Acclaimed Croatian artist Danijel Zezelj was brought on board to create the stunning artwork for These Wicked Things, starting with the cover and ending with a 12-page black-and-white noir graphic novel accompanying the album. Danijel Zezelj resides in Brooklyn and has published several art books and has collaborated with author Kevin Baker on the book Luna Park and worked on the American Vampire series of comic books. Danijel collaborated with uber-talented designers Maricar/Maricor in Australia who worked on lettering, design, and layout for the album.
In 2017, Brian Carpenter flew to Tucson, Arizona to mix the record with engineer Craig Schumacher (Neko Case, Calexico) and Chris Schultz at Wavelab Studios. Craig is known for dialing up incredible sounds, especially in the desert noir canon and he knocked it out of the park on this record. Brian and Craig worked a few years earlier on the Confessions record The Far End of the World.
In 2014, Beat Circus was commissioned by Berkeley Repertory Theater in Berkeley, California to write music for The Barbary Coast, a play based on the true crime book of the same name by Herbert Asbury (Gangs of New York) with book by Dominic Orlando. A few of the songs center around the true-life Mexican Robin Hood figure Joaquin Murieta, who went on a revenge spree during the late 1800 Gold Rush era. The well-known bandit Zorro was based on the Joaquin Murieta. A few pieces from the play based around Murieta (both versions of “Rosita”) ended up in These Wicked Things.
In June 2016, strings and horns were recorded at Trout Recording in Brooklyn with Bryce Goggin (Pavement, Akron/Family, Antony & the Johnsons, Angels of Light Swans). Bryce is a long-time collaborator with Carpenter, having mixed the last Beat Circus record Boy From Black Mountain (2009) and vocals for Carpenter’s record with The Confessions The Far End of the World (2015).
Brooklyn resident and Ghost Train Orchestra member Emily Bookwalter, who toured with Beat Circus in California as part of The Barbary Coast, recorded viola with violinist Abigale Reisman. Quinn Carson, who was also part of the California crew, recorded trombone with original Beat Circus member tubist Ron Caswell and multi-instrumentalist Alec Spiegelman.
Beat Circus started recording These Wicked Things, their first record in 10 years, in 2016 at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts with Rafi Sofer at the console. Returning on this new incarnation of the band are four members from the last record. Returning are Paul Dilley (pictured) on acoustic and electric bass, Gavin McCarthy on drums, guitarist Andrew Stern, and Brian Carpenter on vocals and a variety of other instruments (harmonica, organ, bells, trumpet, and guitar.)