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    Making The Headlines

Since Editors burst onto the scene in January with the sublime and now highly sought after single 'Bullets', the Birmingham-based band have been showered with boundless superlatives from critics and music fans alike. And rightly so. Brooding, epic and with a sound that's truly mature beyond their years, for anyone who has a penchant for music with driving melodies that genuinely rouses emotions then Editors deserve your adulation. Currently touring their arses off to promote their stirring sound, Gigwise caught up with vivacious frontman Tom Smith...

 Reflecting on the said glorification his band have been receiving, Smith is pleased they're not empty over-hyped plaudits - rather they're grounded on either the band's outputs or their gigs: "A lot of the praise we've been getting has been for singles and live performances. They've always been a reaction to something we've actually done so it's natural praise really. Luckily we haven't been splashed all over the front page of magazines; they're the kind of bands people spit out after a while. People are just deciding for themselves about us which is the way it's meant to be."

And deciding fans have been doing in their hordes, with their second single 'Munich' cracking the charts at number 22. Smith enthuses: "It was unbelievably really. We knew the track was charting at 12 midweek and although it ended at 22 it was still brilliant… It's amazing that since then people have started to take notice, most of the festivals have approached us to appear on the bill." Having been barely signed up for any festivals, since 'Munich' the band are now booked for Reading and Leeds, T in the Park and Oxegen amongst others. Surely CD:UK and Top of the Pops soon beckon? "We'll see how it goes. I think it's not cool to turn those shows down nowadays. So we wouldn't write it off!"

As anyone fortunate enough to have bore witness to an Editors live show will tell you they've steadily become nothing short of breathtaking - brimming with conviction and a burning intensity. It's a sentiment that Smith shares about the audience: "We did our first tour in January and since then it's really taken off. Before 'Bullets' was out there were only a few people in every town that knew us at the gigs. Since then it's been getting ridiculous though, the atmosphere is unbelievable."

It's little wonder then that Editors' debut single is already fetching ridiculous amounts of money on a well known Internet auction site. A seven-inch is believed to have gone recently for over £30 – lofty amounts for a group still in their relative infancy. Asked whether the band have a secret stash of the track to earn them an extra few bob, Smith deftly explains: "The seven inches are the ones that are really taking off… Unfortunately though we only got one copy each and I gave mine to my Mum!"

With an impending album due for release in "mid-July" it seems excitement can only escalate. Typically bound by record company red tape, unfortunately Smith is unable to divulge the album's title. Damn them. Fortunately though, Tom elatedly proclaims Editors were not plagued by the toils of recording their debut. Instead it was a surprisingly straightforward process: "It was done and dusted six weeks ago. We set aside five weeks between tours but it only took three and a half weeks, it was unbelievably fast and easy really. We just can't wait for people to hear it."

Recorded with prestigious producer Jim Abbiss who's worked with an eclectic array of artists including UNKLE, Kasabian, Bjork and The Music, Smith promises the album has a textured sound but has "pop" leanings at the centre: "We've taken our typical live sound and added more depth to it. There are synths and dark electronic undertones on there. I wouldn't say it's quite prog-rock though… The music is lyrically and musically dark and atmospheric, so I'd have to say it's intelligent pop music."

Smith proclaims there's a certain gravity at the hub of Editors' album. He explains: "I think our next single 'Blood' has the darkest content but there's still a massive, poppy chorus on it… Also there's definitely a sting in the tail at the end of the album, but people are just gonna have to wait for that." Covering broad issues, Smith admits the album's lyrical content is equally weighty: "We don't really have an agenda for the lyrics. They cover big, general themes like love, life, death and loss but I always try to keep them ambiguous. People should make their own interpretations. There are no out and out stories, we just want to provoke thought."

It's fair to say there'll be no chirpy moments on the album then. Although Smith says that may be an idea for the future, he agrees there's no upbeat frivolities on their immediate agenda: "Yeah, there's no 'Shiny Happy People' on there. I do like the way The Talking Heads recorded quite upbeat pop but still remained cool… At some point I suppose we'd like to make a happy record that's still cool". He adds: "A lot of our songs have optimism wrapped in sadness; it's the kind of music I grew up listening to."

Indeed, due to their gloomy, potent sound Editors' influences are pretty easy to pinpoint. Refreshingly, Smith does not shy away from any parallels, whole-heartedly agreeing the band draws upon an array of eminent artists: "Obviously, we're dark and moody so yeah we build on the sound of the likes of Joy Division, Echo and the Bunnymen and The Chameleons… Obviously we were too young when these bands came out, so it's only more recently that we discovered them." He also sees Editors as kindred spirits with a host of recent bands including Elbow, Doves and The Longcut.  Thankfully, Smith distances the band from the dim-witted name calling of a certain pair of bands on the other side of the pond: "I wouldn't say there are any bands we don't like at the moment but I just hate the way The Bravery and The killers are acting. To be honest I wouldn't mind if they just wiped each other out."

Looking to the forward, fortunately Smith states the Editors are here to stay. A point confirmed by their decision to sign for the minuscule Newcastle-based label: "Kitchenware just felt the most comfortable, they had long-term plans. A lot of these big labels throw loads of money at bands and if they don't sell 'x' amount of albums, the band are in big trouble. There's a risk of them being a flash in the pan." In fact he believes the label will be no hindrance on the band becoming big: "I think Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party have proved that bands can cross over and appeal to the mainstream and remain on an independent label." Truly, if Editors make as big an impact as either of these bands then the music world will be a much better place.

© Scott Colothan
gigwise.com
Apr 05