Before Bram Presser was the celebrated author of the recently published, “Book of Dirt”, he was a no-goodnik punk-rocker with hummus in his hair.
This is the artwork I created for his Jewish punk band, Yidcore’s, ‘Eighth Day Slice / Fiddlin’ On Ya Roof’, double album.
It really was an all-singing, all-dancing, punk extravaganza, with the “Fiddler On The Roof” recreation drawing on contributions from music luminaries including Ben Lee, Renee Geyer and Killing Heidi’s, Ella Hooper.
From playing piano on a number of tracks across both albums, to designing the CD artwork and doing all of the associated illustration and incidental photography, I really got to make my mark on this cacophonous riot of a good time.
And it was a real creative challenge as both albums were entirely distinct from one another, which called for artwork that articulated those differences, even though they were still packaged together and released as a double album.
The ‘Eighth Day Slice’ title refers to the Jewish circumcision ceremony that happens on the 8th day after a baby boy is born. To that end I thought it’d be pretty funny to have an illustration of a cockerel about to get the snip. And if there was any doubt about what was being alluded to, then the addition of a dashed line with scissors icon hopefully closed the circuit.
I was also quite delighted to include original photography of Michelangelo’s David’s ‘cockerel’ which sat behind some of Bram’s fantastically idiosyncratic handwritten lyrics.
There was also a panel in the CD booklet which featured a closeup of Guy Sebastian’s teeth which I snapped on a hoarding poster under the Caulfield railway bridge. Why? I just thought it would be pretty amusing for Guy Sebastian to make it onto a bonafide punk record.
The design high-point of the ‘Eighth Day Slice’ artwork however was the inclusion of a razor blade on the CD disc. The razor shape was left blank which meant that the mirror finish of the CD substrate showed through the printed areas, adding an ominous quality as it reflected the light. Details like this required next-level finished art smarts so as to prepare the artwork in a way that would assure the desired outcome.
By contrast, the “Fiddlin’ On Ya Roof” artwork was distinguished by the old-school hand painted front cover illustration that I created as an affectionate homage to the original broadway “Fiddler On The Roof” LP artwork. In the place of the traditional fiddler though, a hand painted Bram was inserted, with Gibson Les Paul electric guitar to boot.
The obsession with the most minute detail went right down to sampling the typography from the old map that sits behind the sepia toned photo of the band in shtetl garb, so it could be reconstituted to include Anatevka which is the imaginary town where “Fiddler” is set.
The classic ‘Playbill’ poster masthead was also tweaked to create the far more pleasing ‘Playbull’.
Great care was also taken to recreate the essence of the original ‘His Master’s Voice’ vinyl record labels for the CD disc artwork.
Who knew punk could be such a precise undertaking?