I was recently commissioned to create a drawing for a soon to be released CD by Ben deHoedt of Melbourne, Australia. Indians to Heaven is built on the idea of reversing the meaning of lyrics to Pantera songs. (Pantera was an extremely popular metal band from Arlington, Texas, formed in 1981.) Indians to Heaven (the name itself an antonym to Pantera’s moniker, Cowboys from Hell) represents the work of Aleks Habus and Ben, who have each written and recorded their own “antonyms” of Pantera’s album “The Great Southern Trendkill.”
Aleks has titled his album “A Quiet Life Up North,” and Ben has titled his “The Gentle Northern Wind.” They have co-written one song which appears on both albums with a different title, lyrics and production. While each album is a complete package, written and performed independently by Aleks and Ben, they are both “Indians to Heaven” albums.
“A Quiet Life Up North” is a pastoral celebration of life in Ascot Vale, a suburb north-west of Melbourne. Songs about love, domesticity, lemon trees and the Ascot sunlight are occasionally interrupted with the atmosphere that the dusk brings to the Vale.
“The Gentle Northern Wind” tells the story of a charismatic stranger who offers salvation to a community of defeated people, in a narrative told from multiple perspectives. Conceived as the lyric “reversal’ process for the title song, the emerging themes were shaped into a story reminiscent of Stephen King or Clive Barker and musically traverses several genres, although mostly serving as a love letter to 1970’s progressive rock.
I thoroughly enjoyed the process and experience of working with Ben to create the drawing for his cover. He sent me the lyrics to his songs and described what he envisioned for the drawing including samples of Alfred Rethel’s prints for the look he was interested in achieving. (Rethel was a German printmaker in the early-to-mid-1800s.) He wanted a skeletal reaper “pied piper” on a white stallion with sad, tired, frightened people following him. The setting is the desert in the American west of the late 1800s.
After emailing sketches back and forth, tweaking and fine-tuning here and there, we had the final drawing (above right) which we’re both extremely happy with.
Both albums will be released via Bandcamp very soon with singles from each to be released prior to this. Ben released his single “His Softly Spoken Words” April 25th and you can to it at http://indianstoheaven.bandcamp.com/