As part of my research into the promotion and branding for the hypothetical renunion tour for 1980's nu wave band, Orange Juice, I have decided to research a couple of contemporary bands which have taken direct influence from the band, their music and overall design/brand.
One particular band is fellow Scots, Franz Ferdinand, whose brand and promotional design combines bold monochromatic images with playful modern type, reminiscent of early European Constructivist/Bauhaus Graphic Design, paying particular homage to Rodchenko with their first album cover (see image at the bottom of the page). I really love the combination of the black, cream and electric orange for quite a retro, playful aesthetic, that would, of course, work perfectly in visually communicating the 'Orange Juice' brand, and something that I will certainly consider and return to when working on my design developments (which will be found, at a later date, on my Design Practice blog).
Written below is a brief history and bio into Franz Ferdinand to demonstrate their influence on the music industry, and how they may inspire a contemporary design of a retro era, all information sourced from the independent Wikipedia page.
FRANZ FERDINAND BIO
Franz Ferdinand is a Scottish band formed in Glasgow in 2002. The band is composed of Alex Kapranos (lead vocals and guitar), Bob Hardy (bass guitar), Nick McCarthy (rhythm guitar, keyboards and backing vocals), and Paul Thomson (drums, percussion and backing vocals).
The band first experienced chart success when their second single, "Take Me Out", reached No. 3 in the UK Charts, followed by their debut album, Franz Ferdinand, which debuted on the UK album chart at No. 3. The band went on to win the 2004 Mercury Music Prize, and two BRIT Awards in 2005 for Best British Group and Best British Rock Act. NME named Franz Ferdinand as their Album of the Year. From the album, three top-ten singles were released: "Take Me Out", "The Dark of the Matinée", and "This Fire".
The band's second album, You Could Have It So Much Better (2005), was a platinum-selling album in the United Kingdom and gold-selling in the United States. The album topped the UK Album Charts, and made the top ten in the Billboard 200 in the US. The album produced the hit single "Do You Want To", amongst many other singles. After the release of You Could Have It So Much Better, the band took some time recording their third album, Tonight: Franz Ferdinand, which was released internationally on 26 January 2009, and made the top ten in the United Kingdom and the United States. "Ulysses" was released as the lead single, although "No You Girls" proved to be popular, being their second longest-charting single in the UK, after "Do You Want To" (2005).
The band has been nominated for several Grammy Awards, becoming one of the few Scottish bands or artists to do so. They have been nominated for several BRIT Awards in the UK, and have won an NME Award. With their three studio albums, the band sold over 3 million albums worldwide in 2009.
Formation and early years (2002–2003)
The members of Franz Ferdinand played in various bands during the 1990s, including The Karelia, Yummy Fur, 10p Invaders, and Embryo. Alex Kapranos and Paul Thomson met at a party and began a close friendship and played together in Yummy Fur, and subsequently teamed up to write songs. Around the same time, Kapranos taught his friend, Bob Hardy, how to play bass after being given a bass guitar by Mick Cooke of Belle & Sebastian. Kapranos met co-guitarist Nick McCarthy, who had returned to Scotland after studying jazz bass in Germany, in 2001. Franz Ferdinand's longtime sound engineer is Michael Parker.
In May 2003 the band signed to Laurence Bell's independent record label, Domino Records. The band had recorded an EP which they intended to release themselves; it was released by Domino as Darts of Pleasure in the latter part of 2003. The cover art was designed by Kapranos. It reached No. 43 in the UK chart. The band won the "Phillip Hall Radar Award" at the NME Awards of 2004, announced in November 2003.
