I want to write about the album cover and answer some questions, who, how, why?
The album cover and artwork of Solipsistic was designed by my good friend Saad Fanari. Saad is an amazing artist, I met Saad at a record store back when I was in Aleppo – Syria, and the first thing I learned about him is that he’s a huge Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd fan, he’s very friendly, funny guy, fun to be with and he’s very passionate about art. I have shared the most exciting trip of my life (so far) with Saad, when we took the bus to Istanbul back in 2002 to see Dream Theater perform live for the first time during their World Tourbulence tour.
When I moved away from Syria, I’ve been disconnected from a lot of my friends, but thanks to Facebook I’m back in touch with them again. Last year Saad launched a website showing most of his work, my first impression when I visited his site was a mix of shock, excitement, nostalgia and goosebumps! I never knew he had such hidden talent. At the time I was in the middle of composing and recording the album, so I immediately asked if he’d like to create the album cover for my project, of course he was thrilled to help.
I had a couple of ideas in my mind for the cover, but before I revealed my ideas I asked Saad to create something related to solipsism as it was going to be the main theme. He came back with a few designs that I really liked a lot, but they were missing something, the “album cover” element.
So we went back and forth working on different versions and new ideas until I spilled the beans and sent him some sketches I made of the ideas I had in mind. One of them showed an embryo in the mother’s womb, inspired by the classic Stanley Kubrick movie A Space Odyssey: 2001.the fetus doesn’t have an umbilical cord on the blue planet and the universe in the background, all inside a human brain. Unfortunately Saad couldn’t recreate this idea since he had already created a similar cover for another book that was going to be released soon.
So we had to move to my second idea which showed a person walking down the street. From this person’s point of view everything looked normal, the buildings the trees the people on the street, but from the viewer’s side you’d see that all the buildings are nothing but facades, the people have winding keys on their backs as if they were some kind of automatons, crew working in the far background taking down some buildings and erecting new ones, in short everything else is fake.
So Saad agreed to build on this idea and he did some modifications and added a lot of new elements and tiny details with hidden nuggets (easter eggs) which is something I love about releases and covers.
Maybe I should make another post in the future, illustrating the creation process of the final cover design, as it took us a few weeks to bring it to its final state.