ADG “Schizophrenic Conversations”

Album cover and packaging design for singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist ADG’s first solo record.

ADG is one of my oldest friends. We used to play music together, talked about art and shared some Tool and Incubus records in school, long before I became a designer and he followed through the musical carreer that expected him. An amazing singer, he used to form lots of different bands in different styles.

In 2016, he came to me to ask me to design the cover for his next album. It mainly consisted in a series of Irish-Folk tunes, that he played on stage with another guitarist and a female singer. But when the project began to lose focus, ADG started to think about a full solo creation. As a self-taught multi-instrumentalist and a detail-obsessed composer, he began to work on approximately 20 personal tracks, that he made me listen during a work meeting at his own studio in the South of France. The result mixed very well his most intimate influences with the neatest pop production. He wanted the project to become a bipolar album with both the romantic folk tunes and the electronic-pop anthems—which became these “Schizophrenic Conversations”.

This long-term project was accomplished by working hand-in-hand with the production company NB Records. First, a rock single, “Far From You”, out in October 2017. Back then, I designed the cover for the single, a colorful portrait of the singer using knife painting. Then, a remix of the same track, for which I made a lyrics video, that came out in November. Finally, ADG put out his breakout single “Rockstar” in June 2018. Those three singles and their videos aired on MTV France and the main musical French TV channels on a regular base.

In the summer of 2018, while ADG and his team were hard-working on the other tracks, I prepared the art direction for the album. The general idea was to keep some kind of continuity after the first single, still working with painting (because it conveyed perfectly the whole artistic heritage that he attempts to put into his music), but we decided to take it the the next level, painting directly the singer’s face, to make him look like a statue. In a wonderful photoshoot taken by Lauren Rebelle, we tried several ideas, previously sketched. Helped by the make up artist Virginie Roblin, I experimented a lot of painting effects, colors, all shot one after another.

Quickly, we set up the rules that would build the key visual: white painting, three-quarter view portrait, shoulders in contrapposto, absent look, half dreamer, half sculptural. We followed that creative track with the white painting along with the packaging design, even the typography, that I entirely painted by hand. Every letter is unique, you will never find the same “A” twice, the same “E” twice. We didn’t cleanse it, we left some imperfections on purpose… the more authentic, the better for the final physical object. Inside of the digipack, I decided to create an element of surprise with a pitch black, that contrasts with the polar grey of the outside. The whole idea is about a schizophrenic packaging: inside positive, outside negative.

The album came out on the 11th of January 2019. It is now sold in big stores all across the country, and streamed on Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and YouTube where it already counts more than 300.000 views.

© Sébastien Sechinffon