I’ve been digging in the archives, collecting shots for a special project, and in the process I found this gem. It’s a shot of Ryan preparing to record a violin part for the b-side ‘I Was Her Man But I Done Her Wrong’ , taken from the desk in their old recording space in Springtime Studio in Wakefield. We’d been shooting the photos that would eventually become the sleeves for the You’re Gonna Lose Us single. The day had been pretty long, especially considering that the night before the band had played a very reckless gig my old club The Village Green in Leeds. It was the first (and sadly last) time I got to visit the studio as it was due for redevelopment. The band were being evicted and the day had felt more like playing in dens than working; we had managed to get locked in lifts, stuck in derelict workshops (with graffiti from the heyday of the Jam) and the band had lugged their gear from one part of the space to another.
It’s a pretty important sleeve to me for whole bunch of reasons but the fun we had making it really cemented its place in my heart. It was intended to be a tribute to the space because Springtime had been so special for them. It had made it possible for the band to control their own output, by recording demos and B-sides on their own terms, and by giving them the space to put on parties and gigs. it also meant they had to learn the recording process from the ground up.
For me though, its special because it felt like we finally caught the lightning. Even though we had already put together many sleeves, this was the one that felt to me as if we had captured the mix of raw live energy and independence of the band.
And if you look very close at the top middle of the last photo, you’ll see a black gap above the blue door. That’s where me and the twins had to kick a hole to escape a very secure, very abandoned, creepy old factory.