Wyatt Gallagher

Eastend Mile, from left: Caleb Lombardi, keys; Christoffer Thygesen, bass; Roger Romero, sax; Dhruva Krishna, skins.

Eastend Mile

Pittsburgh alt-jazz band Eastend Mile took to the studio in the fall of 2015, and enlisted me and Chloe Chia to create art for the album in progress—titled I Had a Wonderful Time—that reflected their unique, thrilling sound, along with a full website to help spread the word of their music and tours.

Dhruva, Caleb, and Roger having fun behind the scenes during the album art studio session.

Chloe's primary role was photography, while mine was putting together the website. We split creative direction and design work. The band was heavily involved in the visual concept, citing their alternative jazz roots like Robert Glasper as inspiration both visually and sonically.

The website followed the visual language of the album. I built it on Bolt, a lightweight and flexible CMS using SQLite. Despite being a long-time user of WordPress, I had kept away from it for several years because of the rash of security issues the platform had faced at the beginning of the decade, and I also wasn't sure how robustly I could customize it for the needs of touring musicians, namely show dates.

The front page.

The music—a SoundCloud embed and album details.

While most of the inner pages used Chloe's photography in the background, the about page is the best example, bringing her studio photography of the band—group and headshots—directly into context.

Result & postmortem

I Had A Wonderful Time finally came out on September 10, 2016, and I highly recommend you go listen to it. I remain really, really proud and humbled to know that artwork I helped create is on the front of such a quality recording. This was a bucket-list project, and I hope to do it again.

One of the band members graduated in 2017 and moved to the Bay Area, and rather than finding a new bassist and changing their chemistry they decided to put the band mostly on ice; though as of November 2017 they're still playing sporadic shows in Pittsburgh and San Francisco when they can.

Bolt, as it turns out, isn't very satisfying to use and maintain. It's nice not having to deal with MySQL, but that's the only real advantage over something like WordPress—which, as it turns out, has cleaned itself up. I'd simply go that route if I had to do it over again.