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The Editors - A Fuller Sound, Second Time Round

Author: Andrew Weaver
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
On tour in Australia for the first time, Editors have returned to their roots (of a sort).  In between headlining gigs, a Splendour in the Grass experience, the British four-piece spent some quality time in a dingy, grungy pub, hiding away from the pack of journalists snapping at their heels.

“It’s dirty, it’s smelly, there’s beer stains on the carpet,” says drummer Ed Lay of the pub in question.  “It’s that dreadful smell whenever you go past a public area in a pub and you get that waft of smell of stale beer.”

It’s not something that Editors have, in the wake of releasing their sophomore set An End Has a Start, experienced for some time – they’re transitioned from Next Big Thing status to actually BE a big thing, with their music all over the radio, their faces all over the music presses, and their new album garnering impressive reviews throughout the world.

“To be honest,” he says, “our music really suits being in arenas.  When we went on tour with Franz Ferdinand we learnt a lot in terms of how to project ourselves on stage and to step up to the big challenges.  When we were their support band in Europe and the UK they showed us how to handle that and how to make ourselves as confident as possible, and we’re getting better and better at it the more we play, obviously.”

The pressure of the band’s rise has placed certain expectations as to where Editors will take their music – the vast majority expect the band to follow the path of Snow Patrol and make a successful attack on the fickle music market of the United States.

“We’re all very aware of what work we need to put in,” he confirms.  “We need to show people what we’ve got live, and in America we’ve got to almost treat it as if it’s our home country, and we’ve got to go over there and tour like you would back in England – do month-and-a-half tours there pretty regularly and establish ourselves there.”

As such, Ed says the band are thriving on any record company or industry-related pressure put upon them – and the band’s own ambition to be a band for their times makes them enjoy every moment of it.  “We want to make as many people as possible hear our music,” he says of Editors lofty ambitions to rule the world, and that’s how he thinks a band like Editors can achieve them – by getting out there and presenting themselves to as many people as possible.

Of course, luck helps when it comes to ‘breaking’ America – while that’s the route that Snow Patrol followed, they also had the fortune to be picked by the creator of hit medical melodrama Grey’s Anatomy, and their songs added on a seemingly endless loop to the soundtrack of every episode.

With a song like album opener and first single “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors”, perhaps Editors have the perfect number to be the next ‘house’ band for the show.

“I don’t think we’d like to do that,” he avers, somewhat awkwardly.  “Obviously there’ve been changes in the music industry even in the last year, and in order to make your career last you’re going to have to make decisions on new ways of marketing yourself.  Certainly licensing to a program is more of a viable option now than it was two years ago when we had The Back Room out, because that might be one of the only ways that we’ve got to get across to any mass public.

“But in terms of the way we’d LIKE to do it,” he enthuses, “and the way we did it in the UK is that we didn’t rely on any press hype or radio play – we just got out there and played as many gigs as possible.”

Perhaps it’s that very decision to do so that informed the sound of An End Has a Start – it sounds very much like a band inspired by playing live, and wanting to create a sound that would specifically work in the live format with the inwards looking sound of their debut replaced with a fuller-bodied, all-embracing sound.

It’s a more open record that feels ready-made for the open-air stadia and festivals like Glastonbury, Reading, et al that are so beloved by English music punters in the northern summer.

“All of our experiences through touring are reflected on the album,” he confirms.  “We wanted to make a really grand-sounding album, we wanted to make the sound on the record more like what we do live whereas The Back Room is a bit more edgy, a bit staccato, a bit thin in places.  The thing we wanted to create [for the new album] was something that was more textured and with more depth and energy, and I think we’ve achieved that.”

Editors’ An End Has a Start is out now.

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