Have you ever looked at a vinyl artwork and wished it could move? Well, even if you haven’t, Dreaming Vinyl is here to prove why you should have.
Founded by Jay Vaz and Lawrie Miller – also members of The Mannequin Collective– this dream has quite literally been made a reality as it visually interprets pre-existing and premiered songs in the format of animated vinyl stickers. Celebrating the relationship between music and visual art, Dreaming Vinyl is “as much about musical discovery as it is about artistic experimentation,” Jay tells It’s Nice That. “We have found the intersection between motion design and music a powerful medium to explore.”
Having both studied graphic design at Leeds Arts University, Dreaming Vinyl’s founding duo soon realised their shared interests. They met a variety of like-minded individuals, too, with whom they started their own collective to collate and share their collaborative freelance work – that being The Mannequin Collective.
With much of their work thrashing through every corner of the music industry, Lawrie tells us how the most frequented briefs from clients have always gravitated towards the topic of vinyl sleeve design. “We found ourselves really enjoying experimenting with the vinyl sticker design process,” he says, “eventually leading to the idea of animating the vinyl stickers, which we hadn’t really seen done before.” As such, the idea of curating a new platform to showcase songs came to fruition, comprising animated vinyl stickers created by friends and artists that also premiered their own tracks on the platform.
A relatively new platform, Dreaming Vinyl’s aim is to become a community for musicians, designers and artists, plus a space where its viewers can discover new music and creatives. Doing just that, the project puts both Jay and Lawrie’s inherent search for new vinyl covers and music into practice. With the two of them working on the design, Lawrie deals more with the animation side of things. This “reimagined” artwork is thus transformed as the duo draw inspiration from the songs they listen to collectively within The Mannequin Collective. “For premieres, we like to see this as a collaboration with the artist,” says Jay, “where we discuss ideas and translate concepts from their music to the artwork.”
So far, we have seen vinyl animations made for south London-based producer Ben Hauke, designer and producer Harvey Wise, producer and DJ Will Lister, Haai and Herman. “By curating, creating and exploring the interplay between visual art and music,” points out Jay, “we hope we can connect people to musicians through their mutual love of art.” By promoting and supporting artists through their own platform, they are simultaneously supporting sites such as Band Camp and Discogs in the process.
This devotion to supporting those within the industry comes from their own experiences; over the last few years working in the industry, both founders have “noticed the power of motion graphics” for its ability to engage audiences through different platforms, particularly Instagram. “We want to create content for these platforms to be used by artists to promote their work,” says Lawrie. “Many of the animations aim to grab the attention of the audience within the first few seconds, taking into account how social media content is currently being consumed.”
The kinship between music and animation works two-ways. Not only do Dreaming VInyl’s founders believe that the experience of hearing a song can be “enhanced” by motion graphics “that match”, but that it also works the other way round. “Both music and motion graphics are a form of expression,” says Jay, “for which there are endless possibilities.” An example of which rests in an interpretation of a song through the use of abstract imagery, “manipulated in a way that makes the visual clear in relation to the sound”. Rather than pinpointing a specific narrative or theme, the visuals are devised objectively in order to match the song’s emotion and sound. “The freedom of what can be achieved through motion graphics is something that really interests us,” concludes Lawrie. “We hope to use this philosophy to express thoughts and emotions in an exciting way.”
About the Author
Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima.