There aren’t many things in life that arrive complete.
We are always evolving, changing, moving and growing. We try new things – sometimes we fly, sometimes we fall.
For many, art is a journey. A story of expression that runs from inception and flows in and out. Each seed of emotion reaching through, changing and following its own path. For we are not one thing. We are many things – a complex and unique mix of everything that has come before. And art can reflect this as works pinpointed in time.
For artist and musician Jess Morgan, her most recent project has been an exploration and an accumulation of love, inspiration and determination.
A full time musician, Jess studied fine art with English literature at university and takes great pride in all the visuals that go with her music.
Now putting the finishing touches to her fourth album, Jess’s style is a mix of folk and Americana, and her music is full of love, heartache and honesty.
Since she started writing, Jess has always wanted to put her music onto vinyl.
“I couldn’t afford to release a 7” record but I had my heart set on it. I created a CD package but part of me wondered if it would still be possible,” says Jess. “I do a lot of stuff alongside my music including CD artwork and all the packaging. I also found a way to print with pizza trays and the cover of my last album was printed using cut outs of polystyrene,” she says. “People seem to feel it’s the right image for the album.”
With the dream of having her own 7” still very much at the forefront of her mind, Jess set about making it happen.
“I wanted my music to look interesting and focused on how I could develop that,” says Jess. “I have been doing it for a year now, moving things along gradually – it’s been a bit trial and error but I’ve really enjoyed the slow burn of it.”
To start with, Jess looked into using melted plastic, wood glue and resin.
“I had a go – it was very messy,” she says. “So that’s when I started the whole process of resin casting and mould casting. You need a certain viscosity so it takes the mould. This was new for me so I went through several types and experimented with colour but I couldn’t get it to mix in small quantities without affecting the play of the record and then the needle would get stuck.”
Overtime, Jess finally perfected her technique and after sending off for the dub plates for some of her songs, started to print her own vinyl records.
“I like the idea that this was an art project for me and not a music project. It’s a welcome change to stop focussing on what they sound like and how they would fit in,” she says. “I love stories and the records have their own story.”
For Takeaway Art, Jess has handmade a selection of single-sided, 7” records which will have one of two songs on them. They will also come with a link to a secret page on her website where you’ll find four tracks available to download.
“They come in a classic, plastic sleeve and are heavyweight which I think people will appreciate. There’s also an insert which I printed a design onto which is applicable for both songs,” she says.
“When you listen to them there are lots of pops and crackles and then the first song creeps in under the crackles. It’s a bit like the early days of the BBC.”
“They’ve taken such a long time to create and, throughout this process, I have been developing it, loving it and hating it. I made my first playable record last year and this is the first time they’ve gone on sale. It’s really nice to do it under an art banner. I’m not just a musician.”
She adds: “It’s a really interesting time for independent music. It’s a time when it can be more of an art than it has to be music.”