The Artistic Concepts Behind Psycho & Dead Inside – A Column by Matt Mahurin

Words: Matt Mahurin

Back in March, Devon rockers Muse unveiled the first two tracks from their hotly anticipated seventh album Drones, which drops in two weeks. The album has been claimed to be Muse’s best ever by frontman Matt Bellamy, with Drones’ concept centring around a drone controller and his struggle with power. Album artwork designer Matt Mahurin has kindly returned to write a second column for All Things Loud, this time talking about the artwork for lead singles Psycho and Dead Inside. Read on for more.

The images for Psycho and Dead Inside represent the first two pieces of art from the Drones package. Just as with the cover art, the process is to listen to the songs, do my best to connect to the message of the lyrics, the mood of the music, and create the image that forms in my mind’s eye. It is not my practice to “explain” what the art means, or the thinking behind their making. This is up to those who will come upon the images.

What I have loved about my job for over 30 years of magazine illustration, photography and filmmaking, is to have the opportunity to share my work with people from all over the world. Whether it’s doing a painting for a TIME magazine cover on domestic violence, a photo essay on an abortion clinic in Texas, or the art for a global rock band, the work is put out there with the humble yet passionate mission to inform, inspire, and enlighten. I have no control over whether the viewer responds with empathy or apathy. That is the thrill and risk of any artist when sharing the product of their creativity.

In regard to this Muse project, I have been blown away by the kind words from not only the band’s fans, but artists around the world who have been kind enough to take the time to share their thoughts. I also get a kick out of seeing the art that has been created by the fans based on my images. It brings back memories of me copying covers of my favorite musicians records – and now my work is inspiring young artists who may someday be creating art for their favorite band. Again, these are only two of many more images to come—and I am grateful to the guys of Muse for trusting me with their words and music.


Watch the video for Dead Inside below. Drones is out on 5 June via Helium-3/Warner Bros.