SURFACE TENSION – Musical Influences by Jay Gunn

CGJJ16 - Ti - Feb - Surface Tension We’re all about the music at Carabas, and all about the comics. So when I got chatting with writer-artist of SURFACE TENSION from Titan Comics JAY GUNN at the London Super Comic Con and was told he worked to a ‘soundtrack’ in it’s creation I nearly bit his arm off to get the inside story (track) – Here it is…
I’m sure many creators listen to music for inspiration when writing or illustrating, music helps to enable us to conjure up images and stories and thus it can become the soundtrack to our art. The soundtrack to Surface Tension was provided by the Bradford based band, New Model Army.

The reason why NMA appeals so much to me is that they make so much music based on the environment and by that I mean in the context of social, urban, rural and natural environments and all the stories contained therein.

For me NMA has a song for every mood that I feel. We all have those days when you feel like raging at the world and then others were you simply want to admire the beauty of a sunrise. It’s not always ‘how it is’, more like ‘how it feels.’ Surface Tension - NMA Between Wine and Blood
Surface Tension is a conversation with the reader about what it could possibly mean when people state that they want to ‘save the planet.’ If one had the power to act upon this notion then what would this imply for humanity and our relationship with the planet? This subject can mean many different things with many differing viewpoints. The various characters in the story represent a difference of opinion or emotion; hope, anger, ego, vanity, indifference and so on. As a writer and an artist, sustaining those emotions during the long drawn out process of putting together a graphic novel requires shots of creative energy to keep you going. There are days when you can lose sight of the emotional core of the story. On those days I would go for long walks and listen to NMA for a shot of inspirational adrenalin. In time certain songs began to represent specific characters or the emotional beats of the story.
Surface Tension - NMA Between Dog and Wolf

So here is my unofficial Surface Tension soundtrack courtesy of New Model Army.



This track captures the feeling I was trying to acheive when Megumi looses her faith in humanity and that her environmental ’cause’ is seemingly a futile gesture. I guess this song encapsulates Mary’s dialogue with Megumi, trying to pull her back to a more hopeful viewpoint. The song is about seeing the real world that exists beyond the politics and distractions that blind us on a daily basis. Surface Tension - Megumi
According to you
There isn’t anything left to believe in
because you never could see
That there is everything that we are receiving
Come back to us all
Where there is everything that we are receiving
Surface Tension - NMA Between Wine and Blood



ITunes song link

Album link



I needed to reach a heightened emotional level when illustrating the scene in which Megumi grapples with her decision to wipe out mankind. I drew upon the energy of this song in combination with its video to power me through this scene in the book.

And the pressure moves the mountains, seven billion and counting

As the monkey tribes advance, all in a rush of blood, the jet stream blowing

High above the zombie hordes all banging war drums, raising flags

As the pressure moves the mountains, seven billion now and counting

As the monkey tribes advance across the ruined land



ITunes song link

Album link



When I hear this song I can picture Ryan’s torturous walk to the sea during the scenes in which the ‘sea-sick’ head to the coastline. Ryan doesn’t care at all for the plight of Megumi or Mary, he simply wants to protect his family, to get back to his younger brother. Now Ryan is sick and doomed to disappear into the ocean along with billions of other ‘sea-sick.’ Surface Tension - Ryan
The chase was hard (to the water)
The chase was long (to the sunlight)
Through the searing heat of the midday sun
I’m out of breath, I am gasping out
I’m almost gone, I am almost gone
Surface Tension - NMA Between Dog and Wolf



ITunes song link

Album link

Album Link – Live Version



After Eric is absorbed by the coral at Ghana, Megumi is visited by the mysterious ‘shell-face’ character in her dreams. This is symbolic of Megumi chasing a fading dream, what is real, what is love? What is it beyond the physical world that connects us all?

I searched through the dawn into a new world beyond

Where all that I could want

Was to lean back and fall

We were rising to break like the sea against the shore

Like the land around the sea

As we lean back and fall



ITunes Song Link

Album link

Album Link – Live Version



During the clean-up operation at the Ghana oil disaster, Megumi questions Erik’s claims about ‘saving the planet.’ Is their conservation work just vanity? There is an element of ego/hubris in Erik’s decision to harness the powers of the coral and we see that this backfires terrible as Erik inadvertently ends up wiping out mankind. Things come and things go, what difference can we make? Surface Tension - Eric A
Well we talk about saving the world now, Eddie
It’s our vanity gone mad
She’ll survive us all perfectly well
When we’re all long buried and dead
It’s all vanity, all vanity – we try to have control Surface Tension - NMA Impurity
It’s all vanity, all vanity ’cause Chaos rules it all
I turn my head away from here
Down towards the rolling seas again



ITunes Song Link

Album link


Support music – buy albums.

All lyrics copyright New Model Army and published by Attack Attack Music.

Jay Gunn


You can check out title details of Jay Gunn’s Surface Tension on our February 2016 New Title Recommends page or on Forbidden Planet’s website here, and we’ve got some interior pages to preview here as well!

There’s more coverage on / from the London Super Comic Con on and via links from our article here…