Mat is creative director at London design studio Big Active - who have created sleeves for, amongst others, Goldfrapp, Beck, Das Pop, Architecture In Helsinki and Basement Jaxx. He is also an image maker in his own right creating collage illustrations which explore the nostalgic pop landscape from his youth.
We're big fans and caught up with him recently do get an insight into his record collection - and their covers.
The Family / 'The Family' (1985)
This was a Prince side project from around the time of 'Parade' so it carries the same romantic French theme and it's probably the best Prince side project ever, an amazing album. I love this cover, it's shot by Horst, the famous German-American fashion photographer and shows Wendy (from The Revolution / Wendy & Lisa) and St. Paul from the band.
Giorgio Moroder / 'Cat People Soundtrack' (1982)
Alot of my favourite covers are often film soundtracks and this one is probably top of the list, although that is also due to the fact that I love the record as well. Unfortunately the same can't be said for the film! What a great image/mood this is, it's inspired me many a time. Natasha Kinski with cats eyes, full red lips drenched in rain and orange light, what's not to like? The back cover is amazing as well.
Simon Duul 2 / Only Human' (1978)
These days I often buy records purely for the covers, this one was a recent purchase. I love cats so seeing one light a cigarette on this cover was hard to resist. Don't ask me about the record though, I've never listened to it before. I know it's Krautrock but that's about it.
Prince / 'Lovesexy' (1987)
One of my all time favourite covers by one of my all time favourite artists. Shot by Jean Baptiste Mondino, who at that point was at the top of his game. It's just an insane cover - completely individual, brave and otherworldly and pretty funny - but also the perfect cover for that album. I love the femininity that it has and there was nothing else like it at the time and there's been nothing since. Probably his last truly great album, although there are still a few gems to be found in the following years. He was the perfect pop star, along with MJ. I saw Prince (Lovesexy Tour) AND MJ (Bad Tour) in concert during this period.
Michael Jackson / 'Smooth Criminal' (1987)
Well, I had to put one in and I don't have the LP version of 'Dangerous' to shoot, which was probably the best cover he did, painted by Mark Ryden. Anyway, this one is a US 12" for 'Smooth Criminal' and uses the art produced for the 'Moonwalker' film. It inspired one of the Mark Ronson 7"s we produced for 'Record Collection' last year at Big Active.
John Lennon / 'Nobody Told Me' (1983)
I love the honesty and complexity of John Lennon and the romance of his life in NY. All the record covers from Double Fantasy and Milk & Honey use some lovely semi-candid shots of him and Yoko, this one being a great example, it really evokes a kind of Woody Allen NY from the late 70's.
Tilt / Original Soundtrack (1979)
I bought this last year just for the cover, it reminded me of one of my illustrations. Have never seen this film but you can probably tell from the cover and the fact that you've never heard of it that it's not going to be selected as part of the US Film Preservation Act as being important to American culture and history. What it has got though is Brooke Shields with a load of colourful airbrushed shapes!
Phantom Of The Paradise / Original Soundtrack (1974)
Another soundtrack, another shit film! Well, some would argue not, maybe I need to re-watch it, it's a Brian De Palma 'lost classic', in the vein of 'Tommy'. Love this cover though.
Grace Jones / 'Nightclubbing' (1981)
I could have picked pretty much any Grace Jones album cover, most of them are amazing. Nightclubbing was created by Jean Paul Goude, who was her partner during this period, they created some amazing work together often turning Grace into a sculptural presence, especially here and on 'Island Life'. I love the simplicity and the colour palette used.
Bilitis - A film by David Hamilton / Original Soundtrack (1978)
I bought this because I love the photographer David Hamilton but I'm intrigued to hear the music but also a little afraid! I guess record covers for me often become like little works of art and this one definitely falls into that catagory. His photographs were in my mind when we worked on Goldfrapp's 'Seventh Tree' album which we shot with Serge Leblon.
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