On-the-rise Youtube channel, FreqsTV, has produced many interesting mini-documentaries about prominent bands like At The Gates, Amorphis, and Corrosion Of Conformity. Last week, they premiered a new short film about the making of the book “…And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers.”. The short film narrated by the book’s author, Ramon Oscuro Martos. He discusses some details about the making of the book and gives his opinions about the current situation and future importance of album covers.
Besides being able to watch the video below, you can also read a mini interview with director/producer, Randy Salo. He comments about what motivated him to make a short film about the book and a topic as fascinating as the art of Metal.
Do you remember your initial reaction when you found out about the book “And Justice For Art”? What compelled you to make a mini-documentary about it?
As a longtime metal head and collector of metal books, I was delighted to see that someone had finally taken the time to do a book on metal cover art. Not only that, it was clearly being done by a professional and great care was being taken on how the book was going to be presented. I was at first excited to see that the project was totally DIY and had been successfully crowdfunded. I wasn’t the only one wanting to see such a book brought into existence.
Around the same time, I had launched FreqsTV, the web’s first all rock and metal channel dedicated to producing original documentary series and one-off shows. One of the series we produce is focused on DIY music pioneers and I thought there might be a place for Ramon Martos. Not knowing where he was located I sent him an email to see what he thought about being the subject of a documentary, one which could focus on the story behind the book.
Ramon is based in Florida and you’re in Germany. How did you make it work despite being so far from each other?
Ramon and I quickly discovered that we were on different continents and the chances of doing any in-person filming was going to be impossible. So since this would mean the format wouldn’t fit the DIY series we do, I thought: ‘Why don’t we have Ramon narrate the story of the book while featuring some images of the book itself. Part promo, part documentary.’ We discussed several ideas and the rest is history. Ramon recorded the narration on his end, I got my copy of the book in the mail just in the right time and started to photograph sections as he sent me scans of others. Then I pieced video together of my own record/cd collection to help tell Ramon’s story.
Was the creative process affected in any way (negatively or positively) after experiencing the book first-hand?
Inspiration really hit when my copy of the book arrived here in Germany. The high quality images, the thick paper and the totally behind-the-scenes stories about a lot of my favourite album artworks was in there. On top of that, the book has a lot of black color but amazingly doesn’t get greasy from holding it (like so many metal CD covers…I hate that!). Ramon’s writing is top notch. I went to art school in NYC to study film-making and had to take a fair share of art history and criticism classes. It would have been so awesome if there was a course on heavy metal art covers! I devoured half the book after first opening the parcel, reading up on my favorites. The rest I have decided to take on like a homework assignment. Study the artwork, get the album and experience new albums in a new way.
What are your expectations for this mini-doc? Do you think it will help somehow to create new awareness towards the book?
One of my aims with FreqsTV is to help support other DIY music artists by sharing their stories with the world. My hope is that the video we made can help further the reach of “…And Justice For Art” and bring Ramon’s exhaustive work into the limelight, and hopefully will help him sell a few extra copies as a result. But honestly, this book is definitely for those Metal heads who want to see the legacy of cover art preserved. Someone has finally taken the torch to give credit where credit is due. Heavy Metal cover art is vital to the experience that all Metal heads share.
“And Justice For Art: Stories About Heavy Metal Album Covers” is available in limited edition via BigCartel