Vital Vinyl: Diving Into American Sharks’ ‘Color-Your-Own’ LP
American Sharks are creating some of the grittiest, rawest and realest rock and roll we've heard in a very long time. Being forged in Houston, American Sharks' reputation for explosive house parties spread like wildfire, leading to their debut EP, 'WeedWizard,' and the release of their self-titled album.
While we love the album's fastpaced musical vibe, we're also suckers for the album artwork. Created by Texas artist Gutrot, the cover art is instantly eye-catching and will likely require multiple viewings just to take it all in.
As if that wasn't cool enough, American Sharks partnered with Gutrot and their label, the End Records, to release a very special vinyl edition of the LP. There is no color on the jacket -- it's all black and white, but you have the opportunity to bring it to life by coloring it in with markers. Oh, and the record itself is pressed on white and black splatter wax.
Because we are so intrigued by this release, we decided to go to the source to figure out how they came up with the idea. We grabbed a few minutes with bassist and vocalist Mike Hardin and drummer Nick Cornetti to chat about their debut album and why vinyl is important to them as a band. Check out our exclusive chat below:
The most striking part about the record, before you even spin it, is the artwork. What was your relationship like with Gutrot?
Nick: Gutrot asked us to send him a list of things we like, so we sent him this really long list of stuff like wizards, bongs, partying. We also sent him the unreleased album and asked him to listen to it a few times through to get the vibe of the album.
Where did you get the idea to do the "color your own" vinyl for the jacket?
Nick: I went to Gutrot's house to pay him for a design and he had the black and white outline of our cover art hanging up on his wall. I had never seen it like that. We thought it looked really cool and thought it would be rad to do a black and white repress when we sold out of the first pressing. The idea to package it with markers and make it a color-your-own record came a few months later. We were ripping this fish tank gravity bong and I accidentally sucked a fish up the bong and swallowed him. That's when it hit me. Since then we've grown to believe it was the fish's idea.
With the black and white cover, the black and white splatter pressing -- it's obvious vinyl means something to you. Why is it important to you as a musician?
Nick: I love the way it feels, looks and sounds. To me, the jacket and artwork are just as important as the music. There's nothing collectible about a digital download. The first Modest Mouse LP sells for over $500 on eBay, that's a 3,200% increase from the original price of $15. Gold has only seen a 200% increase in 20 years! So technically, vinyl is more valuable than gold.
How important is vinyl to you personally?
Nick: It's very important. I'm a collector but we rarely get to listen to vinyl being on tour all the time.
And speaking of being on tour, what is it like being on the road with GWAR?
Nick: Bloody. The GWAR crew are some of the best people you will ever meet. We've been having a lot of fun with them. Everyone is really nice and caring and they love to party as much as we do. This tour is awesome and fun but it's also really rough tour routing wise. Every day is a six-to-eight hour drive and we have to be at the venue at 4PM ... so we aren't sleeping much.
Mike: Being on tour with GWAR is like living the best nightmare you've ever had. Constant partying and aliens everywhere. It's a type of party we had yet to experience. Now that we are here, we don't know if we'll ever be the same again.
What's next for you?
Nick: After this tour is over we are going to take a break from touring and spend the winter months writing and recording our next album. We have a great idea for a vinyl release that definitely tops this one -- but it's too soon to tell if it will be our next release.
Want to get your hands on this unique release? Get all the details on American Sharks' self-titled debut full length at this location.