By now all of you must know or at least have heard of Secret 7", but let's refresh our memory anyway: the project involves of taking 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and pressing each one 100 times to 7" vinyl, then creatives from around the world are invited to interpret the tracks in their own style for every 7", resulting in 700 unique record sleeves.
The sleeves are then exhibited and sold for a fixed price of £50, you don't know who created the sleeve, or even which song it's for until it's yours; best part: everything goes to charity, this year Nordoff Robbins is the designated one.
Founded and organised by [goodness], aka Kevin King and Jordan Stokes, the project boasts the participation of a number of great artists as Ai Weiwei, Paul Smith, Stanley Donwood, Jeremy Deller and many more.
Key Production and Think Tank Media are thrilled to have supplied the vinyl records and the invite packs for this brilliant project!
Read below the interview with Kevin King, who gave us some insight on the event, how it changed from its conception in 2012 and curiosities around it.
Did you conceptualise the project the way we see it now or did it evolve in the process of making it?
Not really, when we began we didn't really know what it would look like, being quite naïve about everything helped to actually make it happen, because I didn't know in terms of work and effort what goes into it and what it would be like in the scale of things, I don't think we would have ever done it.
I can't even tell you now what it will look like next year either. Every year we finish it, we think about how to improve it, we have conversations with people and it changes.
What's new this year then?
The venue. The new venue is Somerset House, the exhibition is up for a month, we have a turntable, so you can listen to the tracks, we made some prints with a company named Monotype, we have a donations box (see video below), we have more events going on, talks, we're cutting live to vinyl during the weekend. There are a lot of new things this year, the core concept is the same, but we added things around it.
You have and have had a great pool of artists both for music and art involved in the project, was it difficult to get to them, at least at the beginning?
In the first year we were very focused on actually how do we make the sleeves, how do we do all of this, even in the first year we managed to have David Shringley to do a sleeve. I think we've always been quite good on how we communicate it, having worked in a record label I think I know quite well how to speak to creative people, you often have to make it simple and as clear as possible. The combination of making a physical invite pack helps, so we send them a pack with a white sleeve and with some clear information on what to do, we're quite good at making it as simple as possible, and you need to be because people's attention is very short.
Do designers come to you or do you contact them?
It's a mixture. The really big names we go to and invite, but the real nice thing about the project is that when people see that for example Pete Fowler is doing a sleeve, they want to do it too, we have quite a lot of people come to us which is really nice as well.
Did you expect for the show to get this big? Have you thought about exporting it in other cities and countries?
We never thought that it would be this big. We thought about getting it to other places, but it's a very manual project, there're lot of things that take a lot of time and there's no way around it, so we're just cautious of doing it in another place because we're very aware of how much work it would be. I'm not saying we won't do it, just that we're kind of taking small steps.
What's the quirkiest sleeve you received so far?
There's one where they have the record suspended in concrete, which is quite interesting. One with a little toy, that's one of the great things about the project, that people like pushing what a record sleeve is and can be to make one of a kind. People are moving away to do digital design now, they have their white sleeve and they do some LEGO, it's quite fun.
Is there a designer or musician in particular you would love to make music with or a cover for the project?
I would really like to have Martin Creed, but I have list of people I'd like to work with. I try to contact them every year, but with contacting people there's not just one route in, you have to explore as many routes in as possible, but if you find the right person it can make it quite easy sometimes.
The exhibition takes place from 10th of April to the 3rd of May at the Somerset House, the sleeves will be on sale on May 4th, for more info visit secret 7" website.