I am extremely happy that this year has been one of my most prolific ones in regards to my writing. I’ve been contributing content to Heathen Harvest (I’ve had seven reviews and one interview published so far, with many more in the pipeline), and I’ll soon be working on my next essay for print publication in an anthology, which may either be on Italian space horror films of the 1960s, or meteor horror films.
|Changes - Ride the Tiger from my personal collection|
It was truly an interesting evolution. When Changes performed at the Flammenzauber Festival in Heldrungen, Germany in 2004, a compilation CD was produced of all of the bands that would be performing. They had also asked for any material that each of the members may have done outside of their respective group. Fortunately for me and my other incarnation with Phase II, Robert Taylor submitted, along with a side project of his own, tracks from Phase II’s public access radio program from 1978 to Axel Frank, one of the organizers of Flammenzauber. Thus, two of the early Phase II songs were used on that compilation.
The beautiful picture discs of Autre Que are a hallmark of quality, but they are also extremely limited in their production. For instance, Ride the Tiger was limited to 240 copies. Vinyl, as medium of choice, harkens back to the pre-Autre Que days with Heimdallr:
It is also under the Heimdallr banner that I had my first experience with a vinyl production through the Europa Aeterna LP compilation, released in 2006 as a vinyl testimony to the six years of activity with the webzine.
It is much easier to do a lot than to do little. Exclusivity is probably a strong word as Autre Que doesn’t exclude anyone although I certainly don’t strive to work with the whole scene either or to build up the largest catalogue possible. Quality is above quantity in my book and I avoid mediocrity like the plague. The genuine and unique nature of [these] bands and the fact that they certainly haven’t become a parody of themselves but have improved and transformed for the better instead is one of the reasons why they feature on Autre Que.5
It was to be a special Autre Que release for Changes and would consequently be a merchandising highlight and special souvenir or keepsake of the tour, similar to a one time published program of a theater performance. Surely, it would have also been a great financial aide, not only for the tour, but to reimburse Autre Que’s considerable expenses incurred in producing the disc. Even more than the T-Shirt and any of the other items of merchandise, however, this picture disc truly was a very special item. We sold more at the locations where our friends/fans were more interested in vinyl than at the places where people shunned vinyl for CDs, but it is a coveted item and worthy of purchase, even if never played.6
Our intent was to do a vinyl 7-inch from the start instead of a CD, since we only had the two songs with which to work as they were very fitting to the concept of the tour. The original idea was to make a colored vinyl 7-inch with a picture sleeve. The thought was to use yellow/orange vinyl with black stripes running through to simulate the tiger of our tour logo. Then, the idea evolved into the possibility of a picture disc. I own several 12 inch picture discs and they are very special to me, one in particular is a picture disc by Sting’s group, The Police, which is cut in the shape of a policeman’s badge. My thought was that a picture disc would be a very special keepsake indeed.7
As with the Terra Fria release, the best laid plans tend to hit snags. The actual creation of the picture disc ran into a huge critical problem:
Nathalie checked with the fine German company that produces all of Autre Que’s vinyl and they said they did manufacture picture discs. So I designed the graphics and we were ready to roll with it.
|Ride the Tiger - reverse side|
It turned out that when preparing the Fire + Ice vinyl release for Autre Que, the person with whom Nathalie had worked for the graphics of their previous releases became unavailable, so Nathalie asked if I could work with her. I was honored to be asked and it turned out that Nathalie and I work very well together in the process as we both seem to have the same vision in everything we undertake. I also worked as a consultant in her Ô Paradis vinyl release and recently worked with her on all of the advertising and graphics for the Fire + Ice/Knotwork Fractured Europe Tour. It is a pleasure and refreshing to work with someone who has a similar strive for perfection. We can each be honest with each other offering suggestions to change and improve the design we’ve started with, without offending each other as it is all part of trying to get everything perfectly the way we each envisioned.14
|Fire + Ice - Runa (from my personal collection)|
Nicholas is a close and long time friend. To ask him if he would be willing to get involved in the layout of the vinyls came naturally and our collaboration started with the Rûna LP. He is intelligent, perfectionist, skilled and capable to cope with my requirements: all the qualities I look for in people I work with. It is always a joy and a pleasure for me to work with Nicholas whatever the project.15
|Changes logo from their official website|
Much of what I’d done previously was based on traditional typestyles, both serif (like Times or Palatino) or a san-serif (like Arial or Helvetica) lettering. When Robert and I decided on the name of the group, Changes, in 1969, I wanted to create a logo that would depict the feeling of what “Changes” meant. In the original idea, my thought was to have a caterpillar entering on the left side of the logo and a butterfly emerging from the right. Unfortunately, a caterpillar done in line drawing looks a bit too much like an earthworm, so that part of the idea was abandoned. However, I think, early on we did have a butterfly that Robert had created emerging from the right side.