The making of Young Fathers’ visceral album art

The Scottish band’s new album, Heavy Heavy, comes with supercharged imagery that’s all about letting go. We speak to the band members and collaborator Tom Hingston about how they created the visuals for the record

Young Fathers have always skirted around genre boundaries. Often pitched somewhere between rock and hip-hop but proudly conforming to the pillars of neither, their music exists in a murky space where conclusions are challenged rather than drawn. The same goes for the visual world they’ve gradually cultivated around it, and their confidence in this regard appears to have only grown. See the cover art for their 2018 album Cocoa Sugar, which featured a portrait shot by Julia Noni bearing the punk nonchalance of Grace Jones while firmly nodding (to some designers’ annoyance) to Waldemar Swierzy’s Polish movie poster for Midnight Cowboy.

“As much time and effort we put into the sound, how things are wrapped will reign supreme,” says band member Graham ‘G’ Hastings of the importance of complementing their music with arresting visuals. “We don’t separate their importance because we don’t believe it’s possible to digest anything any other way.”

Front and back cover of Heavy Heavy by Young Fathers. All designs by Hingston Studio, images courtesy Ninja Tune/Hingston Studio
Posters created for Heavy Heavy