When the physical artefact was king, what went on the front of a record sleeve could - for better or for worse - define a band over the course of their career.
Viewed as one, definable property, the album cover in the heyday of the physical age was all important. An English graphic designer, Storm Thorgerson did more than most to expand what was possible within the boundaries of the album sleeve.
Famed for his iconic work with Pink Floyd - recall the burning businessman on 'Wish You Were Here' or the prism on 'The Dark Side Of The Moon' - the artist continued to make excellent work far beyond the heyday of prog.
Recently hooking up with Biffy Clyro for 'Puzzle' (2007) and 'Only Revolutions' (2009) one of Thorgerson's final commissions came from GOOSE.
A Belgian group, the band's furious mixture of electronics and rock music saw them continually breach new ground. Introduced to the graphic designer, their relationship would result in the striking sleeve for 'Synrise' - an album which would gain GOOSE outstanding critical acclaim.
Sadly, it would be one of the final pieces Storm Thorgerson would work on. Diagnosed with cancer, the graphic designer passed away on April 19th. Sparking a flood of tributes, ClashMusic decided to ask GOOSE for their thoughts on the much lauded artist.
Mickael Karkousse penned some understandably emotional words.
The last couple of days lots of people have been asking me how it was to work with Storm. Well, to be honest he could be a real pain… and he was probably the most stubborn man that we've met so far in our career. That didn't make him a bad person though, no, that was what made him the man behind so many amazing, iconic album covers.
So yes, we consider ourselves blessed that we have a Storm Thorgerson album cover, but that is not what made that journey so wonderful. What really mattered was that in the process we got to know a man that was caring, loving and, behind all the sarcasm, very sweet.
The first time we met at his office (a table in an Italian Restaurant in South London), he looked at us very angrily. Where we too late? Or maybe too soon? We couldn’t work out what it was that we had done to upset him! Then after we shook hands he started to threw all these questions at us: where we came from, the dynamics within the band, our history together… It felt like we were sitting the most difficult Philosophy exam ever.
After a few more meetings in other coffee shops and restaurants close to his studio we finally choose the cover from a dozen of drawings. This was it! But our dear Storm had another favourite in mind… something with two woodpeckers. He thought it was funnier. We told him we were a rock 'n' roll band and we were not aiming for ”funny” - in the end he was OK with our choice.
The day of the photoshoot for the cover he was very clear about one thing: You need to trust me or you can **** off. We had asked him if we could be present on location to monitor everything and make sure it would be as we had in mind. But working with Storm means having faith in the artist and letting him do his thing. This is the most important lesson we learned!
For the first time in our career we had to let go and hand over control to someone else, but it was an incredible experience and the end result was an incredible album cover.
The last time we met was in the summer in Ostend. It felt like seeing an old relative again. But of course it couldn’t go without a bit a commotion…
The first thing he said to me was: “I’m cross with you Mickael about 2 things!“ I could not see what we did wrong, since we hadn't seen each other for over a year, then he explained himself: "One, Where is MY award?” (Our album cover had won a best Artwork award); “And two, why didn’t you ask me to design the cover of your new album?”
After a while we realised he was joking (partly… I guess… Anyway, we did send him the award a few days later!
In October of last year we spoke for the last time to catch up. He told us he was in therapy and that he could only do what the doctors told him. Still he was only interested in hearing how our young daughters were doing. To him that was the most beautiful gift in the world. The Children. And the child within Storm was never far away.
He was a good man. Looking back we consider ourselves extremely lucky to have been in Storm's life, even though it was just for a short period of time.