Previously working under the alias Asterik, the studio is founded by Don and his brother Ryan. Brand New gave the siblings complete creative freedom, telling them to “do their thing.” It’s something which Don explains is as daunting as it is wonderful. “There’s no real starting point,” he continues. “We loved the album title and wanted to do something unexpected, so we started digging through our archives of found imagery that we could play with.” With no song or lyric particularly sparking inspiration between the pair, the brothers pitched only once to the band – a rare accomplishment in such a crucial aspect of the process.
“I don’t remember them really giving us any art direction at all throughout the whole process,” recalls Don. “I remember them liking what we submitted, and being a pleasure to work with during the entire process. It was a really fun project.” For such a seemingly easy process, the team never thought the artwork would have such an effect on fans. “It was pretty amazing to see the response to the artwork,” says Don. “If I could go back, there are a zillion little things I would do differently. I was much younger (and greener) at the time, so some of the light and shadow work is a bit clunky - but I think the concept as a whole still works well.”
To me, the Deja Entendu artwork is nearly as important to the music on the album itself. Sometimes I’ll have discussions with friends and say that I don’t think album artwork is necessarily integral to a great album. But then you think of a release like this from Brand New where from top to bottom - it all just hits perfectly.
I received my Deja Entendu vinyl reissue from Triple Crown this past weekend and was just in awe of the artwork and packing as I’ve never seen a copy of the first press in person before. The linked store is a must-read for anyone that loves this album.