© Bernd Preiml, 2012, Cover shooting for Sofa Surfer’s album ‘Superluminal’


The cannibalization and “elitization” of classical music, the absurd success of acoustic polluters like DJ Ötzi, the greedy veneration of pop stars like Falco, or movies like The Sound of Music paint a picture of Austrian music that just doesn’t show the whole spectrum.

Believe me, there is something hidden behind the first color layers of this painting. When you scrape off these bright, golden, almost Klimt-like colors, a variety of new tones will catch your eyes. A great example for such an over-painted masterpiece has been published by the Austrian band Sofa Surfers on September 14, 2012.

Their new album Superluminal is using a highly recommendable color palette, though the cover artwork is very dark, almost monochrome. Trivia: It was published on the same day as Bob Dylan’s latest album Tempest. Other than Dylan they decided not to hire their 8 year old nephew who can "do some maaaaad tricks with MS Word and WordArt" for designing the album artwork. No, they decided to have it handled by a professional:

I talked to artist/photographer Bernd Preiml about the creation process:

"When I first listened to their new tracks I thought that the whole album is quite dark and has a feeling of something like "urban isolation". I started to think of animals in the city, foxes that hunt in parks by night, or rats that come out of their holes when it gets dark. For all those animals the city must be a quite hostile abstract and alienating environment as it is man made and meant to serve human purposes.

I thought as well of Franz Kafkas “Die Verwandlung” [Ed.: The Metamorphosis] where a man wakes up one morning and finds himself transformed into a bug unable to deal with everyday life and his own isolation.

All these thoughts (and a couple more) melted into some abstract idea of a name- and shapeless cityscape that I would’nt find anywhere here in Vienna. That’s why Monika Biegler (a friend and great stage and costume designer) and I started to build it from roofing cardboard in the photo studio. [Ed.: you can see an overview of the construction here]

When the band came to the studio I just tried to make sense of the guys in the outfits we chose in combination with the backgrounds. I think somehow the images made themselves.” (Bernd Preiml)

Thanks to Bernd Preiml for photos & words (and thanks to Markus Kienzl for the contact)!

More thanks go out to my friend Timo Novotny (filmmaker and visual artist / VJ for Sofa Surfers) for putting me in a bus to Karlovy Vary film festival (where Timo’s latest stroke of genius Trains of Thoughts premiered) together with three-quarters of the Sofa Surfers - more information about this trip here. You have to know: I’m a big fan since I first heard them play as support for Pavement in Vienna way back in 1996 or 1997. One thing that I like most about these guys is that they stayed true to themselves and never became industry whores like so many of their colleagues (I don’t want to mention any names here). It’s also very impressive that they’re still surprising me after all these years.


The Sofa Surfers are touring through Europe in the next weeks, more information here. The tour starts on Saturday at the WUK in Vienna - it would be great to see you there! I had the chance to catch a glimpse of the new visuals Timo produced - together with the new tracks this evening is going to be unforgettable!

» you can listen to an album teaser here «  |  » find more photos of famous people here «