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Behind the Cover: Capstan — The Mosaic

The Floridian band's kaleidoscopic experience is more than just musical, but visual, too, completing one comprehensive accomplishment worth revisiting time and time again.

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Artwork by Ylenia Roma

Words by Luis (@HeaviestOfArt):


The beauty of the artistic process is at times lost with the fast-moving, hyper commercialized nature of social media — a necessity for anyone in the music, art, or entertainment industry. Months, weeks, and hours of work, not to mention years of training, go unnoticed or overlooked completely as another "content" element in the endless swarm of material being fed through the algorithm. However, the goal here is not to dwell on the uphill battle of being an artist, but instead shift the attention towards a celebratory body of work that is every bit intentional about every emotional layer invested within it — Capstan's The Mosaic.


Released on May 24th via Fearless Records, The Mosaic stands tall as a communal epic building upon the interpersonal and individual growth transpiring within the band since their inception. Musically, it's moving and theatrical with a maelstrom of sound washing over listeners through moments of joyous aggression, vulnerability, and heart. There's plenty to feel and even more to uncover, so it's only right that it's visual representation reflect that same expansive scope.


Fitting to the album title, Capstan enlisted the mosaic art of Ylenia Roma for a hand-crafted piece varied in its texture, color palette, and symbolism. Though a central protagonist is immediately apparent, the devil is in the details with a wide range of materials and a painted foundation coalescing to form one multi-faceted artwork, much like the album it portrays. It's arguably among the most distinct covers we've seen this year (so far), and we'd be remiss not to dive in deeper.


Read through a Q&A with Capstan themselves and the talented Ylenia Roma for insight on how The Mosaic came to be, the partnership between the two parties, and more:

 

The road to “The Mosaic” is now complete and with it serving as a culmination of your own personal growth as individuals and the communal support you’ve built as a team, there’s surely an emotional release that you get with seeing the new music in circulation. With each album cycle being representative of a band’s state of mind at the time, where does “The Mosaic” find you?


Capstan: "The Mosaic" was written, recorded, and was recently released all during a time of significant change and growth for every member of Capstan personally, as well as for the band itself. I speak for every member of Capstan when I say that we are very excited for what the future holds, and this album is, without a doubt, our collective favorite.



As you see how audiences have engaged with the new material, would you say that the creative cycle for “The Mosaic” is serving as an act of reflection of sorts? “Separate” (2021) was a high mark, but “The Mosaic” truly is Capstan in a state of boundless creativity set on meeting your own ambitions rather than any external expectations.


Capstan: It was so fun to see the reactions to the new singles from the album and keep everyone guessing. There has been some very positive reception and I think a lot of people are really digging the vast differences in genres from song to song.



That said, where did you look to take this new album from a compositional standpoint?


Capstan: When we started the very lengthy writing process of "The Mosaic", we had no intention of making an 18 track record, and we also weren’t necessarily thinking of pushing the edges of the genres on said record so far apart. There was a lot of inspiration from different avenues that led to songs we were really excited about and loved, they just happened to range in genre from folky bluegrass to deathcore to synthy pop. It happened so naturally that we just had to roll with it.


The compositional breadth is an obvious strong point, as is the cover. Visually, you’ve enlisted Ylenia Roma for an absolutely wondrous mosaic that adorns the album cover, which is of course apt for the album title. What did you aim to achieve upon approaching Ylenia for the project?


Capstan: We are so thankful to have discovered Ylenia’s art and to have worked with her on this! The mosaic that she created for the cover is symbolic in multiple ways, and many elements that make up the piece relate directly to the lyrics as well.


Turning over to you, Ylenia, what did you aim to achieve through your perspective?


Ylenia: First of all, I would like to start by thanking the Capstans and the staff who saw this collaboration born. I'm really happy to be part of this project, it was a real surprise.


The first to contact me representing the group was Scott (Fisher, drums), struck by my work "OBLIO" — a piece full of meaning where I used fragments of pharmaceutical bottles. The beginning of this rewarding collaboration starts from here. I discovered that the album would address themes including growth, change, love, independence, trauma, and how all of these things would shape a person's soul. Probably for this very reason, the mosaic technique seemed the most suitable to represent all these facets present in the album.

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Photograph by Ylenia Roma

Expanding on that a bit further, where did you and Ylenia find common ground when visually interpreting the many elements (color palette, floral choice, etc.) present within it?


