Contained in the Crimson Sizzling Chili Peppers’ trippy new album paintings
“I’m just a deep diver on the internet,” laughs Marcia Pinna, as she Zooms from her Los Angeles home. As co-head of the experimental electronic label Evar Records, Pinna, a graphic designer, is responsible for the artwork for all of their releases, and it was while searching for suitable artists to create imagery for her new track West Coast (Pinna also produces her own music under the name Aura T-09) that she found the Instagram pages of Paris-based creatives Thami Nabil and Julien Calemard.
“I loved their drawings,” she explains of the duo’s appeal. “They just have a really interesting take on illustration and animation. They have an eye. They have subject matter that’s really interesting; it’s always a bit weird and trippy.”
The resulting video was a breakneck joyride through a sprawling, airbrushed urban fantasy filled with guns, gangs, and graffiti. Unbeknownst to Nabil and Calemard, before the video was released, Pinna had shown it to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who expressed their love for it. This wasn’t unusual; not only does Pinna serve as a visual creative director for the group, she is also married to their guitarist, John Frusciante.
Nabil and Calemard went on to create the video for Poster Child for the band, the second song to be released ahead of Unlimited Love (their 12th album, and the first with Frusciante since his re-return to the fold after a 10-year hiatus), which would follow in April. To the Chili Peppers’ global mainstream audience, it was an introduction to the retro-soaked distorted realities of Nabil and Calemard.