Rock: Wearing their art on their sleeve ...and on the wall

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Tomorrow night at Brixton Academy Death In Vegas will prepare the crowds for The Chemical Brothers. Blending musical instruments, record decks and digit buttons, their live dance set has been packing it in since the release of their debut album, Dead Elvis. The secret is their constant stream of super-8 projections, large neon signs and cinematic soundscapes which add visual spice to the tweaking of mixers and changing of records.

Earlier this week Richard Fearless, who is one half of the group, bent over a sheet of blown-up photographs as graphic designer Will Beaven balanced on a ladder. As FearlessBeaven, Will and Richard are responsible for the visuals on Death In Vegas sleeve designs and stage shows. Today they are putting an installation in the Dazed and Confused Gallery.

Richard said: "The Elvis stencil was an original that I had done on my garden wall. Rather than have copies of the sleeve art work or original prints from the sleeve designs, we carried it to another stage because it is in a gallery."

Will Beaven interrupts: "From the Twist And Crawl record cover there were photographs of twisted cardboard. We scanned and manipulated them on computer. Unlike the record sleeves, there is only one of them so we wanted the process to be clearer by printing them on a coarser screen."

These would appeal to an Elvis karaoke evening, steel metal from skips and stencil-like graffiti on walls, blend trash and pop culture.

"The Elvis idea is just something to play upon. There is a lot of thought about it but we don't push it too far," says Richard. "The whole work is kind of like the Warhol factory, very mass production and with repeated images. This is a real turning point and we are not sure where to take the idea now."

The transfer of creative ideas between Death In Vegas' music and FearlessBeaven's art fits with the interdisciplinary and image conscious Nineties. "We are in a fortunate position with being in a band, doing production, DJ- ing and remixes for others. I couldn't hand it over as it is all one thing. We work with a core of people and this takes things to enough places," says Richard.

FearlessBeaven are fortunate to have many creative outlets and also artistic control. "The thing that is really good is that if you cast back 20 years, marketing was a new thing and no one really knew what they were doing, so big bands didn't have much say. Over the years everyone has become very aware of graphic design," says Will.

"The record company have begun to play on this and push it," Richard continues. "They have given us our own space and with the music and art work we are left to do what we want. We've turned down a lot of work, but it is nice that we have never had to push or sell ourselves and there is not a greed there on our parts.

"With Death In Vegas it has been a gradual thing, we have not gone for the one-hit wonder but we have done a lot of gigs to build up a steady following.

"With the art, Will does his own stuff, and this is just us. It is not a hobby, but it's just about Will and me."

FearlessBeaven Graphic Art Installation at Dazed And Confused Gallery, 112-116 Old Street, EC1. Open Monday to Friday, 11am - 6pm; Death In Vegas are supporting The Chemical Brothers on Saturday at Brixton Academy, Stockwell Road, London SW9. Box-office: 0171-924 9999.

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