In addition to being one of the best albums of the year so far, Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising also has one of the year’s premiere album covers: The surreal image shows Weyes Blood (real name Natalie Mering) floating in an underwater bedroom. It’s the kind of photo that makes you wonder how it was made, and now Mering has explained the process in a new interview.
In a conversation with Stereogum, said she initially planned on doing some sort of underwater cover, but it was a friend who gave her the bedroom setting idea:
“I wanted to do an underwater cover, and I wanted to be sitting on a couch or something. My friend Ariana Popedum-Metropolis — who’s a really brilliant painter — was like, ‘You know what? We should do it in a bedroom.’ Then, she really got me going on that idea. She definitely coined the bedroom thing, and then I kind of went off with that.
I went and got all the stuff, and the photographer [Brett Stanley] was experienced with water, so he could build the set. Water is so heavy and everything is twice as hard, so we all kind of just pitched in and built that room, and then submerged and sunk it. It only had two hours to live before the particle board would get full of water and all messed up, so we shot pretty fast. That’s the whole story.”
She said that when it came to the physical execution of the photoshoot, the biggest challenges were dealing with the water and getting all the pieces of furniture just right:
“The greatest challenge was getting everything to stay underwater and picking out furniture. I was set designing and running around Los Angeles looking for things, wanting something to not feel like I just went to a thrift store. It’s emotional going underwater because it’s such a big deal, and you spend so much time trying to get it right. It can be pretty disappointing if it doesn’t look real. It’s like you’re doing a performance because stuff doesn’t last underwater very long, and it’s also dangerous, but I love it. I’ve been a water baby since I was a child, and it’s always been a big dream of mine. It was inevitable that I would be under the water.”
Mering also spoke about the meaning behind the cover, saying, “It’s kind of like the waters have risen over this bedroom which to me is symbolic of kind of a subconscious altar that all young people in western culture create for themselves. This kind of altar for whatever they worship in their sacred space that’s just theirs.”