As Baroness gear up to release their 6th and final chromatically-themed record June 14th via Abraxan Hymns, Revolver takes a closer look at frontman John Baizley‘s process in designing the artwork for Gold & Grey.
The artist and Baroness frontman had spent another day in his studio trying and failing to figure out how to make the color orange work on the group’s next album cover. “It’s the most gaudy hue that is available,” he explains. “It’s 100 percent why we haven’t done that color yet. We kind of saved it for last.”
Over 3,700 miles away — the approximate distance between Philadelphia and Amsterdam — artist Marald van Haasteren (High on Fire, Klyesa, Wolfbrigade), who recently created stunning Ghost-inspired artwork for Revolver and had previously collaborated with Baizley on Baroness’ last album, 2015’s Purple, was having a similar experience. “It’s one of my least favorite colors of the spectrum,” van Haasteren reveals. “Over here in the Netherlands, it’s associated with our King and soccer team — not the kind of things I’m fond of.”
While both artists struggled with this color, diehard Baroness fans knew that orange would complete the color wheel of the band’s album covers and so Baizley and van Haasteren were determined to find a way to make it work.
One day he had a breakthrough. “I was going out to see a show, brushing my teeth in my bathroom before I went out,” Baizley recalls. “The walls of my bathroom are this sort of warm, neutral gray. I had a pack of Trident — like an orange, mint-flavored gum. As I lifted the package out of my pocket, I saw that package with the walls behind it. The color combination was so intriguing. It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I said, ‘This is the way to do it. There’s a gray element.'”
With this idea in mind, Baizley set out to create what he describes now as “the best [piece of visual art] I’ve done,” and van Haasteren started 21 original pieces to accompany the album packaging, of which he says, “The biggest challenge with this album was not matching John’s quality, but actually surpassing the standard we both set with Purple.” He adds, “I truly believe we achieved that and then some.”
Finally, in mid-March, Baizley unveiled his creation after some Pantone number teasing via social media that revealed the new album’s title: Gold & Grey, despite all the orange in the cover painting. Baroness’ highly anticipated fifth album and first LP to feature guitarist Gina Gleason is due June 14th via the quartet’s own Abraxan Hymns (you can pre-order it here); ahead of its release, Revolver caught up with Baizley as he walked around Disneyland looking for a quiet place to talk about the intense, gorgeous art and all the complications and chaos that went into creating it.
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