Art is Hard
One of the most beautiful aspects of the music industry is people who do it not motivated by fame, fortune or any other ulterior motive other than a passion to support and give voice to artists that might not otherwise receive it. There is no better example of this than Art is Hard, which operates out of Devon, England and is run by two best friends who very much rock the DIY ethos. They tell us they have also recently moved in together, although no plans are currently in place for the sitcom.
In three years of existence Art is Hard has put out debut releases for the likes of SPLASHH, Joanna Gruesome, The Black Tambourines and Best Friends and have been responsible for a number of great releases in 2013. But they are a lot more than a vehicle for emerging talent, the aforementioned passion and thought is etched into everything that they do.
At a House Down The Road we celebrate the subjective feel of music, how it grabs your attention, reflects and often affects your emotions, how it can take you from a euphoric high to a crushing low. It soundtracks our lives and makes us better for it. The actual medium through which the music reaches us varies and yet a tangible accompaniment to the soundwaves that beat through our brains helps cement a special and lasting feeling.
For me, the moment music became special was receiving a copy of a cassette from a friend and playing it to death over a two week period. I remember attempting to draw the album artwork on a piece of paper and inserting it in the blank case. It was rubbish of course, but reflected that it was something I wanted to not only know intimately, but to possess. I bought it, and other albums with money earned from my paper round and I would devour the artwork, memorising the lyrics whilst searching to find meaning to my rather mundane 16 year old life. The digitalisation of the music industry affected those ties to a single piece, but the proliferation of talent and life at the tips of our fingers is an irresistible one. It introduces people to new worlds. And yet the desire to record and capture our lives through the palpable – a musical photo album of memories – still exists.
Which brings us back to Art Is Hard. Wanting people to, and realising that people still do, care about collecting and treasuring music, Art is Hard launched a singles club in 2012. Originally named the Pizza Club, in 2013 it returned as the Postcard Club. Each release cost just £1 (including a free portrait of the Queen in the form of postage) and the MP3 code was attached to a unique postcard designed by or for the band. It also happened to unearth many a musical gem.
Such attention to detail and care can be seen in all their releases, in the form of a Football scarf to accompany the new Warm Brains EP, Happy Accidents, a 16 page zine to complement the Deadbear EP, Wabi Sabi through to their awesome Cassette Day release, Bleed in Gold. Art is Hard make special music, well, more special. There is an almost childish enthusiasm that resonates throughout everything they touch and people’s lives are richer for it.
Here are some of their best releases in 2013.
We asked Art is Hard for their best album of 2013 and one to watch in 2014. Here is what they said:
In particular the Joanna Gruesome debut is a favourite. To see them develop over the last two years up to this point where they’ve put out their debut, had widespread critical acclaim and they got to go and play in New York – is just a really nice thing to witness.
Being from the South West, we’ve always tried to maintain a focus on what’s happening locally and Falmouth in Cornwall seems to have a really strong community of bands. The newest of these is Pastel Colours, a psych 5 piece, who have just put out their first song and I’m really intrigued to see what comes next.