Bankhead's major label affiliation since has been Honest Jon's. His simple, clean designing of archival material from far-off lands and modern work of far-out experimentalists contrasts sharply with the busy designs of the Mo Wax years, but you can see that an off-kilter sensibility remains. Just check the Shangaan Electro or recent Shackleton covers for proof. Lately, he's also been embraced by the UK bass community as well. Joy Orbison's Doldrums label bears his handiwork, as well as the recent Hessle Audio 116 & Rising compilation. All of this, and he maintains a blog, label and store of his own—Trilogy Tapes—which brings together his many interests into one sprawling package. We caught up with Bankhead recently to talk about his past design work, as well as his poster for our upcoming RA X party in Rome.
Global Communication was one of the first sleeves that I did, but I did most of my work for Mo Wax starting out. James [Lavelle] is obviously a total madman. He wanted everything to come with a toy. The first full cover I think we did was by Sam Sever. It was called What's That Sound? It's got a photo of a portable turntable that's a bit out of focus. That was my thing. Well, it still is really. These sleeves were done without computers, a lot of the work we did we used to do in the darkroom. We just loved making graphics with enlargers, and we'd make sort of type acetates and stick them into the enlarger and mess around with the paper. Mo Wax kept me really busy.
I was happy to be able to work on something that Torsten had done for Honest Jon's. I remember he used to do this thing called Traktor, and I bought it in FatCat, and it was just so intriguing. Like, what is this record from Berlin? My God, it sounds insane, it's got this obscure graphic. As a fiend for this stuff, I get excited to go to a record shop and say, "What is that? It looks weird." That's my main goal really. People always ask me what designers I like, but really it's those things that aren't designed that I like. To be honest…well…I look back at sleeves that I did last week, and I don't like them really. With Actress, for example, though he told me he was into geometric shapes. That was a really nice brief to work with. I was pleased with how that turned out.
Trilogy Tapes is a blog and a shop. I was definitely inspired by labels like Hanson, the Michigan noise scene. I'm into all sorts of music, though, so there will be a noise thing, and then the next release will be a Kassem Mosse tape. [laughs] It's just for fun really, a labour of love. We do have a few records too—a Dro Carey vinyl for example. I found him by looking for juke/footwork videos on YouTube, and there were these interesting clips that went with the tracks that weren't just stills of the DJ, so I got in touch to see what he was up to with his music.
I remember meeting Joy Orbison at Berghain at an Honest Jon's party, and he was like, "Oh, you do that Trilogy Tapes thing," and I'm kind of like, "What?! How come you know that?" He was like, "Yeah, no, I'm really into it. Would you like to get some graphics done if you're into it?" I probably met the Hessle guys through him. Ben is a fucking mad DJ. So sick. It was tough to design for them. I struggled to get something together in my mind that they would all like. I'm really grateful that they asked me to do it, that younger people are into what I do and I was really pleased with it, but I don't know what the hell they're on about with the BPM thing. As an older person [laughs], I've noticed that people are so obsessed with BPMs these days. I don't remember it being such a thing before.
I almost thought the poster I made for the RA X party in Italy was too simple. I made it on a turntable: I took it into a darkroom, and I exposed light onto the paper as it was turning consistently. I've done other stuff where I draw on paper as the turntable spins, but this was the first time I've done anything like this.
As part of the festivities, we've commissioned ten of our favourite designers to make a limited-edition screen-printed poster for one party in the series. With only 75 made available to the public, you can be sure that you're one of the only people on your block with this unique piece of art. Purchase one for the RA X night in Rome exclusively via the event listing on RA.
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