Futurgrooves’ team honors the collaborators and the artists that allow the label The Void Project to grow. We met an iconic artist from Brussels: Elzo Durt. The graphic designer, author of the last 3 covers of The Void Project, invites us to his workshop for an interview. Reviewing Elzo Durt’s journey and his passion for music.
Elzo Durt : the background
Brussels artist, iconic in the underground scene, Elzo Durt went from being a master in psyche art & punk. Devoted to collage, he collects illustrations issued by Art Nouveau, Art Deco, engravings from the 19th century, comic books or pop illustrations from the 60s & 80s to sublimate by assembling them, depending on his desires and the clients’ previews orders.
For Elzo, everything begins at ERG (Institute of Graphic Research), where he obtained his degree of graphic designer in 2003. He will then open his own gallery and his publishing house Plin Tub’ at Recyclart. Plin Tub’ was the logical follow-up of his work in his final student years at ERG, which intertwined visual arts, edition, communication and music. Plin Tub’ was the den of freedom and Art Brut, according to Elzo Durt.
In almost 20 years of career, Elzo Durt produces for musicians and labels, but also for medias, for collectives or brands, such as Carhartt, Arbor Snowboards le Recyclart, Voxer, Born Bad Records, The Oh Sees, Magnetix, La Femme, Laurent Garnier, Le Monde, La Libre, etc. He exposes his art in Europe, but they have also reached the US.
The music passionate is also a DJ and co-founder of the labels Teenage Menopause and Drink And Drive.
Elzo Durt is a confirmed artist and therefore unmissable. It’s with more and more creativity that he transformed his art into his job: let’s go back to his work and his passions.
Elzo Durt : modernizing the past
Elzo Durt bases his work on illustrations because he doesn’t draw. In full knowledge of his sources, he works on all his documents numerically to gain precision and freedom in terms of formats which allow him, for example, to expose in large. If we look closely, we could think that Elzo Durt draws a line between the past and the present with his desire of modernizing the old, ‘The idea is to make modern images from old images. I like recollecting nice things and play on the border of that”, he explains.
His very colorful and confusing universe mixes joyful, morbid, sometimes hardcore representations, while preserving the messages’ efficiency. His artwork today embodies hundreds of forms of surrealism, with the mash of different ages and distinct universes. “In a way, surrealism influences me, and in another, it’s a side that I want to protect, maybe because I’m Belgian.”, he explains.
Elzo Durt : graphic designer for the love of music
It’s mainly because of his love for music that Elzo Durt started doing graphic design. That world had always appealed to him and wanted to be a part of it. As a punk and rock fan, he is open to multiple genres!
From his earliest age, he was rocked by rock music thanks to his dad. “The first CD I ever bought was London Calling by The Clash, because my father used to listen to them”, he explains. He naturally strolls along the road of rock’n’roll, with a first true musical epiphany thanks to Nirvana. “It was the first ever group that belonged with me, I was 11 and it was a huge deal to me, it still is. That was a great moment!”, he confesses.
Since then, Elzo Durt was able to work with his favorite bands, such as Magnetix, Frustration, The Oh Sees, Jack Of Hearth. “To work for your favorite bands, it’s the Holy Grail, it’s insane! Frustration I’ve never done the album cover but I dream of it!”. In this small underground world, he explains that everything depends on the human relation and the meetings. It’s probably what he likes best, deep down.
Born Bad Records, it’s the story of a meeting, a passion for music and a friendship. He worked for a longtime with JB – Jean Baptiste Guillot – by producing numerous album covers. His psyche & punk universe perfectly corresponded to the Parisian label’s explosive identity.
Later on, Teenage Menopause is born, his first label founded with his partner in crime: Froos. At Teenage Menopause, we can find post punk, garage, grunge, cold wave, and many other unclassifiable genres. “Teenage Menopause is a bit like the child of Born Bad that influenced us a lot and I’m very proud of it”, he confesses. Teenage Menopause is an avant-garde label, that is the result of a beautiful friendship and a lot of parties!
In 2020, Elzo Durt founded Drink and Drive with his friend Valentino Sacchi, because he couldn’t find himself anymore at Teenage Menopause. “It was impossible to stop and I wanted to come back to something a little more punk, brutal. So we got started with Valentino, but it’s less professional than Teenage Menopause”, he explains. For Elzo, Drink and Drive is a way to continue being a part of a scene and to have fun without arguments. “All we want to do is make CDs, make noise!” he explains. So, what to expect from Drink and Drive? Nowadays, a compilation Lo-Fi punk of Belgian bands is in the making.
Elzo Durt : the feedback
Author of the 3 last The Void Project covers, Elzo Durt is an unmissable artist, precise, a good listener, who was tempted by the adventure to work with an electro label with tints of house & minimal sounds. Finally the collaboration The Void – Elzo is a mixture of professionalism, humility and trippy covers! If it sticks, why deprive yourself of it?