The Blue Room EP

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The Blue Room EP Album Cover

The Blue Room EP was the third EP released by Coldplay, and their first release after signing with the Parlophone label in April 1999.

The version of "Don't Panic" featured on this release is a different, more atmospheric version than the one that appears on the band's debut album Parachutes. It also features two songs culled from their Safety EP: "Bigger Stronger" and a shorter version of "Such A Rush" - the original recording but without the music before Chris Martin's vocals. The fourth track, "High Speed", would also appear on Coldplay's debut album, Parachutes.

Only 5000 copies were manufactured in the original pressing. The EP is available in greater quantities after a 2001 re-issue.

Track listing

  1. "Bigger Stronger"
  2. "Don't Panic" (The Blue Room EP version)
  3. "See You Soon"
  4. "High Speed"
  5. "Such a Rush"

Artwork

On October 8th 2010, the official Coldplay site [1] continued their new series of news articles that focus on interviewing the designers of some of the artwork to their previous releases. They featured Tim Moore, the man responsible for designing the cover of Coldplay's first release for Parlophone, The Blue Room EP, which was released almost exactly 11 years before this interview was published, on October 11th 1999.

Hi Tim. So, how did you come to design the cover for the Blue Room EP?

It was a lucky one, I had just graduated from Edinburgh College of Art & was in London planning a trip to Japan funded by the Royal Society of Arts I was discussing my work with a friend who had popped round and was mates with Claire O'Brien at Parlophone. He gave me Claire's contact details, I made contact and showed her my portfolio at EMI. Luckily she really liked my sketchbooks, so she held onto them and mentioned she would show them to a new band she was working with, I was called back into Parlophone soon after that & ended up meeting with Chris and the band at their flat in Camden.

Was it among the first covers you designed?

I had done a few covers for Electronic Music artists - Global Communication but yes it was early days in terms of my commercial work

What had you trained in at college?

I trained as a Graphic Designer on the Visual Communication course at Edinburgh College of Art. I did my dissertation on the visualisation of music & that subject continues to fascinate & inspire my work.

Was there a specific brief for the Blue Room EP?

Both the band & the label had some ideas of how they wanted the cover to look, I remember feeling pretty hemmed in by the process. At that time I had no studio of my own and laptops were a bit out of reach on my budget, so due to time restraints and the way it all turned out I did the design in the basement of the EMI building in Kensington. It was full of people busy artworking EMI communications, this gave me my first taste of the realities of Commercial art for major record labels.

Who was responsible for picking the image and why was it chosen?

Chris Martin had this book on the National Geographic Photographer David Doubilet called 'Water Light Time' published by Phaidon. It contains incredible images of marine life & I was also really interested in underwater photography so it was decided to work with several images from the book. We had to contact the photographer's agent and request the rights to the eventual image, in the end the image of a delicate coral in the hand worked best within the 12-inch format.

Were there lots of different options for the cover?

Not really no. It was a choice between 5 potential images and the coral in the hand worked best within the frame. Then it was a case of working with type to best balance the information with the beauty of the image itself.

The Blue Room EP Album Cover as posted in Tim Moore's interview on Coldplay.com on 8th October 2010

Were the band involved with the process?

Not after the first meeting, no. I remember they gave feedback on the first visuals and liked the crop and the way in which the cover felt using a simple layout & clean typography. I remember wondering how I could work more of my own ideas on this job, but to be honest at this time pure typography alongside photography didn't play to my strengths. This was a lesson to me & soon after I ended up working for one of Europe's top designers for 3 years to greatly improve my typographic skills.

Were you a fan of Coldplay's music? Obviously it was very early days for them.

I had never heard of them before I received an early copy of the EP & knew straight away that they had a sound that would go on to be very popular. It wasn't my kind of sound, but I did appreciate the production even then, the Bigger Stronger & High Speed tracks felt like well-honed pop records. I was fresh out of college, & had been djing and producing underground dance music since I was 16 so I didn't take the music as seriously as I might have. I would certainly take the cover in a new direction now, but hindsight is a luxury of the past.

How much time did you spend on the design?

Probably about a week as I also did a promo mail out in the form of the coral from the cover image. I remember thinking the CD worked best, as the Digipac opened up and the CD on body was the coral with the hand sitting behind it under the clear tray to make it seem as you were removing the coral from the hand. It's such a beautiful image and ended up working well across formats with the tone of the EP.

