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  • Tiana Speter

EXCLUSIVE: Behind The Cover With In Hearts Wake

Join In Hearts Wake frontman Jake Taylor as we go behind the scenes of the making of the artwork for the group's brand new album Incarnation due out this Friday 12 July; and learn how this shadow counterpoint links back to the beginning of the In Hearts Wake journey.

Photo Credit: Daniel Anderson

Finishing what was, at the time, unknowingly started back in 2012 with their debut album Divination, Byron Bay metalcore act In Hearts Wake are primed to serve up their heaviest release to date this Friday, with Incarnation due out on Friday 12 July via UNFD.

Featuring 11 new tracks, a horde of memorable features, and also marking the group's first album release without departing bassist and clean vocalist Kyle Erich, Incarnation also has the rare honour of thematically linking up with Divination, capturing the essence of 11 of the full 22 cards in the Major Arcana tarot deck. Featuring all of the cards not touched upon on Divination, and honing in on the shadow or counterpoint meanings behind the remaining cards, Incarnation is equally a razor-sharp outing as much as it is In Hearts Wake in peak conceptual and technical form.

Also linking the two albums 12 years apart is another commonality; the return of Johann Ingemar, aka the artist responsible for Divination's cover artwork. And ahead of the release of Incarnation this week, join In Hearts Wake frontman Jake Taylor has he takes us behind the cover art of these incredible releases, including colour aesthetics, animal selections and beyond.


The artwork for both Divination (2012) and its new shadow counterpart and sequel, Incarnation (2024), was done by Johann Ingemar. He’s Danish but he lives in Australia, and was in Byron Bay going to hardcore shows that we were going to as teenagers. Johann did all of our first merch designs back then. When it came time to do an album cover, we just said to him, “Johann, can you do the album cover?”. And at that time he was hungry, really hungry. He wasn't yet a fully-fledged, full-time income artist. So he really went to town doing the Divination artwork across the board. He had this idea to do this spread that went over five pages, and the cover that was ultimately the front artwork was just from the end square of that spread. And I clearly wanted the tarot cards scattered throughout the artwork to really embed and correlate that connection for people. So Johann had this idea, let's make a forest, and we got talking about what animals we'd have in there at the time. With Divination, we went for North American animals because they looked so cool, and having a stag on the front was very strong and striking. The record cover ended up green, and little did we know that in the years that followed, we'd be touring North America a lot. I think that album cover and that whole world really spoke to the Americans in particular. So when it came time to do Incarnation 12 years later, it would've been a disservice to get any other artist to pick that up. 

Divination cover art (2012)

When I called Johann about Incarnation, he's now a full-time tattooist, he's doing trad stuff now. It’s just really simple and effective, and he’s doing it all on an iPad. He doesn't even have a computer with Photoshop anymore. So when I said, “hey man, can you do this?”, he's like, oh my god”, because he knew how many hours Divination took because it was this finely detailed piece of art. For Incarnation, he had to find a way to do it on an iPad, and he had to do it in a really basic way. We had to group things and it meant that we couldn't go in and change things later on. We had to do it as we were going. Johann would send me texts as I'm in the studio. We started doing this before the record was recorded because we knew what we were wanting, and what we were creating. And I specifically said to him, “all the animals that are on this long piece of art, they all need to be from the southern hemisphere as we're going into not only the shadow - but the flip side”. I wanted it to be this nighttime scene, so don't give me moths, give me cicadas for instance. With the full Incarnation spread, which we haven’t released yet, but we’ve got cicadas, we've got a goanna, we’ve got a snake, we've got a quoll, we've got an Eastern barn owl, and we've got kangaroo and dingo skulls scattered throughout, as well as gum leaves and gum nuts. And it's done in a way, which is very hard to do and he did it very well, where we're not looking at a piece of Australian tourist merchandise where it can look real tacky real quick with a kangaroo hopping around. Props to Johann, because that was always going to be a challenge, how to pull off this world and still have it look cool and as sick as it does. All of those elements are subtly there, it’s for the fan or the person who falls in love with the record, and keep discovering all of these things that correlate to the world and the meaning.

Incarnation cover art (2024)

As to the colour palette for Incarnation, originally when I said to Johann that I wanted a night scene, he said, “we can change the colours later. I'm going to do it in sort of a midnight tone”. Originally he did it in blue and grey, and I just instantly said to him, “we're going to change the colours. We don't want a blue record. We've done Ark in the water before. We very much want a new colour”. And Incarnation just felt like purple. If I look at shadows and ghosts and spirits, and haunted kind of spooky things - I think purple. But there's also these hints of gold which give us these little elements of light and hope that also help give us the shadows. And every tarot card that you can see, every card’s flipped upside down intentionally. Because it’s all upside down in this world.

Unfortunately, in the age of Spotify and even vinyl, we can't print these big booklets that we want. Only people who get the CD will get this artwork. But it’s the full art as it was intended, and it’s amazing. And we'll share it online at some point.


New album Incarnation due out Friday 12 July via UNFD.

More info here.




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