Such has been Horse Meat Disco’s importance in shaping queer music culture in the capital, their exploits have come to transcend notions of gender and sexuality; now they sit (or, rather dance) as important figureheads for dancers in all shapes and forms. As they allude to in the interview below, homage and reverence underpins much of their exploits together and this is no different with a selection of their favourite record sleeves. Read some reasons for their picks below along a playlist of their favourite tracks (minus one which wasn’t listed on Spotify).
On 1st June at Ace Hotel, Horse Meat Disco and Aaron L curated Mediterranean-inspired selections as part of the launch of The Little Things, a short film from Estrella Damm starring Jean Reno. Watch the film at the Estrella Damm website.
What was the first record you bought or listened to because of its record sleeve? What was special about it?
Ru Paul – Supermodel of the World. She looks amazing and the album was a killer. I didn’t buy it but made my brother buy it for my birthday. He was pretty embarrassed bless him and I remember looking at the artwork with my gran who was mesmerised by Ru’s legs!
How important a role do record sleeves play when you’re buying records?
It’s pretty essential really. In the age of digital downloads, artwork has ceased to be that important. The great thing about 12” artwork in addition to the artwork itself is the amount of information contained within in, from who produced it to who played drums on it or who the backing singers are. All these things help buying records a more informed pursuit rather than a hit or miss based on the artwork alone. I’ve bought many a record based on the artwork even if the actual music isn’t that great. Art is art and the art of the album cover gives me as much enjoyment as the music itself.
How have you approached the artwork for your own releases? Any key principals or things you’ve kept in mind?
For our upcoming release, as with many of our aesthetic pursuits, we do hark back to the past and take influences from the things that have been part of our musical journey. Homage and reverence have always been a major principle with everything we do.
Earth Wind and Fire – I Am (Columbia)
Favourite track: ‘Star’
The use of imagery from ancient Egypt always makes for great artwork and Earth Wind and Fire managed to take it and make it futuristic. Something beautiful to stare at whilst listening to their wonderful music.
Loleatta Holloway – Love Sensation (Salsoul)
Favourite track: ‘Love Sensation’
One of our favourite cover artists is Richard Bernstein who used to do the covers for interview magazines and was quite prolific in the 70s for album artwork ranging from Grace Jones to Janet Jackson. His hyper real, elegant cartoon style is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s portrait work.
Grace Jones – Nightclubbing (Island)
Favourite track: ‘Feel Up’
Another artist who turned his hand to album artwork was Jean Paul Goude who did many a cover for Grace over her career such as Warm Leatherette, Slave to the Rhythm, Living My Life and Island Life. He captured her glamour and style so perfectly. It plays with the idea of gender and, in a way was, way ahead of its time…much like Grace herself.
The Jones Girls – The Jones Girls (Philadelphia International Records) Favourite track: ‘This Favourite track: ‘Feeling’s Killing Me’
Norman Seeff was a great photographer who was very good at taking pictures of musicians and bands that had great movement and joy. You always wanted to be part of their world when you look at one of his covers. He also did covers for Gladys Night and the Pips, Joni Mitchell, Pointer Sisters and my favourite Patrice Rushen.
Cerrone – Cerrone’s Paradise (Malligator)
Favourite track: ‘Take Me’
I was always fascinated as to why there was a naked woman draped over a fridge on an album called Paradise. So when I had the chance to meet Cerrone, I asked him what was the inspiration. He told me something along the lines of: the label asked me what my idea of paradise is and his response was going to the fridge and opening it to find a beautiful naked woman. Make of that what you will but it’s a great EP.
Estrella Damm, the beer of Barcelona, is highly involved in supporting diverse talent across music and their arts. Following this collaboration with Horse Meat Disco, they will also be lead sponsors of Sónar Festival.