Magazine article The Fader

Designers Get Graphic: Paul Romano's Dark & Elemental Imagery for Atlanta's Mighty Mastodon

Magazine article The Fader

Designers Get Graphic: Paul Romano's Dark & Elemental Imagery for Atlanta's Mighty Mastodon

Article excerpt

I've been a fan of heavy music probably since I was about six, when I first heard Black Sabbath and Kiss. With Mastodon, I linked with their label Relapse first, but when I got a burn of the demos for their first EP, Lifesblood, I listened to it non-stop and then talked to [drummer] Brann Dailor a little bit. The cover for that first record was already done, but I did the logo. After that, though, Brann just put his foot down and said, "He does our stuff."

I don't try to go for traditional metal imagery, although I guess my personal work does gravitate toward something psychologically dark. We discovered the cover for Remission in a tiny bar in Philadelphia. Mastadon was opening for Dying Fetus and Brann shouted this dream he had over Dying Fetus's set. He was running out of the woods with his sister, and his sister told him not to look back but he did, and that's when he saw this very pained horse on fire. At that point I had never drawn a horse, but I have a background in anatomy, which I started studying when I was eleven. It just took off from the dream, though--I was like, Wow I hadn't even considered doing a painting, just going full-blown with it. It wasn't until I started getting emails from people with tattoos that fully covered their backs--tattoos of that horse on fire and the Mastodon symbol--that I realized, Wow, I have some responsibility here.

The cover for Leviathan started early--Brann called me from an airport. He said, "Hey, I just read Moby Dick and I think that's what I'm going to do for the next record. …

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