As always we aim to dig deeper and get you guys as much detail as possible. We spoke with the artist behind the cover of the upcoming Dead Cross album and brutal video for Seizure and Desist.
Eric Livingston is a musician, performer, painter, photographer and writer from San Francisco.
How did Dead Cross come to use your artwork for their record cover?
I was at a Retox show in San Francisco, and Justin Pearson brought up the idea. He ultimately offered me the chance to create some artwork for the band. I played with Justin in a group called All Leather for a stint, and we've remained friends ever since.
What inspires your work?
My surroundings, and basically everything that I experience internally. Art has always been a way for me to vent my negative emotions and try to channel them into something positive, or at the very least, something interesting.
Traditionally Mike Patton is very particular about his album designs. Was he or the rest of the band involved in the design process?
They all had input on the layout and content. Brandon Thomas McMinn was the layout designer for the project. He fucking killed it putting everything together, and I think everyone will be pleased with the package itself. I've always appreciated the amount of effort Mike's made to enhance the aesthetics of his releases. I also think Greg Werckman, and his team, all contribute to the well-oiled machine that is Ipecac Recordings.
Ipecac describes Dead Cross's music as 'unyielding ferocity' the video for 'Seizure and Desist' seems to encapsulate this perfectly. How did the this video clip come about?
I actually started to make the video on my own, after the album artwork was done. I wanted to stay busy, and Brandon Thomas McMinn had implanted a lot of rad ideas in my head when I was drawing different concepts for the artwork. I had a loose concept, and I went with it. Within days, I showed some stuff I had edited to Justin, and he told me to run with it and sent me "Seizure and Desist." After that, the video was easy to finish. I was heavily inspired by the song itself and so excited to see the video come to fruition that I worked on it for a whole day straight. This is probably the only project of this calibre that I've ever submitted, with no necessary changes or edits. I was super stoked when the group all signed off on it.
Justin Pearson enthused about the imagery in the video describing it as capturing 'the severity of the times we live in'. It seems to be politically and religiously charged, is there a message you are putting out?
Basically, I wanted to express discontent with current events. Mostly in relation to organized government, organized religion, and the overall dumbing of the human race. I see the world divided by systems that enslave us, and that people still think working against each other will actually change things for the better. I think if this species is going to survive, we have to start acting like an organism and band together and challenge these institutions. Some people have actually threatened me because of the video's imagery. Also, some people have expressed to me their idea that politics don't belong in music... I think if you can afford not to be political in these times, then you live in a world of privilege and ignorance. Also, this is a hardcore record. Hardcore music is historically about taking a stand, or at least opening up a forum to discuss repression and/or social and political change. As a side note: I really like to use satire to display tragedy and comedy through art, in a fashion that's vague enough to draw your own conclusions, like a children's book. The low brow style implies the absurdity of the themes themselves... So, it's hilarious to see people take it so seriously. My message? Rage on. Stay Angry. Fuck Hate. Be Rad.
Fans are very excited to hear this album in full and check the live shows. Will our expectations be fulfilled?
No Question. The album and shows will fucking shred. All these guys work so hard and leave everything on the stage. I'm really stoked to see it myself. I Remember seeing Mr. Bungle when I was eight or nine, I'll never forget how much Mike fucked with the audience! I remember seeing Slayer for the first time around the same age, and seeing Hanneman and Lombardo define thrash music for me! Later on, I got to see The Locust swarm and witness a stage presence akin to that of Devo on steroids! And finally, Michael Crain's insane range, listening to albums from Festival of Dead Deer to Retox, holy fuck! These guys have paid every due, they're just out for blood now.
Where can we check out more of your work?
It's scattered everywhere! You can check out my instagram:
Also, I have a small clothing brand here: