Gavin Kennedy is a metal musician on the rise, and he is taking a unique approach in making his mark by largely ignoring the tropes and cliches generally associated with the genre.
While his sound is undisputedly metal, the rest of his offerings -- from a clean-cut, v-neck and sport coat look to a brightly colored album packaging -- show that he is ready to things differently. His 11-song project, Sunchaser, releases on Feb. 9 and was co-produced by British rock legend Adam "Nolly" Getgood, leading credence to his talent, and features the imagery of Dan Mumford, who is well known for his work on Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi as well as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Kennedy said that the two worked from concept to completion on the beautifully crafted cover.
"From the moment we began working with Dan, he had an amazingly intuitive direction of visualizing the album that resonated very well with me," Kennedy said. "Dan did an amazing job of depicting specific themes in his piece and really captured the essence of adventure and individuality that the album strives to embody. As soon as I saw the first sketch, I knew Dan had hit the bullseye when I didn't even see the target."
Mumford said that the progression (seen below) from start to finish was pretty simple and that working with Kennedy gave him a refreshed feeling as doing album covers had not been his normal medium since a career shift into mainstream movies.
"When it came to creating artwork for Gavin and his new album Sunchaser it was quite an easy free flowing process," he said. "We discussed taking a fresh approach to things and trying steer away from the more traditional imagery you might associate with this genre of music, so this gave me quite an open canvas to work with.
"I actually used to create many album covers before moving more into film-based illustration, so when coming back to something like this it is very natural for me, but at the same time I try and bring that element of story telling to it that I always do with my artwork. I looked for elements within the music and the concepts behind them that I could then incorporate into the aesthetic for the artwork. Overall I think we achieved something that I hope represents Gavin and music in an exciting way."
The third-generation musician has already seen the up-tick in acceptance of his sound. The Tennessee Titans used tracks from the album during defensive plays during the recently completed season and the Nashville Predators are also in discussion to use his riffs.
Kennedy hopes that metal fans take to his music and appreciates where it comes from.
"Sunchaser is an album of progressive music that focuses on celebrating the entire spectrum of human emotion and delivering energy without negativity," he said. "The music is entirely instrumental, and for me, it was a journey of self-discovery and creative exploration. I wanted the project to be as honest as possible with my creative self and offer new sounds to anyone who may be looking for something they've never heard before."