Cold War Kids bassist Matt Maust took some time off from supporting Mine Is Yours, their latest set, to create the OC Weekly cover you hold in your hands. Maust, who studied graphic design in college, worked for a few clothing lines before the band hit it big. Music came first, he says, but bands such as the Clash and Joy Division influenced him visually just as much they did musically. The idea is to try make sure his visual work complements the music he makes, he says. "Playing with Cold War Kids really is my passion, and any visual art that comes, really, is a direct inspiration from the band lifestyle and our crew," he said in an interview with cultural-events website Flavorpill.
OC Weekly: How did you come up with this cover? Why'd you pick this photo, and who's in it?
Matt Maust: I don't even know who it is [in the photo]. Coachella's that way; you can go and see a million people who all look the same but very different. It was taken by a friend of mine, Joseph Llanes.
I think the photo was very cute; I kind of wish my parents had taken me to festivals when I was a kid, but they didn't 'cause they weren't very into music very much.
I knew right off the bat this image was most striking [among the ones I was choosing from]. I thought it looked a picture I would've used in the artwork of our second album, Loyalty to Loyalty. It's real grainy, black-and-white, and stark.
I also used the same kind of type for our new record, Mine Is Yours. I wanted to make it look very Cold War Kids since we're playing, and I wanted to make it playful and scribbly and do something with kids. I think kids are the best; they're very honest, and they don't have as many boundaries as adults do.
How many times have you played Coachella?
This is the second time. We played in 2008 when our second record came out. It's always an honor to be asked to play; we'd played a lot of festivals before then, but it's special to be playing a festival in your hometown. It definitely stands out as one of the better festivals in the U.S., and a lot of it is location. I don't like festivals where there's mud everywhere. California's beautiful, and playing your home turf is special.
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Is there anyone you're excited to watch at the fest?
I can't wait to watch PJ Harvey and Kanye West . . . Arcade Fire, definitely; the National; and Sleigh Bells. I love PJ Harvey's new record, so I'm most excited about that.
This article appeared in print as "Cold War Kids Go to Coachella: Matt Maust's cover story."