texas, he has created a range of record sleeves that perfectly reflect the sound of each release. Andrew proves the distinctive quality of bands creating their own artwork. It allows the listener to take home an extra piece of the band that they can appreciate, encouraging the audience to buy into the band’s personality, not just their output.
In terms of the Parquet Courts sleeves how much does your music influence the sleeves’ design?
It goes both ways actually. I experience synesthesia in a variety ways in my life, music being a major one. It’s very important that all of the art that surrounds the band ‘sounds’ like the band, in the way that Raymond Pettibon ‘sounds’ like Black Flag, or Sam Riser ‘sounds’ like Crazy Spirit. I honestly couldn’t have one without the other, they are so much the same thing for me.
Having said that, I do make art outside of Parquet Courts that has less to do with music. The painting that is on the cover of Human Performance wasn’t originally meant to have anything to do with the band, but it started singing out to me, I felt a sort of emotional resonance from it that was congruent with the energy of the record.
Could you talk us through some of the pieces featured inside the Human Performance LP?
Without getting too specific, they are all meant to complement a lyric. I hesitate to get too specific because I think part of the experience of that record is coming to your own conclusion and bridging your own gaps. But one obvious example would be the drawing of the döner kebab guy that is omnipresent in Berlin, and it’s drawn wavy or blurry, so that’s meant to connect to Berlin Got Blurry directly.
Your colour choices are very ranged but perfectly balanced, how do you decide this?
I draw influences from a lot of different artists, especially ones that use colour as a medium. So I look at a lot of Matisse, John Wesley, Jacob Lawrence, Hokusai – people that use colours that are harmonious and emotional, and in a very deliberate, nuanced way.
Kandinsky’s writings on colour theory are fascinating, and have really influenced me. I care about composition, and colour, if one uses colour, it’s such a huge part of that. There are so many things in life, memories, sounds, scents that I associate with colour; and for the viewer, I want those colours to manifest the emotions that I put into an artwork.
I remember as a kid seeing a slate of Peter Bruegel the Elder’s Hunters In the Snow and being profoundly impacted by the way the colours were so sparse and harmonious. The way the warm tones of the dogs, the fur and the timbre homes sit next to the cold blue of the sky and the frozen ponds, and the white of the snow, it was a moment when I realised the impact that well-balanced colour can have on a person.
What are your own favourite record sleeves?
Any sleeve that Reid Miles had a hand in designing I stand in awe of. He is a criminally unheralded graphic designer, who everybody designing jazz records imitated shamelessly. I admire him because he works within budget constraints and in doing so, used only one or two colours, but always gorgeously. As a typesetter, he was so far ahead of his time. The man made type look effortless.
Other than that, some of my favourite sleeves are Tyvek’s self-titled record, Total Control’s Hengebeat, Wipers’ Is This Real, Big Brother & The Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills and Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request to name a few. Also all of the records and tapes that Shawn Reed designs for his label Night People are a huge inspiration.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.