FACT 10 1979 2019 - GoodHood X Joy Division

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In celebration of one of the most important albums of our time, as well as a landmark in music/design crossover history. London’s Goodhood have teamed up with the graphic architect of Joy Divisions seminal debut Peter Saville to create a capsule collection of curated items celebrating 40 years since "Unknown Pleasures" was first released.   

With collaborators including British brands Universal Works, YMC & Stepney Workers Club alongside the artisan works of Tom Wood and Tokyo's Big Love Records, the capsule spans across ready to wear, footwear and home wear. All inspired by the bands original request for the black pulsar graphic on a white background. Which was inverted by Saville in the process of design for the original release.  A limited edition 40th anniversary version of Unknown Pleasures is available within the capsule.  The LP base been pressed on 180g ruby red vinyl with the alternative white sleeve resembling the bands original design idea. 

The New Order Magazine was invited to Goodhood to sit with Peter Saville, Joy Division & New Order drummer Stephen Morris and music journalist Jon Savage for an hour of discovery, process and enlightenment.  What follows was a transcribed account of that conversation /

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On recording Unknown Pleasures /

Stephen Morris: It was quite simple arrangement really. Martin was in the studio working on John Cooper Clarks album for CBS, and we were told you could go in when John Cooper Clark isn’t there. Which was fine as John worked during the week and we went in on weekends.

Peter Saville: That's why It was affordable?

SM: Well yeah. When someone else is paying for things, it tends to make them affordable (laughs).  So that's how we did it.

PS: He was recording Snap Crackle & Pop, which came out after Unknown Pleasures ultimately.

SM: Yeah so that's how we did it. It was Johns first Record and we had done Factory Sample with Martin. Yeah so we knew he was crackers. But we thought that was good, he kind of fitted in really well. We had written a lot and or were in the process of writing a lot of songs and we would go in and record all the songs we knew as you do when you record your first album and that would be it.

John Savage: But it wasn't though was it?

SM: No, but it wasn't the sort of thing you thought you would be talking about in 40 years time. Yet here we are!

“we had wanted it to be nearer The Stooges first album, more raw and less moody. What Martin did was take all that rawness out and replace it with atmosphere” Stephen Morris

JS: There are only 10 tracks on the album. But you recorded more?

SM: Yeah Martin didn't think we had enough songs, he waned two more tracks.  Things moved at a glacial pace with Martin sometimes. But hooky and me would be jamming or sound checking and he would suddenly say “Do that again” and they could turn into something. Tracks like Candidate and Auto Suggestion came out of jams with Martin in the studio. They took as long to write as they are as songs.

 

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PS: There are documented comments from your side that you were not fans of what Martin was doing on the production side at the time.

SM: Yeah I think we had wanted it to be nearer The Stooges first album, more raw and less moody. What Martin did was take all that rawness out and replace it with atmosphere.

PS: From my point of view having known Warsaw, there was some kind of transformation between that point and Unknown Pleasures.  Which I imagine was Martin’s idea or audio vision of what the band could be. Or was he just doing stuff?

SM: It was a bit of both really. None of us had any real experience in what we were doing. I think Martin had an idea of a record he could make. And he was into the idea of Record labels having a sound. That was one of his things. Like Electra had a sound in the 60’s. He was after making a sound and that was going to be the Factory sound.

JS: Um, but this wasn't your first album was it. You had done an album with RCA?

“Ian used to hang out at RCA records in Manchester, I think he was just trying to get the stand up cardboard cut out of Iggy Pop” Stephen Morris

SM: Yes that was before. I mean the other person who we should mention is Rob Gretton. Rob and Tony are obviously very, very important in the process of Unknown Pleasures getting made in the first place.

We kind of agreed to do an album for RCA on the bases of the guy was a northern soul person. And Joy Division never really struck me as being a particularly northern soul band.  But he wanted to branch out into new wave, yeah Richard Sterling was his name. And Ian used to hang out at RCA records in Manchester, I think he was just trying to get the stand up cardboard cut out of Iggy Pop. I mean he also wanted free records but he really wanted that cut out of Iggy Pop. But he was never successful in getting it.

PS: So was that just one album?

SM: Well that was the idea yeah.

PS: And there was no contract or anything?

SM: Well luckily no, there was a piece of paper, um, which we couldn't understand.

PS: And what happened to that record?

SJ: It’s widely available as a bootleg and it’s a record that we never received any financial remuneration for and we didn't like it.

PS: What’s it called?

SM: Well it wasn't called anything, but now it goes by the highly imaginative title Warsaw.

PS: Ahh so was this was a Warsaw album. That makes sense.

SM: Yeah sometimes they put wavy lines on the front of it.

PS: Yeah its very popular that.

SM: Seems to help things sell.

JS: Was there a copyright on that original Image?

SM: Well that's a good question isn’t it? Because it's a natural phenomenon.

PS: Yeah. Okay. So according to the esteemed professor Brian Cox who should know. When I asked him I said why has there never been any trouble? And he said most likely because its scientific data, which when published enters the public domain. But I do have some anxieties about that though because there's a difference between sharing information for academic purposes and selling lots of things with wavy lines on. There are however two retired astro physics professors from Cornell University in America who are aware that there is a British new wave band who has one of their images on their record jacket.  So far, they seem quite relaxed about it.

