Story Behind The Album Cover: David V. D’Andrea talks about Birth’s debut

David V. D’Andrea is an American artist, who has been creating album covers, posters, swag, and flyers for bands now for a number of years. His latest creation is the stunning cover art for San Diego band Birth’s debut album Born. Here, David shares his story on making the Birth album art, as well as a bit about his background. *Check out more on David’s art, as well as bands and album covers he’s been involved on, and order some of his prints and posters by checking out the links below.

Can you tell me a bit about your art background, as well as when you got in to creating album covers? 

I am an illustrator and most of my work has been within the music world and related industries. Screen printed posters make up the majority of the work as well as album covers, apparel, etc. 

Album covers were a facet of the work right from the beginning. I was a part of the ’90s underground scene in the California Bay Area where I did some underground album covers and photocopied show flyers.

What sort of music did you grow up on? And did you have any favorite album cover artists and/or covers? 

My father’s record collection created the initial spark. I made the connection between art and music as a child pouring over his fairly average (though highly creative) record collection. Artwork like Martin Sharps work for Cream, Robert Crumb’s Cheap Thrills layout, and Gut Terk’s Blue Cheer cover all peaked my imagination. 

Later I got into punk and hardcore which planted the very important concept of diy.. the realization that I can do it myself. I obsessed over skateboard graphics and artists like Pushead and VCJ.

How did the Birth album project come about – were you familiar with the band, label, etc…? 

Yes, I am a huge fan of Astra and I created a few posters and shirts for them in the early 2000s. Birth is a sort of continuation of Astra.

The owner of Bad Omens Records is a also a comrade. He formerly worked for Rise Above Records for whom I did a string of three album covers, Witchcraft, Gentlemens Pistols, and Winters.

Was your art created specifically for the ‘Born’ album? And (if so) where did the ideas for the cover and inner gatefold come from? (Had you been able to check out the music beforehand or discuss ideas with the band? ) 

I did create the artwork specifically for the album and the band granted me a lot of freedom.

Comus “First Utterance” was a touchstone which is an example of a striking cover image which becomes unforgettable over time. It’s dark, earthy, and psychedelic and drawn in a raw style. When I first came across it years ago I likened it to the artwork for “In the Court of the Crimson King” by Barry Godber.

So, was the first Utterance LP cover part of the inspiration for the Birth cover?

The First Utterance cover (by Roger Wootton) was mentioned by the band as an inspiration, not as a literal reference but more for its vibe and peculiarity.

When drawing the Birth cover I kept that in mind. 

I hoped to also craft a sort of pathway to ponder as you listen to the album. Birth to death and all the strange trips in between. 

The figure is melding with a tree in the courtyard of a crumbling castle with pathways inward and outward.

Can you tell me a bit about the actual piece and how it was created? And are you happy with how the cover suits the music? 

My work is hand drawn with India ink on wood panel. I wanted to accentuate the hand drawn / analog feeling and evoke the school of acid damaged art. It’s maybe reminiscent of an old Hawkwind bootleg or early Ernst Fuchs drawing.

There’s a sort of pathway to be followed while listening to the album with lots of mystical symbols along the way. I am very fond of the album and hope that my artwork contributes to the listener’s experience!

You’ve done a number of other album covers — can you tell me a bit about a few that you are most impressed with (or proud of) ?

Wino ” Punctuated Equilibrium” was a milestone for me. It was a momentous collection of Wino’s music and I was honored to do extensive artwork for all of the different facets of the packaging.

Mournful Congregation “Incubus of Karma” was a favorite because the album is a masterpiece and I greatly appreciate the band.


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