Good work is an advertising in itself

Pablo the Elephant

We were lucky to have this chat with one of the most famous Russian digital metal artists Pablo The Elephant...

Hi Pablo! Thanks for your time spent with Metal On Loud Magazine!
 
Hi!  I'm very pleased to take an interview with such a promising project as "Metal On Loud Magazine"! 
 
I know that your real name is Paul. Where did this artistic pseudonym come from?
 
This is an interesting question. I get asked quite often.  My grandma often called me "Pavlo". It sounded a bit unusual and also consonant with the name
of "father of cubism" the Pablo Picasso. This nickname has taken roots ever since  when I joined art school.   The "the Elephant" suffix appeared some time later. Though its origin I prefer not  to tell since I could be considered crazy, haha. I could tell that it has little to do with real elephants.
 
What are your music preferences? What metal bands do you listen to?
 
In times when I was a teenage finding a good music in USSR was quite hard. A lot of  stuff were imported via underground. You could find a tapes for tape deck with records of foreign performers.  My "metal fathers" became: Motley Crue, Iron Maiden, KISS, Accept, Ozzy, Lita Ford, Motorhead and
lots of others. Though I really loved more fast-paced and aggressive metal bands.  They were: Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Sepultura and Coroner.
Actually I appreciate most type of music, it just that metal is at my top preferences. Today I can listen to Napalm Death and tomorrow Depeche Mode or Yellow :) I have favorite bands in most genres: black metal, grindcore as well as classic heavy metal and rock.
 
Who are your clients? How do you find them, or how do they find you? 

My clients in general are russian metal bands. Must admit that I actually never looked for clients in this genre. Good work is an advertising in itself.
It just happened that once made a cover design for one group then some other groups saw it and they then wanted "something similar".  That's all how it is.
 
Tell us about your relationship with...Dissector! 

I have a long friendly relationship with Dissector band. Me and guys from Dissector are from Magadan. Fellow countrymen you could say. This makes our business relationship both close and friendly. In a distant 2004 when Yan actively worked on his "Petersburgs project" - The Lust I helped him with design part. Ever since then I'm doing almost all graphics for him. I'm really appreciate his interest in my work. Especially when there are plenty
of talented designers. We live in different cities now but sometimes Yan coming to visit me in St.Petersburg. This beign a good occasion for drinks, discussion of future projects and ofcource - some metal!
 
You made cover art for Dissector latest album, including two singles. What is your impression about Planetary Cancer?
 
Not only the cover art but also a full featured art for jewel case including 12 page booklet and a poster. :) As for singles I designed six of them. There are plans for seventh single (Your perfect smile) but we're still discussing it. I listen to all of Dissector albums. And they're all different from each other.
You definitely can tell that guys progressing with each new album they make. And Planetary Cancer is better yet. Looking at how much Yan puts efforts into making an awesome album and convey it to listeners makes me respect them and be proud for them. In my part I'm doing my best to do quality design for them.
 
Where does your inspiration come from? 

For the most part my inspiration comes from reading song lyrics and listening to music from the album I'm going to make a cover art for. If music and lyrics are "aggressive" then the art should be aggressive as well. If album is filled with melancholy then graphics also should display it.  The other part of inspiration I take from works of modern-day masters of design as well as from the past graphic masters. For example works of painters during the Renaissance era. 
 
What would you wish to the metalheads-art fans? 

I'm confident that cover illustration is not less important than the music itself Especially if you look at some notable mascots of some bands like Iron Maiden's Edward the Head or Megadeth's Vic Rattlehead or Jester Head of In Fames band.  You can only admire such illustrations! I'm glad that most appreciate not only the music but also cover art for it. Knowing that there are people who appreciates art makes my job more enjoyable!  To the metalheads-art fans - I'm giving you my respect! Thanks to all of you! Thanks to you I'm putting my heart and my soul into each illustration I make.
 
Your advice to bands looking for their artist for collaboration...  

Guys! If you're playing metal then look for headbanger designer. No other options. Since only such artists can truly understand your idea and the music behind it and offer you a worthy design for your album! And trust me, give artist you choose all the freedom and let him or her do the work as he or she sees it. Artist can clearly see how to make his/her work so art fans may appreciate it.
 
Metal On Loud Magazine team wishes you much success! METAL ON LOUD! \m/
 
Thanx for interview!

Tania Legrand