How creative director Martin Falck built the visual world for Fever Ray’s first album in eight years
Martin Falck is a Swedish designer who we’ve spoken to before at Crack Magazine, back in 2014 when we featured The Knife on the cover.
Through his work with The Knife and DIK Fagazine, he’s honed in on a distinctly disruptive style – commanding, confrontational works which are designed to communicate without distraction. When the earth-stopping news landed yesterday that Fever Ray would be releasing her first solo record for eight years at midnight, it was no surprise that Falck was the creative director behind the mesmerising artwork. He’d already art directed the video for lead single To the Moon and Back and his creative bond with Karin Dreijer Andersson and The Knife stretches back years.
We caught up with Martin to discuss the artistic coordinates of the artwork, heavy metal and why that video is fun, not disturbing.
I know you’ve worked together for a few years, but how did you first become acquainted with Karin?
I first met her in Copenhagen where she was putting up an opera [2009’s Tomorrow, In a Year] with her brother Olof.
How was the vision for the album explained to you?
Well, Karin’s music speaks for itself. She just put me in a room and made me listen to the first sketches of the album. It sounded so amazing and I could feel her joy of working with music again in every track. Then we started to talk about the world where this music lives, through images and stories we slowly started shaping the new Fever Ray reality.
Could you talk a little about the typography – was there a heavy metal influence?
I felt that this album, in a way, was a way back for Karin to find fun in music again. The new Fever Ray music is so shameless and brave and has this crazy energy that made me think of these old heavy metal bands, where straight dudes were dressing up in these bizarre outfits, going bananas, screaming “lock up your daughters – we’re playing in your town tonight!”. I wanted this sort of shameless, confident and “let’s have fun” feeling to shape the visuals of the album.
Weirdly, when I was researching, I realised that there are almost no female heavy metal bands (except in Japan). I could only find this band which I think was called “Vixen”. I couldn’t understand how that was possible, since all these guys where dressing like women but almost no women were doing it. And then I realised that it is something I want to play with.
Having worked on projects for The Knife before, in what ways was this different?
This project was so close to me, and Karin let me in so early in her process – we discussed everything so much, came up with a whole theme and world where the new Fever Ray existed and I’m so grateful for her trust in allowing me to interpret her music visually. Also, I think it was different since Olof is not a part of Fever Ray, and because Karin is doing it alone I was let in to the process of making the album… and it was so amazing to see Karin at work. She just never stops impressing me. I think we share this idea that music is also visual and you see things when you hear things: colours, shapes, jackets and so on.
How does the visual artwork reflect the sound of the record?
Well I think that’s subjective but I hope it gives new energy and opens up your expectations of the music. After all it’s an album released eight years after the first one.
Did you have any other ideas for artwork which didn’t get used?
No not really, I knew very early exactly what I wanted to do and we basically had a sketch from the beginning.
How closely did you work with the photographer, Louise Enhörn?
It was the first time for me working with Louise. I wanted to change the photographer I usually work with and it was amazing to work with her – she’s such a pro. Also I have to mention Ignacio Alonsos amazing handpainted logo on Karins face and the styling by Christopher Insulander which you can see in the press pictures too. It was also the first time for me working on an album artwork with a photographer so that was very exciting.
Could you also talk a little bit about the video for To The Moon And Back?
It’s basically a video about longing for something and finding your “wolfpack” – a place of security and trust where you can do the things you always wanted to do without being misunderstood.
The video is quite disturbing. Did you want to unsettle audiences? Why’s that?
Oh no! I really don’t think it is. I see it as a cheesy like weird sci-fi-slasher. I think it’s full of positive energy and real fun.