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On the cover artwork:

PS: To be honest, it took me some years before I actually understood what the image that we used actually was, not what its source was, but just why it was this stack of multiple lines.

JS: So who found the image? Was it you Stephen?

SM:  Nope. It was Bernard. He tells the story about how he was skiving off up in Manchester city Library, reading the Cambridge encyclopedia of Astronomy. Why he would be looking at that I don't know.

PS: Thank god he did, it is a great image. Because you don't know what it is, but it's anything you want it to be.  And then combined obviously with the title people project their own kind of interpretation on it. That's what’s always happened. So thank you Bernard.

JS: So your original idea Peter was to have it white on black wasn't it?

PS:  Yeah,  hmmm it would be too grandiose to call it an idea. It was more a feeling of mine. They had been making that record, probably finished it and uh, this relationship had developed. Obviously I was part of factory, so I was around. And it was automatically presumed that I would put the cover together. Rob came to see me and he gave me a photocopy of the wavy lines and a type written sheet with some tracks on it.  The cutting of the photo was on the inside and he gave me all these things in a folder and said, “That's it, the group would like white on the outside and black on the inside. And they like the idea of this textured paper”

So it was pretty clear, but not boringly specific and a lot was there for me to play with. And I was just 6-8 month out of art collage, I didn't have a studio, I was just killing time as I was being a bit of a sissy about having to move to London because I knew it would be hard. And I knew I would have to move as I graduated in graphic design, and If I was going to work in any kind of interesting way with Graphic design it would be London and not Manchester.  So I was just putting it off.  And there was a magazine, it was like a Manchester version of timeout called the New Manchester Review where I would sometimes go in to do freelance work. And they would let me use that studio. So I went to the studio one night with these things that Rob had given me and I had no idea what I was doing.  

College in those days taught you about the kind of theory and the sole concept of design. But nobody actually taught me how to do anything. That learning curve would have happened when you started as an assistant in a studio. And then you would start to learn how to do things. But I kind of short-circuited that by agreeing to do something when I didn't know how to do it.

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JS: So basically you do or die.

 PS: Yes. Fortunately all this material was black and white because had I had to involve colour in anyway. I wouldn't have known what to do. I wouldn't have even known how you print something in colour. I just didn't know how they did it.  But I could work with black and white, and there was a graphics camera in the studio. It was like a sort of very advanced version of the photocopier. It would do reverse sort of things. So if you gave it something that was like black on White, it would give you a white on black print and I used to just play with it because anything you put underneath it looked really sexy when you reversed the colour.

Um, so I looked at the wave diagram reversed. And it looked brilliant and more sort of enigmatic and kind of exciting to the blind eye. And I knew it was space info or data, so I kind of thought, Whoa, it's appropriate that it's black. And so I just single mindedly or willfully decided that night that I would invert Rob’s suggestion, and make it black on the outside.

“And I didn't want it to look like a record cover. There was no need for it to look like a record cover” Peter Saville

And also I was concerned that with a relatively low budget for production in 1979, if it was a white cover I kind of was afraid it might just look a bit too Indie. So the black version in a way corrected that. The black version just made it look very sophisticated. So that's how I mocked it up.

I couldn't figure out how to put any words on it, I just literally couldn't figure out how to do it. As soon as I put joy division on it, it looked like a record cover.

And I didn't want it to look like a record cover. There was no need for it to look like a record cover. I wanted it to look like a thing. My relationship to records was that they were the art objects that I could afford and was able to buy. And the more enigmatic and minimal they were, the more like precious objects they were instead of just packaging.

And I don't know whether I phoned rob or not, I have no idea. I don't know what gave me license to leave the titling off but I did.  And I had never had any difficulty finding a record. You know, I was 22 at this point, maybe 23 and I had never failed to find a record that I wanted in a record shop. So it didn't actually need to say Joy Division on the front for me to find it in a record shop. Its only record execs that feel things need to be labeled. So it didn't make any fucking difference if it had the title on or not. And Rob was fine about that.  So I just did it the way I wanted to do it, well did it the way I could do it.  

And for people in the room who cant remember life before Macintosh’s, back then you couldn't see what you were doing.  You just did everything in black and white and then put a piece of tracing paper over it and said what you wanted things to be.

So therefore you had to use your visual mind. You had to use your imagination to guess what it would look like. You would use your imagination and experience to know how it will come out. But if you didn't have any experience like that, and I hadn’t. I had to err on the safe side. So I kept it like that. And I took the artwork to Robs house and he said, “I have a test pressing, do you want to listen to it” which I actually didn't want to at that time. But of course I did.  So that afternoon I listened to Unknown Pleasures for the first time, and I just knew this might change my life in some way. And it did, so thank you Stephen.


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“That afternoon I listened to Unknown Pleasures for the first time, I just knew this might change my life in some way, and it did”

Peter Saville

With Thanks to Peter Saville, Stephen Morris, Jon Savage & Goodhood /

Images via Goodhood /

Goodhood X Joy Division collection available now /