Capstan: The first thing we did was compose a short list of physical items or imagery that she could use that either directly represent or allude to the lyrics and themes of the record itself. Aside from that small guideline, we let her take the lead on everything else, and Ylenia created a breathtaking piece of art that I am so proud to say is the cover of a Capstan record.


Ylenia: The elements that had to fit visually are indeed numerous, but each has a deep and symbolic meaning linked to the lyrics. Passion, courage, and determination had to emerge. Nothing is ever random. We found broken glass, shards, flowers, bones created with sanded recycled wood found on the seashore, and butterflies.

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Photograph by Ylenia Roma

The colors also have their importance. For example, the hints of indigo and gold can be found in "Bloom's" text, intended as a path of growth. It was a real challenge, but I immediately felt in tune with Capstan and what they wanted to convey. I tried to keep all the elements indicated and link them in a harmonious way. This was possible precisely thanks to this bond and the image that would then be born was immediately visualized in my mind in a natural way.

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Photograph by Ylenia Roma

It's an incredibly detailed piece, requiring some extreme concentration and focus throughout the creative process. How long did it take for the cover completion, especially with the variety in element selection?


Ylenia: The creation process took place in various steps, from the draft of the presentation drawing to the choice of materials. To best represent some elements, I used recycled materials that I particularly love for their versatility, such as shards, glass, wood, and shells to make the product even more visually three-dimensional and with an emotional impact.


After about three months of intense work, where I compared myself with the group at every step, we arrived at the final product. I am grateful to everyone for the immense trust and freedom of interpretation they have left me. This project helped me grow further as an artist and relate even more to the emotions of others.

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Photograph by Ylenia Roma

Ylenia, music related projects are not part of your day to day output, making this a unique collaboration that will introduce your art to an entirely new audience. Is there an intended reaction that you wish to provoke to those who are new to your work, or those who gravitate towards your art a lot more after having experienced it through Capstan?


Ylenia: I have always been "hungry" for art. I have always had a lot of difficulty expressing myself verbally, but I think I have found my voice in the mosaic. My life has been dotted with challenges and pain where pain and suffering have walked hand in hand with the most intense joys, and I am convinced that these experiences of mine have profoundly enriched my art, giving it a more acute sensitivity and deeper attention to the experiences of others.


My works, mostly dedicated to the female figure, are opportunities, almost therapeutic, to create images that amaze with their colors and use of different materials in a continuous research. My mosaic moves away from the classic one of the Byzantine tradition, they are very instinctive. I let myself be carried away by the emotion I want to convey and from there the creation process comes to life. I also let myself be guided by the color and try to find the perfect match between the various materials, mostly recycled.

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Photograph by Ylenia Roma

With this piece of mine, I hope to be able to arouse curiosity and make the public passionate about art in all its facets.


Believe me, I think it truly does spark some passion and the purpose you outline is truly felt in this cover alone. Among the best parts about “The Mosaic”, both musically and visually, is that it’s far from linear, always unfolding with new layers with each passing listen (and view). It’s meant to be felt, it’s meant to be revisited. Where do you feel that there is commonality between the music and the visual identity? As noted, the image itself is symbolic and reflective of the multiple components of Capstan.


Capstan: The visual art and the album both contain many individual elements that make up the whole. There is bone and broken glass. There is blooming beauty. These ideas are represented sonically through the massive dynamic shifts in the music. Every person is their own mosaic, and all of us together create an even larger collective image.


Ylenia: Music and art represent, without any shadow of a doubt, two similar disciplines which, through the immateriality of sound and the enchantment of images, are able to reveal human feelings and experiences, both in their positive and joyful, and in the more introspective and serious ones. For this reason, the image of the album is particularly rich in components to symbolically recreate the band's experience.


Thank you both for your insight. In closing, this is a cathartic record for the band, and your profession as a mosaicist was truly ideal in capturing the multi-faceted nature of it entirely. What power exists within the nature of mosaics to convey human emotion?


Ylenia: I interpret the mosaic as solid music, made of tiles, rhythms, harmonies, aimed at capturing beauty. There can be infinite possibilities of meanings, symphonies of emotions created by intertwining colors and plays of light. Music is a constant for me and accompanies me and guides me in my creative process. Cutting, pasting, searching, spatula... every progression and combination of color comes from an emotion that I hope to convey in the final work. What amuses and excites me is listening to what people can read in a certain piece, influenced by their own experiences and therefore also far from my initial concept.

 

The Mosaic is available now via Fearless Records (Listen).

capstan the mosaic, mosaic art, ylenia roma.
Cover Artwork by Ylenia Roma

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