COLLABORATIONS AND COVERS
Franz Ferdinand covered the LCD Soundsystem song "All My Friends" which appeared as a B-side on the single, and is also working on an album of Sparks covers, collaborating with the group on the recordings. They have also covered "Sexy Boy" by Air and "It Won't Be Long" by The Beatles, Pulp's popular single "Mis-Shapes", Gwen Stefani's top 5 hit "What You Waiting For?", and Blondie's "Call Me". Recently covered the Britney Spears song "Womanizer" and David Bowie's song "Sound and Vision", featuring Girls Aloud on backing vocals, for a compilation disc marking the 40th anniversary of BBC Radio One along with other leading artists. Additionally, Franz Ferdinand recorded a cover of The Fire Engines' song "Get Up and Use Me". In return, the Fire Engines recorded a cover of "Jacqueline". The band also took a similar approach with Dutch band De Kift, covering the song "Heisa-Ho" whilst De Kift recorded a cover of "Love And Destroy" with Dutch lyrics. The cover by De Kift is named "Liefde En Puin" which is the title "Love And Destroy" translated into Dutch. The band has had remixes by electronic artists Daft Punk, Hot Chip, Justice, The Avalanches, Microfilm, and Erol Alkan.
Kapranos announced that on 22 April 2008 he would begin collaborating with an unknown Canadian artist, as well as implying that the band was working with Xenomania on the new album, as Alex is a fan of their work with Girls Aloud. The band also performed, played, and recorded with Jane Birkin, covering the Serge Gainsbourg song "Sorry Angel" for the 2005 album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited. In addition, Franz re-recorded the track "Brown Onions" for David Shrigley's compilation album Worried Noodles. The band kept instrumentation identical but used lyrics written by Shrigley which include the consistent repetition of the word "No" and occasionally "No brains, no teeth, no legs, no eyes...". Hot Chip, a band who are reported to be a favourite of Franz Ferdinand, also performed their own version of "No" on the same album.
The band 'met' Gorillaz in December 2005, and interviewed each other for a feature in Observer Music Monthly.
On 11 October 2008 at Diesel's Rock and Roll Circus, the band performed with rapper T.I. on his hit "Live Your Life".
At the 2009 NME Awards ceremony they performed a cover of Blondie's "Call Me" with Elly Jackson of La Roux on guest vocals.
When Franz appeared on Radio 1's Live Lounge on 6 April 2009 to promote No You Girls they covered Womanizer by Britney Spears. For their version they added in the interlude from 2004 B-Side "Shopping For Blood".
They have also collaborated with Marion Cotillard for the 2010 Lady Dior campaign. The band wrote the lyrics and plays the music for the song "The Eyes of Mars", while the actress is on vocals. Kapranos noted that it was refreshing working with her as she had a lot of fun going and retrying the song time and time again.
In 2010, Franz Ferdinand contributed to the "Alice in Wonderland" soundtrack with their adaption of the song "The Lobster Quadrille". Later that year, Kapranos and McCarthy collaborated on the song "Do It Again" with Edwyn Collins on his album Losing Sleep.
The band is notable for its use of Russian avant-garde imagery in album and single covers. Examples include: "You Could Have It So Much Better", which references a 1924 portrait of Lilya Brik by Alexander Rodchenko; "Take Me Out", which references One-Sixth Part of the World, also by Alexander Rodchenko; "This Fire" which references Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge by El Lissitzky; and "Michael", with single art based on A Proun by Lissitzky. The song "Love and Destroy" was inspired by the scene of disorder made by Margarita, a character of Michael Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita", in the apartment of the literature critic Latunzky.
Also, in "Outsiders", the lyrics "In seventeen years will you still be Camille, Lee Miller, Gala or whatever" are a reference to the lovers of the artists Auguste Rodin, Man Rayand Salvador Dalí.
Many of the videos to promote the band's singles take inspiration from Russian avant-garde much like their LP and CD sleeves.
The avant-garde music video for "Take Me Out", directed by Jonas Odell, was inspired by Dadaism (especially Max Ernst's Une Semaine de Bonté), Busby Berkeley choreographies and Russian constructivist design. Alex Kapranos explained the many and varied influences behind the 1930s-style promo for second single "Take Me Out": "It's kind of two dimensional in a three dimensional style if that makes any sense. It's a montage of images; ourselves, pictures and things taken from other places and put together in a strange, abstract way. That's what gives the video that strange, jerky, style". The video for "This Fire" is similar to "Take Me Out" in style.
The lyrics of "Do You Want To" make reference to parties at the "trendy" Glasgow art gallery Transmission and the video includes a variety of the work of contemporary artist Vanessa Beecroft, along with a reference to Pink Floyd in the mix.