Drawing TRACES’ “Heart of Gold” EP

2048 1760 Tanyel Gumushan

You just can’t break a bond between two brothers.

TRACES; master of brooding, emotive electro-pop, was recently joined on the road by his older brother. Informed by both his interpretations of the recently released, Heart of Gold EP and his knowledge of his kid brother, he put together a series of drawings.

Capturing the vulnerability that floods the EP, the drawings introduce a young character – a lone boy, expressionless but alert. He’s placed before a black backdrop, fully immersed into the darkness yet hiding, almost suffocating, his anxieties and swirls of worry. Yet, in poetic lyrics we flow straight into the heart, and from the cinematic soundscapes we gain extraordinary insight to the galaxies building inside his mind.

A line of hope runs through the EP, with soaring harmonies and choruses too large to be contained, the pop sensibilities uplift and play in their prowess. Recent single, ‘idbh.’ lays everything down all in piano-led ballad. Though the subject is sad, the gentle melody cradles a rousing feeling – a reassurance in its purest form. Together, the songs tell a very real story of a very real love and the sacrifices we make for companionship.

On behalf of Joey Dehnert, meet TRACES, and the Heart of Gold.

Motivation and Inspiration

“Tim, or a version of Tim, as the subject of the illustrations felt like a mirror of the EP’s subject. I wanted to use objects that are iconic to Tim (e.g. a hat, clothes, his hair), and leverage the POV of the illustration’s frame to represent themes or feelings that were conjured while listening to the EP. A lot of dark imagery (literal colour tone descriptions) comes through in the EP so I felt a consistent black frame was fitting.”

‘Trouble In Mind’

“A literal take on the “Heart of Gold” metaphor. The subject is either receiving or offering a heart of gold while taking a posture of honesty, akin to a swearing in ceremony (hand on a Bible, or a “cross my heart hope to die” kind of thing).”

‘Majesty’

I pulled from the track’s concept of being isolated in a dark room. I put a crown around the subject’s neck like a collar or a yoke representing the potential cost of success, and the question of “Is it worth it?”.”

‘IDBH.’

“This song has a lot of “maybes” and ambiguity. I took this feeling and projected it into an empty frame. Maybe it’s the place the subject should be, maybe it’s the place the subject left because they didn’t belong there, or maybe it’s from the subject’s POV looking into an empty room, alone. Regardless of the actual place the frame represents, the viewer is left with nothing to look at, which transports the feeling of loneliness onto the viewer.”

‘Awake’

The gold circle could be the sun or a spotlight. The rising sun represents waking and morning, and the spotlight conjures discovery, which pulls from the song’s lyric “Can you take me as you find me?” Taking the idea of “taking me as I am,” the subject has lost his clothes and is laid bare, and without sight.”

‘Black Cadillac’

“A literal take on driving to the city in a black Cadillac. The city is gold representing promise and opportunity. I put the subject in the rear-view mirror because it represents the feeling of simultaneously moving forward while also being forced to see where you have come.”

‘Haunted’

I love the reference to “dark water” in this song. The subject is either floating on top of, or in, dark water. The subject is stranded and is left only with themself, which suggests the idea of being haunted by one’s own thoughts. The body position suggests supplication and leaving one’s fate to something bigger. This is also the only illustration that has a subject and no colour, which again points back to a lack of life and a haunted vibe.

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