"We're a bit like The Monkees... but without being twats"Birmingham’s Editors have been compared to Echo & The Bunnymen or - sigh, how obvious? - Joy Division. Don’t be fooled. Sure, Editors have their earnest side but these are not gloomy men moping about in long coats. No sir.
Just check out the awesome ‘You Are Fading’, the B-side to brilliant recent single ‘Bullets’. This song - a B-side let's not forget - says it all about Editors, namely that they’re a supremely confident band capable of writing songs stuffed full of ambition, hope, and romance. That said songs sound fantastic too seems merely an afterthought.
Not only that but anyone who supports Nottingham Forest – that would be guitarist Chris Urbanowicz then – must have a sense of humour!
DiS caught up with the Forest-flag waving guitarist via the interweb to have a chat about those Joy Division comparisons, why Editors chose to work with Elbow’s Guy Garvey - and indeed UNKLE producer Jim Abbiss, - what we can expect from forthcoming single ‘Munich’, and how crisps and fizzy orange are the perfect tonic for good health.
How did Editors get together?
We were all on the same course at University. Ed and myself lived together in halls and the other two joined us for the the last two years. That makes about four years living together. We're a bit like The Monkees in fact... but without being twats.
I know this is a slightly naff, 'Smash Hits'-style question but, er,I've gotta ask, where did you get your name from? What was wrong with Snowfield?
Snowfield is a bad name. It didn't really reflect what we were about and people would get preconceptions about what we sounded like and Snowfield sound like a bad band.
The name Editors simply sounds and looks a lot better. It arose for that reason. I guess we all like the way editors can oversee the world and transcribe it in their own words.
What made you sign to Kitchenware?
In the end, it was an easy choice to make. We had a number of options and chose the label that most shared our creative vision for the future.
We chose the label that was most passionate about us and the one that we felt would let us develop long term.
Being on an indie is a great place to be at the moment: Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand are proving that. It gives you an enormous sense of security knowing that the label is going to treat you like people instead of puppets.
Editors have been compared to, variously, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division, and Interpol. Which, if any, of these is accurate? What influences Editors musically or otherwise?
Although we listen to all of those bands, its difficult to say if we sound like them. It's very easy and a bit lazy for people to see a dark band with a baritone vocal and say they sound like Joy Division. A lot of people come up to us at gigs that were there the first time round and say that we remind them of the intensity of Joy Division.
Personally, I have never seen them live so I have no idea if they're right or not.
Other bands have influenced us a lot more over the years especially in the early days. We have always loved bands like Elbow and Doves and more recently The Walkmen. They are very passionate, literate, dynamic bands.
Personally, I think the Cure write the perfect songs. Dark and unsettling songs that have a pop hook. I think creating a credible pop record is the hardest thing to achieve in music.
What made you decide to work with Guy Garvey & Jim Abbiss? Who would you like to work with in the future?
Finding out that Guy wanted to work with us was a tremendous honour. I've seen Elbow live on lots of occasions and love the albums. It was probably the best news we've had recently and we cant wait to get going on the b-sides with him. Just listening to the list of acts Jim had worked with made our mind up straight away: UNKLE, DJ Shadow, Ladytron, Kasabian. It was lucky that when we met him, he saw our vision and said exactly what we were thinking about recording the album in getting some electronic undercurrents through our live sound. It was almost like he had a brief of what we wanted. In the future we would like Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson to do our videos.
How would you describe your new single 'Munich'? What's it all about? Have you ever been to Munich?
Lyrically, ‘Munich’ suggests a fragility in people. We generally like to theme a song and let the listener take it where they feel it should go.
As a song, it's easier to stomach than Bullets which was very angular and a bit difficult. It was one of the first songs we did that had a proper groove and it really helped mould our sound. We recorded it at Christmas time and are really happy with the version we're putting out even though its slightly structurally different to its live moniker.
I've never been to Munich. Obviously, we wanted to do the video there so we could get a free holiday but surprisingly we weren't allowed. Bastards.
Have you a set idea about what your debut album will sound like or will it just magically 'just happen'?
We always seem to get the best results when we're all in the same room and trying to get the same vibe that we have live. As it's our debut, it will be an introduction into what we are about live but with more layers, dynamics and undertones of electronics. If we produce an album that sounds intense and exciting with enough underneath to keep people coming back to it and learning more about us then we will be very happy boys.
Who writes the songs? Is there a central theme to them or are they all about wildly differing experiences (man)?
Tom writes the songs in his bedroom and then a mini-disc will go out to us lot who make it sound better! The themes we try to put across both lyrically and in the dynamics of the music are the major ones; love, life, loss and the like. We all have our views and we have an opportunity to transcribe them and offer them to others.
Having seen some of your press shots, you all look impossibly young and handsome. Would you agree? What tips do you have to keep the ravages of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle at bay?
The rumours are true, yes we are 'impossibly young and handsome'. We recommend a staple diet of multipack value crisps and renegade orangeade.
What other Birmingham bands should we look out for? Does England's second city have much of a music scene?
The scene is pretty good at the moment to be honest. There are some good venues and people have started to go out and see bands again. Chester Road, Big Bang, and Murdoch are my favourites. They're all getting attention and deservedly so.
What does 2005 hold in store for Editors?
The first priority is to get the album right and then we will be doing as many festivals as we're invited to. Hopefully my passport will get some use later in the year as well. Who knows?
Finally, City or Villa?
Nottingham Forest. Hello League 1!
Editor’s new single ‘Munich’ is due for release in April with B-sides produced by Elbow’s Guy Garvey. The single precedes a joint headline tour with Moving Units. Check out the dates here