Were you pleased with the finished result?

I learnt a lot on the job and it was great to work with an image of such power, but I had little creative freedom & when the vinyl came out the record company had placed this huge white limited edition box below the type in the lower left hand corner without consulting me, which completely messed the entire balance of the cover and just felt like such a careless thing to do… I was pretty shocked by that to tell you the truth.

And what do you think of it now?

The cover is really the photograph & the photograph is excellent so it certainly works as an arresting image & fits the music well in terms of the mood, with almost ten years having passed there are lots of things I would change especially the type on the back - it makes me cringe. It's probably the worst bit of typesetting I have ever let out into the world but as a cover it works well.

The EP goes for quite a bit on eBay now - do you still have a copy?

Yes I still have copies of the CD and vinyl release + some very rare and rather basic blank colour versions that have a varnished finish to them. I was lucky enough to be given the 0001 copy of the 12 inch so if anyone wants the first ever limited release of Coldplay's Blue Room EP on Parlophone make me an offer! It's been in my portfolio for some time, so it's pretty mint.

Do you tell people about your role in Coldplay's career?

It's always been a useful door opener when it came to working for other labels & design companies, but it's nearly ten years ago now so I don't tend to bring it up that often. I am still proud to have been involved though.

Have you designed many covers since?

I have designed quite a few, but mainly for independent labels as on the whole that's where I find a lot of the music I love. I designed the Nigeria Special series for Soundway records & created designs for other releases on that label. I Art Direct the House music label Prime Numbers out of Manchester, I also designed much of the early firecracker records releases & I am currently working on a new label for Electronic Sound records.

Are you still designing? What do you work on these days?

As Art director of Nth Creative I get to design lots of different things which is how we like it, although we make sure thats it's for things we like which sometimes reduces the big fees but keeps us inspired & engaged. I design logos for companies such as Canongate books, websites for Galleries & a lot of work for the music industry. I am currently designing my brother's new record label, I have just finished the cover for my new record which is out now… It's a track called Shake Your Body Down by Discreet Unit on Prime Numbers. I am also trying to get time to design our new website as the current site is about 3 years out of date. I am a visiting lecturer at Edinburgh College of Art, although since moving to Cornwall the visits have become less frequent. And when I get the time beyond all that I am doing up an old barn in Cornwall which I hope to turn into a studio in the very near future.

And do you still keep an eye on Coldplay's progress?

I listen to a wide spectrum of music, but to be honest Coldplay's sound is not regularly on my system. I did like the last album & could certainly hear the effect Brian Eno had in terms of the production, it's great that they have been so successful & I hope it all stays positive for them.

The Oracle on The Blue Room EP

February 1, 2012 - submitted by Caleb, Malaysia
Q. Hey Oracle, I just bought Coldplay's The Blue Room E.P for GBP 20.00 and the item is in good condition but it have a little defects on the back cover. Since this is my first time buying things online, I want to make sure that the purchase is a good purchase. Therefore, I want to ask you about The Blue Room E.P. Can you please tell me how many of them were produce and are they considered as rare items? :)
Thanks in advance for your help! :)
The Oracle replies:
It would depend from which batch the cd you have is from. The initial run of the E.P was 5000 which is considered low and would make the item somewhat rare. It was re-issued a couple of years later which means it was more readily available and therefore cds from that batch wouldn't be considered to be rare.
I don't have access to serial numbers so can't help you work out whether yours is from the earlier or later pressing.

December 21, 2011 - submitted by Britt, United States of America
Q. Hello, Oracle! I have a CD copy of the Safety Room EP, but I'm not sure if it's the original 1999 version or the 2001 re-release. Is there any way to tell the difference?
The Oracle replies:
Unless I am going mad, do you mean The Blue Room? The Saftey EP was never re-released... It was 'released' in 1998 too so that would rule it out. It's hard to know with The Blue Room but I'm not sure it would make much difference in financial worth or investment terms.

November 12, 2010 - submitted by Karen M, Colombia
Q. Q.Dear Oracle
the hand that is in the picture of the Blue Room EP is from one of the guys? Or is from another person?
Thanks!
Bye.
The Oracle replies:
Anchorman recently interviewed the designer of the Blue Room EP's cover; the hand in the photo does not belong to anyone in the band.
The article explains the picture was sourced from a magazine.

