See songs

In the music industry, good visuals are almost as important as good sounds

Art by Randy Frykas.


Art by Nyco Rudolph


To get your band noticed amongst the sea of sounds, you need eye-catching music videos, album art and merchandise, even in the iTunes age.

Thankfully, Winnipeg musicians have some more than amazing visual artists at their disposal to help with the visible side of music. 

Randy Frykas, 33, a professional filmmaker and freelance editor, produces and edits music videos on his own time. He started in 2008, editing the video for the track “Reconcile” by Sights and Sounds, and then went on to direct and edit “Boxes” by Hope Atlantic in 2010. Since then, Frykas has produced videos for such ‘Peg city artists as JP Hoe, High Five Drive and Kids on Fire. He also edits music videos for Clipwing, a local punk band he plays guitar in. 

Frykas’ moving images are always complementary to the core of the song, either creating a story to illustrate the song’s meaning or showing the band play.

“The story should help garner more interest for the song,” says Frykas, who also wrote and directed the 2009 documentary Call to Arms: The Story of the Royal Albert about the troubled music venue.

“I aim at creating images that support the song and don’t distract the viewer.”

Frykas’ videos are a great help for bands that want to beef up their promotional materials or to propel themselves into the Internet realm, AKA getting views on YouTube. But what about other artistic and visual methods of promoting albums, gigs and tours? 

Randy Ortiz (art shown below) is an internationally known freelance illustrator who got his start here in Winnipeg. 

“It was a pretty fun little ecosystem of small artists helping other small artists,” says Ortiz of Winnipeg’s music/visual art scene.

After thriving locally while creating gig posters and the like, Ortiz moved on to work with indie rock/rap group WHY?, California progressive metal band Intronaut, Swedish grinders Gadget and Winnipeg’s own KEN mode.

Ortiz insists on a respectful coexistence between artists and bands. 

“I see too often bands taking advantage of artists sometimes,” Ortiz says. “They get them to work for very little money or sometimes for free.”  

Nyco Rudolph is a Winnipeg illustrator and has been drawing since he was able to lift a pencil. He has drawn promotional work for bands such as Saskatchewan stoner rockers Chronobot, Calgary metal band Blackest Sin and Winnipeg thrashers Nailbrick. Rudolph has also designed unique guitar straps with Winnipeg based Levy’s Leathers.

Rudolph says the music industry is evolving towards being more competitive, and that musicians need more than just a good sound.

“The challenge for any creator is to stand out, and this is where I think musicians and filmmakers are realizing how working together with visual artists can help them achieve this goal,” he says.

Published in Volume 68, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 15, 2014)

Related Reads