Totally outrageous and sharply satirical, The Class of Nuke ‘em High is one of the jewels in the crown of Lloyd Kaufman’s Troma empire. Toxic doses of science fiction, violent humor and campy power pop songs ; the film epitomized trashy, 1980’s independent filmmaking. Working closely with both Troma and theme song composer Ethan Hurt for the vinyl release, Ship to Shore PhonoCo also partnered with one of the U.K.’s most recognizable artists - Godmachine to bring his brand of new age digital dread to the cult classic’s cover art.
With a legacy 25 years deep, it cannot be undervalued the influence Troma has within not only filmmaker circles – but the entire creative arts industry. Summing up the appeal and impact of Troma movies within the public consciousness, Godmachine explains “bad movies are more important to a young person than good ones: when you are a kid you can’t imagine having $485,439,856,349,865,98 dollars to make a film – but you can imagine getting all your mates together and a cheap camera and some red food dye and making something. I am not saying Troma makes bad films, I am saying that these films are more approachable, more honest and more fun because you can see the love and dedication of everyone involved.”
Looking back on how he got involved with the project, Godmachine notes “Its been some time, but I think [Ship to Shore] just emailed me and we talked about it for a while then one morning I woke up and there was this thick red liquid everywhere and these red veins growing everywhere….wait…i think that was war of the worlds. I think I really wanted to try my hand at the montage style that seems quite popular with movie posters and Troma gives me a great chance to do that with all those incredible characters….and gore!”
Showcasing the daily tools and techniques that make up Godmachine’s creative process, he explains “I wake up and answer some emails, dilly dally, procrastinate, check out kitten videos on the web, catch up on some news radio, make coffee, play with my cat, look at instagram, THEN SHIT I’M LATE I NEED TO GET THIS DONE! I wake up smelling of cigarettes and whisky and there’s this poster on my screen – magic art elfs?. [My creative process is] pretty much coffee, work, coffee, smokes, work, work, work, whisky, coffee, work. Its kinda like a lame version of Hunter S. Thompson’s day to day work list.”
“I think I am always inspired by everything around me – it all affects me in someway” he continues. “I usually listen to soundtracks or documentaries whilst working. Lately I’ve been listening to Fox news radio a lot- as a Brit I find it amazing what they say on that show! its like a terrible sit com or soap opera with bat shit people.”
Contaminated and apocalyptic – Godmachine creates a dark world for the films characters to thrive in. With a splash of dark humor and unforgettable radioactive bile that the film is known for, Godmachine captures the anarchist style of The Cretins and sadistic menace of the monster with a grim dark background juxtaposed with vibrant but sickly pink, blue and vomit green highlights. “I work directly onto the computer” he informs. “Sketch on one layer and then start inking (digitally) on another layer then slowly build that up, cleaning as I go. I rarely use paper anymore; I used to when I started but I am so disorganized and messy, the computer is a lifesaver for me. Sometimes I sketch an idea out, but it literally will be a doodle on a post it note – just to see if the shapes work and the layout is ok”. In regards to the project’s timeframe, Godmachine explains “I think it took about 3-4 days in all, but to be honest; I do wander and end up taking a few more breaks than I should – those kitten videos wont watch themselves you know.”
With the finished product filling up the vinyl shelves of Troma fans and vinyl enthusiasts alike, The Class of Nuke ‘em High is yet another feather in the Godmachine cap. “It was my first ever record and I love it” he reflects. “I was never allowed near my friends records when we were young, I usually ended up dropping them or laying them flat, or so on. I was more of a tape person – I can throw them in a box and forget about them. I am just not grown up enough for records. This though, is mine and I like to run the groves across my beard and sometimes, when its a quiet night and you listen hard enough you can hear it playing through my chin hairs.”
Ship to Shore’s release of the The Class of Nuke ‘em High soundtrack is a nostalgic and venomous collection of glorious ’80s anthems . Working in perfect conjunction with the audio – Godmachine’s visuals are a divine mixture of the beauty and brutality that encapsulated both the film and production company – perfectly celebrating the longest running independent movie studio in North America in delicious 12 inch style.
Peace to Godmachine for helping out with this piece. The Class of Nuke ‘em High is waiting for you to collect at Ship to Shore. Godmachine’s newly released book The Art of Godmachine is available at The Flood Gallery and make sure to check out his portfolio and newest works at his Official Site and Facebook.