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Dvsn is a duo focused on craft, mystery, and world-building. Leading up to the release of their sophomore album Morning After this Friday (October 13), they used a movie poster to tease the record. The fine print alluded to a potential screenplay and put an emphasis on the visual aspects of the album. Intrigued, we reached out to creative director Bryan Brock to learn more about the visual aspects of the album.
Bryan Brock is responsible for all of dvsn's branding and visuals and explains that he tapped into the duo's creative energy to bring the Morning After album visuals to life through photography and design. Using Brock as a jumping off point, we spoke with dvsn and learned the biggest inspiration behind the visuals: foreign films.
“To be specific, Asian, European, and Latin film all had three key things that stood out to us, that made them feel different from North American movies and TV: subtitles, color, and location,” they explain.
"In North America, we're exposed to so many big-budget film and TV productions that we can really appreciate the raw aspect of so many films from around the world," they say.
Explaining that they knew the art direction before the album was completed, dvsn was able to tailor the music to complement the visuals. The raw locations and moody colors they found in foreign films helped set the tone. The duo promise that the world of Morning After will be bolder than their previous effort, while maintaining the “element of danger” that draws fans to their music.
Read our full interview with dvsn below, where we discuss the importance of visuals and the cinematic world they’ve built around Morning After. You can also see a couple sneak peeks of the imagery included in the album booklet above and below.
What can you tell us about the "screenplay" aspect of the album? Does it exist in full?
The screenplay aspect of the album came from us wanting to introduce a world that would exist to people beyond just the music. Much like how the artwork in our first album is a real place that people can go to.
Will the screenplay come alongside the album to be read, or will there be an accompanying movie?
The title track, “Morning After” is the song where the video takes us further into this world we've slowly been revealing through the album’s visuals.
This album roll-out has been great, visually. How did you guys decide to use visuals to build a world around the album?
The idea behind most of the visuals on this album came from watching foreign films. In North America, we're exposed to so many big-budget film and TV productions that we can really appreciate the raw aspect of so many films from around the world. To be specific, Asian, European, and Latin film all had three key things that stood out to us, that made them feel different from North American movies and TV: subtitles, color, and location.
Subtitles: In shows like Narcos, the subtitles become a major part of the character of the show, pulling you even deeper into the dialogue.
Color: This is one of the quickest ways to visually set a mood and of some of the most memorable details someone will remember when watching something.
Location: For us, the location aspect of foreign films is so important because that's what makes them so raw. There's nothing "Hollywood" about going into a real neighborhood and shooting exactly what you see. No props, no set, just on-location, documentary style.
Why do you guys think visuals are important to dvsn's artistic statement?
Visuals are important to us because we know music opens the door to the unknown. Your mind automatically starts to fill in the blanks and create what you would want to see while listening to our music.
Do you consider yourselves "visuals first" artists?
We knew the art direction before this album was completed, and that allowed the music to complement the visuals.
Where do you see the role of visuals going in the future?
I think we'll be able to start pushing our boundaries as we keep growing. We love being able to pull you deeper into our world and show you what we see.
Would you describe Morning After as a visual album?
Not in the traditional sense, but it will definitely feel like you've just watched a movie with your ears.
What do you hope to accomplish by framing the album roll-out as a feature film roll-out, with the poster and the trailer?
We're hoping that this represents a place and time for you. So you can look back on this and remember the feeling you got when you saw the movie poster, the trailers, that feeling of anticipation, something to look forward to.
Using the poster and trailer as a base, what can fans pick out from those visuals and look forward to finding on the album?
On our last album, Sept. 5th, we gave you a tiny glimpse into our world, but that was much darker. It was literally a door that looked like: "enter at your own risk." This time around, our world has gotten a little bigger, brighter, but the element of dangerous still exists.