As our collective eyes and ears know, visual culture and aural culture go hand in hand. It’s a moot point that many bands form in art school, and that many designers, illustrators and artists have one eye on the easel (or screen) and one ear on their musical output. So with the news arriving that Tom Dixon is playing at MoMA this week in a band alongside Bradford Shellhammer, the man behind industrial design sales site Bezar, we thought we’d round up a few art and design stars who moonlight as musicians.
First, a veritable supergroup of illustration talent in the form of Owen and the Eyeballs. The band comprises Owen Gildersleeve, Nick White, Jim Stoten and Andrew Rae, and as you’d expect from such a talented bunch, their aesthetic is pretty wild. The costumes, the set, the general sense of what-the-bejesus-is-going-on make for one of the most bonkers and brilliant live shows we’ve ever seen. The music’s pretty good too. Here they are, playing a song called Money at Wondering Around Wandering.
Turns out Martin Creed’s about more than flickering lights, lining up cacti and videoing girls shitting on the floor. He’s also in a band, which has made some well-received, shanty-esque records in the past. Below you can watch him perform a song with as emotive, romantic a title as they come. It’s called Fuck Off.
Not content with forming one of the most innovative, influential British design studios of the late 90s/00s in Airside, Fred Deakin is just as well-known as being one half of Lemon Jelly. The electronic duo is known for their weird and wonderful, but always accessible output. One of the coolest things about them though is their domain name. Look for yourself.
This is a song about how much ducks enjoy water. It’s called Nice Weather for Ducks.
During that lovely mid-noughties period when there was a hell of a lot of indie pop to go and see and a hell of a lot of girls in polkadot dresses, there was a band called The Chalets. But did you know that two of the band are also in a directorial and design duo called D.A.D.D.Y? We didn’t, until our ever helpful INT Works art director Karl Toomey told us so. Thanks Karl! You can watch The Chalets perform Feel The Machine in the D.A.D.D.Y-directed video below.
On now to graphic design and DJing heavyweight Trevor Jackson. He’s worked on branding, he’s worked on moving image, he’s remixed, he’s produced. Today we’re sharing his work with dance act Playgroup. Enjoy!
Another 21st Century Renaissance man is the inimitable Simon Whybray, the digital designer who kindly invited us into his wardrobe (and bed) for our Workwear feature earlier this year. He also used to drum in a band called TEETH, who seem to be as colourful as his outfits. See them play on something called The Knocking Shop below.
When it comes to the work of Jaime Zuverza, we came for the graphic design, we dwelled for the typography, and we stayed when we learnt he makes all this incredible work around playing bass for Bill Callahan. If you’ve got really good eyesight you can see him doing the latter in the little video below.
To end, we’ll return to where we began – with Tom Dixon. Here he is in his band Funkapolitan, playing As Time Goes By on Top of the Pops.
About the Author
Emily joined It’s Nice That as Online Editor in the summer of 2014 after four years at Design Week. She is particularly interested in graphic design, branding and music. After working It's Nice That as both Online Editor and Deputy Editor, Emily left the company in 2016.