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Belgium: The Vinyl Frontier

Sleeve love: the story behind the picture disc of Cocaine Piss.

The Cocaine Piss EP is a picture disc full of tropical bliss, pastel hues and hairy legs, for which all credits should be awarded to illustrator Hélène Jean aka Jean-Bon

Interview Diederik Decroix
Photographs Jean-Bon, Fille Roelants (concert photo)

So you’ve lived through this whole summer, unaware of the existence of a band called Cocaine Piss. Okay, well, hopefully you’ve enjoyed your time as a Buddhist monk in the Nepalese foothills, carefully tucked away from humanity. Allow us to update you on what you’ve missed.

Cocaine Piss play short yet bad-assly banging shows. That’s because they’re punk and punks don’t usually need more than fifteen minutes for, well, anything. If you’re suspicious about their tactics, that’s because you haven’t seen them play at Dour, Lokerse Feesten or Pukkelpop. Thank the heavens, though, for your FOMO is about to be buried deep: their EP Piñacolalove has just been released and again, fifteen minutes should suffice for you to make up for time spent humming “ohm”. There’s even better news: the B-side features the exact same list of songs, so you can just do it all over again as soon as the needle has spun its many circles.

THAT’S SOME TASTY JEAN-BON RIGHT THERE.

It’s not all about the music, thought. The Cocaine Piss EP is a picture disc full of tropical bliss, pastel hues and hairy legs, for which all credits should be awarded to illustrator Hélène Jean aka Jean-Bon. 

“When we think someone is awesome, we like to just trust them to see things through”, drummer Yannick Tönnes says. “We don’t like to control people, let alone judge their work. We were all crazy about the mural full of classic rock figures Jean-Bon had made for La Zone in Liège, though. So we just gave her carte blanche.”

Jean-Bon usually applies herself to pins and stickers. “I like to draw things that make people laugh”, she says. “I’m not used to being blindly trusted for an assignment, though. When I first read Cocaine Piss’s email, I had the chills. At the time, there were zero songs for me to base anything on. At the same time, I was over the moon. When we first met, we shared some beers and ideas, but mostly we just laughed. About the only thing I wrote down was ‘do something with a lot of colours, a summer feeling with friends, cool beers and sausages’. That and the fact it didn’t need to match their style in music.”

I still think it’s really cool and surreal that my drawings ended up on a vinyl record. I often imagine the surprised faces of people buying it

A 200-GRAM HEAVY VINYL RECORD

“To me, this is a dream come true”, singer Aurélie Poppins revels. “I love picture discs. We didn’t know they were this expensive, though. We owe this beauty to Hypertension Records, who supported the idea from the get-go. The Cocaine Piss action figures really seal the deal, too. I’m so proud!”

Axel De Mil over at Hypertension expands on the technical details. “When you’re making a picture disc, the image is much clearer when you print it straight into the grooves. That’s why we’ve put the same tracks on both sides. We could have had a 45 RPM record, but 33 just sounds much better. It’s rather unusual to press 220g picture discs, but for this particular release, we were adamant about quality.” Damn right, they are.