September 25, 2010 - submitted by Dan, United States of America
Q. Good day to you Oracle,
I was wondering if the name for The Blue Room Ep stemmed from an unreleased song with that name; quite like LeftRightLeftRightLeft (Coldplay's live album from the Viva La Vida Era).
As always I appreciate your time and consideration.
Thanx
Dan
P.S. How Is Your Life Today?
The Oracle replies:
There was never a song called The Blue Room; it doesn't exist, unlike Leftrightleftrightleft that does but hasn't been released (as you say). The Blue Room got its name from the studio where it was recorded.
p.s My life today is great. Thanks for asking!

April 16, 2010 - submitted by Baran, Germany
Q. Dear Oracle,
The Blue Room ep there are 5,000 copies, I have a promo of The Blue Room and wanted to get you ep questions whether this is or whether it really is just a fake. The ep has no image and only in white above and below the name in blue Coldplay The Blue Room ep
Moreover, still stuck two stickers on it. In front the phone numbers of Kevin McCabe, Mike Walsh and Jackie Jenkins are on it. On the back side is a sticker on it on the band's history.
One more quick question, I have a Brothers & Sisters Cd original unopened wrapped in foil, will you have this, perhaps, because it has all started with this CD, so to speak?
The Oracle replies:
The first run of the Blue Room EP was limited to 500 copies and what you have is a promo copy from EMI so is not a fake exactly although different of course from the released version in appearance only. Promos usually state "not for resale" on them.
I have never seen a foil wrapped promo of Brothers & Sisters; it wasn't released in one and it would be unusual for it to be.

September 1, 2009 - submitted by Nikki, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle,
How much is The Blue Room EP worth?
Thanks,
Nikki
The Oracle replies:
Around the £40 mark but can of course reach more in online auctions.

August 12, 2009 - submitted by sam, Australia
Q. Oracle,
Who's hand is it in the Blue Room EP cover?
Who's idea was it?
Why is that version of Don't Panic so different and cool? Who made them change it to the version on Parachutes?
The Oracle replies:
It isn't a band member; it's a deep sea diver. The design company Blue Source, erm, sourced the photo. Mark Tappin who used to work there still has a creative input on Coldplay artwork.
The first version of Don't Panic was recorded with a different producer to the album. Chris Allison worked with the band before Ken Nelson was brought it for Parachutes. The band and label preferred the material with Ken's production.

April 3, 2009 - submitted by Jean Baptiste, France
Q. Dear Oracle. I recently bought the Blue room EP and I was wondering : "to who belongs the hand on the cover ?" Chris? Will? Guy? Jonny?
Thanks
The Oracle replies:
The design company chose that shot and it isn't actually a photograph of anyone in the band.


Chris Martin | Guy Berryman | Jonny Buckland | Will Champion
Phil Harvey | Brian Eno | Ken Nelson
Discography
EPs: Safety EP | The Blue Room EP | Norwegian Live EP | Prospekt's March EP | Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
Albums: Parachutes | A Rush of Blood to the Head | X&Y | Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends | Mylo Xyloto
Live albums: Live 2003 | LeftRightLeftRightLeft | Live 2012
Compilations: The Singles 1999-2006
Miscellaneous: Ode to Deodorant | Mince Spies | Christmas Lights
Unofficial collections: A Rush Of B-Sides To Your Head | Castles | After After Before
Singles: Brothers & Sisters | Shiver | Yellow | Trouble | Don't Panic | In My Place | The Scientist | Clocks | God Put A Smile Upon Your Face | Speed of Sound | Fix You | Talk | The Hardest Part | What If | Violet Hill | Viva la Vida | Lost! | Lovers In Japan | Life In Technicolor ii | Strawberry Swing | Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall | Paradise | Charlie Brown | Princess Of China | Hurts Like Heaven
Tours: A Rush of Blood to the Head Tour | Twisted Logic Tour | Latin America Tour 2007 | Viva La Vida Tour | Mylo Xyloto Tour
Other Stuff
Songs | Videography | Concert Reviews | Coldplay Chronology | Collaborations
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