Two years ago, Before Perils released a sprawling 11-track concept album called “Escape to Reality.”
It came with a set of corresponding artwork — a visual story to parallel the sonic one.
The band found 10 artists to interpret the songs.
“It was the artists who brought our story to life,” says the band’s guitarist Jon Napoles.
The album’s original artwork is finally being put on display at Tower District Records during September’s ArtHop, when the band plays a rare, all-ages show. I emailed Napoles to find out more about the show (and what’s up with the band these days).
Let’s start with the show. It is the first the band has played in while. Is this a preview of more to come?
To answer your question, and one we get a lot … Yes, we still are still together. We took a break about two years ago when Benny [Napoles], our guitarist, had a daughter. It was during that down time that I formed Cloudship with Brandon Freeman. Between Cloudship’s constant touring and everybody’s work/teaching schedule, it’s hard to find time where all our schedules align. But there’s no doubt that we want to continue to write with Before Perils. Even though we may not be gigging much nowadays, there has been talk about another full length in the near future.
The idea for this kind of show seems fitting. The art was inspired by (and created for) your last album. What made you want to collect the pieces and exhibit them in this way?
When all the artist were done with their art, I collected the pieces to digitize them for the album and so we could have them displayed on a projector at our CD release at Tower Theatre. But we wanted to do something more intimate with the original pieces, as well as with a live performance to accompany the art. It was originally intended to happen closer to the release of our album, but again, time, place and scheduling had prevented it from happening ’till now.
The art is full of dragons and castles and stuff. Tell us about the concert for the album and how the artwork came about.
In this particular case the music came first. When we had enough music to fill an album we discussed how we wanted to release it. We are an instrumental band. We didn’t want to release an album with just a CD and linear notes. Since we all love art we came up with the idea to have a piece created for each song. It was kind of like a puzzle. We had the songs and titles, but no order for them. So we sat down one night and brainstormed a concept for the album using the titles and the different moods the songs have to create a underlying story. Once that was done we chose 10 different artists between all of us, whether it was friends, family, or even band members (Benny created two pieces), sent them the concept, let them choose what song/scene they wanted and gave them as much freedom as they wanted to do their thing.
As far as the concept, what I can tell you is that the story is about a girl who escapes a castle and experiences her world for the first time. It’s only until the end we find out the reason she was being held captive in the castle in the first place.
Do you have a favorite piece in the show?
That’s a tough one. I think we might all have a personal favorite. Because they are all so unique and different from each other it makes it hard to have just ONE. There’s everything from charcoal to sharpie to acrylic on canvas.
The artwork will be up for display at the whole month of September, so if you can’t make the show be sure to stop by and check out the artwork for yourself to see which one is your favorite. While you’re there you can pick up a copy of the album.
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