Music has always been a big part of my life, it’s what got me into design—discovering music through album covers. Toward the end of high school and into my early twenties, I played bass in a very strange rock band called Toads and Mice. (You can probably find an embarrassing MySpace page and photos of us somewhere on the internet.) After Toads and Mice dismantled, my best friend Dustin, who was our lead singer and guitarist, started a new musical project called Drose which he’s been working on for the past few years.
Drose recently released their first LP on Orange Milk Records titled Boy Man Machine—check it out here! For their release show, I thought it would be fun to make a poster that promoted the event and also memorialized the evening for everyone in the band. I’ve made posters for Drose shows in the past, but this one was different; it needed to pay special tribute to the release of their first LP. It’s always a fun challenge to design something for your friends, but it can also be difficult to be so personally invested in a project. I wanted to design something that my friends would like, but I also wanted it to be a genuine reflection of Drose’s music—this was especially tough.
Musically, Drose is a different type of beast. The band members have crafted a truly unique sound that ranges from aggressive/experimental to the noise, industrial, and metal parts of the music spectrum. For most people, the vocals are the main thing that separates Drose from the metal side of music. Throughout Boy Man Machine, Dustin’s vocals continually switch from his natural, higher-pitched singing voice to a melodic harrowing moan gasping for air. The drums are slow, deep, and devastating; the guitar is either non-existent or it comes in thick with the sound of a second guitar piercing through other sections that are receptive enough to put you into a trance. The lyrical content of Drose is very personal to Dustin—you can tell by reading them or listening closely as he sings—which was difficult to reflect in the poster design. To me, Boy Man Machine (the title of the Drose LP) symbolizes two things: the world’s growing obsession with integrating technology into every aspect of our lives, and the process of growing up to just become another cog in the machine.
Because I find their sound so unique, coming up with a mark for Drose has always served to be a challenge for me. I wanted it to be special; something that was spelled out clearly for the viewer, but was also a little jarring. I’ve always leaned toward a serif font for Drose posters—sans serif never seemed to speak the right sound. It needed to be mechanical like the music, but it also had to encompass the desperation and emptiness of the drums’ slow, deep, and drugging pound. I feel like I got somewhere good with this.
From here, I started designing the poster. I wanted to make it eye-catching, while also keeping it as simple as possible. For their album cover, Drose photographed a weird mask made of netted plastic that’s allegedly used as a form of protection from harsh chemicals. (A friend of mine found it in a trash can on a college campus near the science building.) On the cover, the mask is set in a dark space and is surrounded by geometric shapes. As a way to represent the dynamic between Drose’s mechanical and emotional sound, I used an alternate photo of the mask and cut the composition in half with the inverse of the image. I laid out the type to display information about the show in more of a bitmap font—Dustin has used this in the past and it fit in quite nicely with the rest of the poster.
Next came the actual printing of the poster. I wanted to make it more of a momento, rather than something that could just be torn down and tossed away after the show. So, my best friend Jacob and I set up a makeshift screen printing press in his garage and screen printed 23 posters on some awesome french paper. I’m really proud of how they turned out—the screen printed design looked great.
I’m excited to see what’s next for Drose, and hope they continue to use the mark I created for them in the future.