JAMES BARKER BAND
Photography by Paige Sara
The much anticipated and long-awaited third album from the James Barker Band brought with it a desire to break away from the familiar. Each single took a more conceptual approach, and only the album cover would include a photo of the band. The album cover includes photos of the four guys stuck together and their images show the wear and tear of time, like stickers and street posters often do, yet even against the weathering of time the band sticks together. This early 90s grunge look was a departure from more clean style the JBB brand had been know for to day, yet was still a natural change in direction and was familiar enough to be engaging for the JBB audience.
The On The Water single cover was inspired by the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers and Bruce Springsteen Born In The U.S.A. album covers. This artwork is set up to intentionally look as if we had physically printed a t-shirt with the graphic, put it on one of the band members, tossed some water at them, and photographed it for the cover. The vintage “California style” graphic includes all kinds of things you would enjoy in or around the water, from river fishing to surfing to beers in floaty flamingos – fun fact: the beers have a light blue caps as a nod to bottles of Busch Light. For the fabric background we intentionally sourced a photo of a guy wearing an actual damp t-shirt because the material clings to the body differently than a dry shirt and adds to the overall water theme. The colours stem from the yellow and black of the JBB brand and extend to include complimentary ocean blues and electric pink, which gives a nice bridge between the other cool and warm tones and ties into the lyric, “…I’ve got a pretty thing, she got a pretty pink two piece…”
For the Champagne single the guys came with the idea that we could play on the iconic Dom Perignon label. Having just the label on a typical bottle background felt a little too static and ordinary for the celebratory narrative of the song. Instead we included a flow of whiskey being poured into an oak barrel. This adds a dynamic movement to the image and feels like the whiskey is actually coming out of the image at you. The well worn label includes smears and tears giving a sense like it was being passed around and picked at by various people in celebration. We opted for a more contemporary script typeface for the title because it paired best with the ultra clean and modern JBB brand. Also replacing the Dom grape vines with the ingredients used in whiskey, and selected a four-point star (a point for each band member).
The digital release assets included the long form track reveal. In keeping with the grungy street poster style of the cover we created a wall of art that was later segmented to include the individual track credits, as well as some elements from each single cover. The individual track images were rolled out daily culminating with the full wall complete the day before the official release day. Fan engagement was high throughout and the artwork retains a strong presence on the band’s profile, even as new posts move it farther down the feed.