Bono confessed that he loved Sugimoto’s seascape photographs and began quizzing the artist about the work.
“He started taking notes as I talked,” Sugimoto recalled. Those notes became the foundation for the new album’s title track. Last year, during a visit to Dublin, Sugimoto heard the first demo tape, and a few months later was told by Bono that U2 wanted to use the Boden Sea image on the album jacket.
“I said, ‘Are you sure? If you use it you won’t be able to put anything on top of it, not even the U2 name,” the artist remembered.
He was surprised when Bono strongly agreed. Rolling Stone is now calling the text-free jacket “an early front runner for album cover of the year.” (The cover also features an equal sign, but it is attached to the plastic wrapper, so it disappears once opened it.) Then came talk of money.
“I gave myself just a second to think about it,” Sugimoto recalled, “and I said ‘How about a Stone Age deal — no cash?’ ”
Bono agreed on an “artist-to-artist” barter whereby Sugimoto could use the “No Line on the Horizon” song in any project he wanted in the future. Sugimoto says he still hasn’t made up his mind about how to use the song — which he says he likes, but liked even better in its “more hard rock” demo stage.