Oxford’s Better Than Never have recently served up their second EP, Head Under Water, a fusion of pop-punk and hardcore with an A Day To Remember -esque flair. The band have opened up with a unique perspective on how they developed the artwork for their EP, which was recorded with Ian Sadler at Emeline Studios.
Vocalist James Harris expressed that the band see this as a way of giving back to their fans – “This release is hugely important to us, it’s was great fun recording our previous EP release, but one of our favourite things we took from that was the reaction we got from our fans. We want to give back to those who have supported us and spread the music as far and wide as we can. We really hope people see and feel the hard work we put into this release“.
“We had quite lengthy discussions about how we wanted to play the EP artwork. As we had planned to put the single “Learning To Swim” on the EP, we felt an aquatic theme would work quite well given the context. Originally we worked on a few mock-ups on our own including the original one we picked – which spawned the idea for our current cartoon one – showed a woman drowning in the middle of a dark sea. We liked the concept of someone trying to swim, but the version Jim came up with on photoshop just looked a bit too dark to suit the sound we were going for with this EP.”
The band instead turned back to their ‘homemade hero’, the character featured on their previous artwork. “With our artwork we really wanted to keep the theme we had going from the previous EP, on which the cover featured a homemade hero. We wanted the artwork to show him progressing on his journey, and we felt this also helped represent how we felt with this new EP, exploring new territories and incorporating new inspirations.”
With a stronger idea of what they were looking for from their artwork, the band went forward in looking for artists who might suit. Luckily, they struck gold before too long.
“From this, we had a look into illustrators who would suit the style we wanted, one that had caught our eye earlier on in the year was Mark Bell. He’s worked with a huge range of bands, and he is a really talented designer. With that in mind, we gave him an awful sketch, which he somehow managed to interpret really well. He first sent us back his own sketch, and then followed it up with the full design.”
With this, the band have provided sketches from each iteration of the artwork. Here is cover art, in development:
It’s a pleasure to see something come to fruition like this, and wonderful to gain an insight into the thought process behind an artwork. It’s safe to say Mark bell did a great job here. Don’t forget, Better Than Never are heading out on the ‘Head Under Wa-Tour’ early next year, and you can catch the boys at any one of these dates:
6th January – Northampton, Bantam
7th January – Bournemouth, Blue Line Studios
8th January – Exeter, Phoenix
9th January – Plymouth, Underground
10th January – Bristol, The Lanes
11th January – Nottingham, The Maze
12th January – Liverpool, Maguires
13th January – Bolton, Alma
14th January – Birmingham, Asylum
15th January – London, Fiddlers Elbow
For now, stream the Head Under Water EP right here.