Q&A \\ Designer Raimund Wong and the look of London Jazz

11th July 2019

Music for a long time, has been a visual affair. The right album sleeve, tour poster or T-shirt design can give imagery to the concept or mood of an artist’s work. That’s something that London based designer Raimund Wong understands.

Affiliated with Total Refreshment Centre (pictured above), a lot of Raimund’s work has been with artists who’ve recorded in the North London venue – that means Alabaster De Plume and Flamingods, to name a couple, as well as the sleeve design for the critically acclaimed Makaya McCraven mixtape, CHICAGOxLONDON. On that note, you may recognise some of Raimund’s work to be a collaboration with another TRC affiliated creative, photographer and director of ‘We Out Here’, Fabrice Bourgelle. In short, Raimund’s work, along with illustrators and designers like Sophie Bass and Victoria Topping, have come to represent a vision for London Jazz. 

Church of Sound, the semi-regular Clapton event, has become something of recent legend, with fitting posters to suit. Raimund’s style is pleasingly, a challenge to pin down to a limited collection of adjectives. Although when it comes to his Church of Sound posters, Raimund has created reoccurring motifs – nostalgic, worn shades of colour, with sharp and crisp artistry, classic typography and multiple, textured layers. His work, becoming more and more distinguishable, is available to buy at various live shows, if you look out for him across London. 

Intrigued by his visual impact on London’s Jazz scene, Supreme Standards decided to get to know the designer a little better. 

chicagoxlondon Raimund Wong

\\ Tell us about how you got working with Church Of Sound?

At the time when they were starting Church of Sound, I’ve already had a relationship working with [TRC founder] Lex via designs and promoting at Total Refreshment Centre, so I suppose it was a natural thing they called me for it.  I’m very chuffed about the journey it’s taken.

\\ What was the first poster you did for CoS? How did you manage to visualise the concept and bring it to life on paper?
I did the poster for the first CoS, the Yussef Kammal / Idris Muhammed Songbook show. Like a lot of the ones from that first year, they wanted a faithful tribute to the source material.  So Lex managed to get fellow TRC artist Fabrice Bourgelle to shoot Kamaal Williams and Yussef Dayes while they were rehearsing, and overlaid photos of the Barbican on top. I tracked down the font they used on the Idris record and laid it all out. From the end of 2017 the design process had a big change – they sometimes give me press shots to work with but mostly I play around with random archival material and typography now.
 
billy harper church of sound poster designer

\\ Tell us about where your inspiration and style come from; any labels, sleeves, designers in particular? 
Right now I think the element of chance and an interest in how things are printed seems to be the most inspiring thing for me. Historically people had to make do with limitation in number of colours or resolution in photographic reproduction, so some of the more ingenious designers/artists came up with ways of using these limitations to their advantage. Through these physical processes they are able to communicate the essence of the message with the maximum amount of impact.  I really respect the craft and graft involved in this, which paid off for sure as some of these pieces have ended up defining the iconography of certain eras of recorded music.
 
\\ You sell your prints at many shows, much like the artists who sell their merchandise. Can you tell us why you enjoying selling your work in this way?
With poster work they are generally specific to an event, so it is the most relevant place for them to be seen and shown. Also, it’s really nice to feed off the enthusiasm of an audience that just had a memorable experience and want to mark it with something. Generally speaking, I like the interactions between all the facets that come with designing for music. You feel you can be part of a community and how the creative work – music, visual, movement or otherwise – is seen often in a sociable environment.
 
Kahil Badge Raimund Wong interview

\\ Tell us about what you’re working on right now.
I’m half way through my first American LP cover job, for a producer in LA, through a lucky connection via International Anthem. I just started working on a poster and brochure for the Japanese Avant-Garde and Experimental Film Festival, which takes place at the Barbican Cinema and Close-Up over three days in Sept. I worked for them last year as well and it’s a consuming job, but it’s really worth my time as it’s a fascinating subject and full of potent images.  Also, a new partnership with promoter and friends Baba Yaga’s Hut is coming into being, feeling really excited about it because it’ll be for music that’s close to my heart – can’t wait.

Main image credit: Barry Macdonald 

Check out Raimund Wong’s website and Instagram

Catch IGBO and Sly5thAve at their first UK Cook Out on 20 July – tickets just £5

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