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"The Map reads like the record collection we wish we had!" Ali Johnson on Saint Etienne


Want to know the story behind the art? Ali Johnson of Dorothy spoke to Art Vinyl about the making of Saint Etienne’s ‘Words and Music’ sleeve.

"Saint Etienne and Heavenly Recordings approached us in January 2012 after seeing our Original Song Map and asked if we’d like to create a new Map for the cover of the band’s upcoming albumn ‘Words and Music’ which is about how music affects your life. We jumped at the chance. Bob Stanley (a man with impeccable music taste) and the band choose the song titles for the Map (all the songs ‘mean’ something to them) and we loosely based the layout on Croydon which is where the band grew up. The Map reads like the record collection we wish we had!"


Bob Stanley from Saint Etienne explains the thinking behind the map used on the cover of the album: "The Song Map is a musical city. Whenever I walk down a street I have a song in my head. And plenty of songs have a visual counterpart, a snapshot in my mind - this could relate to where I first heard the song, or for no apparent reason. I hear the Monkees’ Headquarters album and I’m looking at the street below from the kitchen window of the flat we rented in Malmo while recording Good Humor. I hear Otis Redding’s Dock Of The Bay and I’m on the corner of Bartlett Street in South Croydon (no idea why). Glen Campbell’s By The Time I Get To Phoenix goes with the A23 in Hooley - probably not the image Jimmy webb had in mind when he wrote it.  These images - street corners, alleyways, bus stops, shop fronts - are all attached to specific songs in my mind, like some odd version of synasthesia. The song map is as close to a visual version as we could get. I like the notion of all the journeys you can take on the map, with a different playlist each time. All the songs are ones we like (yes, even Leo Sayer’s Orchard Road), so it should always be a rewarding journey."


The Saint Etienne Song Map and the Original Song Map are both available to buy from Dorothy. Vote for your favourite sleeves of 2012 here.

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