Earlier this year, Saint Etienne’s much-loved album, Tiger Bay, turned 25 and, to celebrate the anniversary, the band have just put out a special-edition box set of the record featuring a bunch of rarities and demos.

The record was Saint Etienne’s third long-player and provided them with the opportunity for a change in direction. It placed traditional folk melodies at its core and clothed them with electronica and orchestral arrangements in the creation of a thrilling and cohesive set, that sounds just as exciting now as it did within its mid-90s context.

With Tiger Bay, the trio set themselves a specific task: to breakaway from the parameters that defined their debut, Foxbase Alpha, and its follow-up, So Tough. This meant no more songs about their usual hangout places in London, no samples and no film snippets as interludes between tracks. It had the sound of a band growing up and also demonstrated what, with hind-sight, appear to be the blueprints for some of their later concept albums.

For fans, the highlight of the new box set is, undoubtedly, a 13 track CD album of previously unreleased ‘stripped-back’ versions and arrangements, taken from the original master tapes.

In the spirit of an intricate, minutiae-focused revisit of Tiger Bay, we asked Bob Stanley, Pete Wiggs and Sarah Cracknell as well as their manager, Martin Kelly, to share with The 405 some lesser-known facts about the record and its release era.

Sarah, speaking about the album artwork: “The cover of Tiger Bay was taken from an old painting, with our three faces added in to replace the original faces. We had to pose for an artist, who’s name escapes me, for some time. Pete and I went together one day and got off lightly but poor Bob went alone and was forced to wear a stinky old fisherman-style shirt and crouch down in an unbearably uncomfortable position for hours!”

Bob: “Brett Anderson collared us in a bar after the album came out and asked "What's that album cover all about then? What's that all about?" - I can't remember if we knew the answer then, but I certainly don't know it now.”

Pete, on the ‘Hug My Soul’ video: “We believed [video director] Steven Wells’s assertion that the bear suit featured in the video would be 'frighteningly realistic' - winning him the commission”.

Bob, on devising the record: “We borrowed a stack of folk albums from a neighbour to find suitable tunes to write new lyrics to - she was Francesca Simon, who then went on to write the Horrid Henry books.”

Pete, on the opener, ‘Urban Clearway’: “That cowbell-ish sound at the beginning of the song is a sample of one of us tapping a drinks coaster in [engineer] Ian Catt's studio.”

Bob on coming up with the name ‘I Buy American Records’ for the song originally left off the album but released on the ‘Hug My Soul’ extended play: “I took the name from a record with a similar title by - I think - Sheila, the 60s ye-ye singer. I can't remember the exact title, but it was relatable subject matter.”

Pete, on the instrumental dance track, ‘Cool Kids Of Death’: “This track was going to be called ‘Sven’ and we recently unearthed a spoken-verse for it by Sarah that all of us had totally forgotten writing and recording.” [it is now included in the box set’s Tapestry CD].

Bob: “David Whitaker, who did the string arrangements for the album, was a real gentleman. He invited us to his home in Oxfordshire for dinner. He cooked us ratatouille, which he pronounced with an exaggerated French accent and lots of rolling r's.”

Pete: “Our US record label wanted us to rename 'Like A Motorway' to 'Like A Freeway' to boost record sales in America, but art triumphed over commercial success.”

Martin Kelly: “We took out expensive full-page ads for Tiger Bay in all the big music papers but then got an early heads-up that the NME review trashed it and gave it a 3/10 rating with the headline "Crock Of The Bay”. We were angry - we’d paid NME £10k for a full-page ad! It turned out that there was time to change it so we got a pushbike courier to deliver new artwork for the ad featuring a scan of my hand in a one-fingered gesture with ‘saint etienne tiger bay’ on top of my index finger.”

Saint Etienne’s 25-anniversary Tiger Bay box set is out now. The band will perform the album in its entirety at a number of shows across the U.K including a performance at the Barbican in London tonight accompanied by the London Contemporary Orchestra. Full tour dates are available here.