EDITORS – Interview

Foto-© Rahi Rezvani

Es ist wenige Tage nach dem Release des neusten Editors-Album EBM. Ein richtiger Meinungsspalter, wenn man sich die Artikel dazu durchliest. Es ist das erste Album mit Neu-Mitglied Benjamin Power, besser bekannt als der Electronic-Künstler Blanck Mass. Und weil endlich (oder zumindest kurzweilig) so etwas wie Normalität in der Musikwelt eingekehrt ist, befindet sich die Band schon auf dem Absprung zu ihrer ersten Europa-Tour seit Februar 2020.

Ich schalte mich mit Drummer und Editors-Gründungsmitglied Ed Lay zusammen. Wir sprechen voller Euphorie über die anstehende Tour, wer die Editors eigentlich wirklich sind, was der Neuzugang verändert hat und wieso der neue Ton auf EBM gar nicht so neu ist.

Ed, excited to hit the road tomorrow?
I’m totally excited. First time we’ve been out in a long time. I mean, we’ve done some shows over the summer, but to actually create a tour and the setlist and the buzz about just ourselves and the new record, you never get tired of that.

Editors have been on road all the time. I can’t think of a year where you haven’t been on a tour or playing festivals. Even though the question is a bit over done at this point, still wonder how this last couple of years affected you as a band, that has been around for so long?
Probably not as negatively as it did a lot of bands. Because we’ve almost come to the end of our touring in 2020. What it allowed us to do is really solidly work on getting this record out together. And as soon as kind of things freed themselves up a little bit, we were able to come out at this point and give people the new music and hope that they like it and just play with as much energy as possible in these next couple of weeks.

I mean now it’s the perfect time to release a distracting album to blend out all the shit that is going on in the world and the UK.
Sounds like it, feels like we’re deep in it now. It’s kind of only gonna get worse. So I’m leaving at the right time.

Being on tour also gives you the opportunity to just be in the moment.
Exactly. I’ve genuinely always loved being out on tour in Europe. Every city you turn up in is different. And we’re going to a few new venues this time out as well. Just that journey of discovery is something that’s always made me want to continue being in a band, it’s not just all about the creative side in the studio. I feel really creative when we’re out and about, enjoying other people’s company.

It’s the time when the music really comes alive, I think especially with the new album. It’s really exciting how this will play out.
I think it is an album that deserves to be played live. We’re playing quite a lot of it on the new tour. There’s only a couple of songs that haven’t made it onto the setlist. To have Ben (Power) in there with his ability to make electronics come alive in a sort of weirdly human fashion, is quite something.

We’ve been playing a couple of tracks over the summer with Ben there, rather than the kind of mock version of Ben, where we had maybe an arpeggiator playing off a track that was just flat, it was doing the job, but keeping a rhythm rather than actually playing a musical part. Ben brings that to his manipulation of these sounds. It’s not something everyone can get their head around or do, but it really makes the songs come alive. When we were playing Kiss for the first time, shit, this is what it’s like playing with LCD Soundsystem or something. It really connected with the audience, but it’s still electronic dance music. I can’t wait to unleash it. It is so powerful!

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I’m curious: You announced Ben as a new member of the band, not just as collaborator. I wonder if it’s like a football club situation where you have a great talent on loan for a season or two. And then you let them go again, or if that is something really long term. Because in my opinion, it determines the musical path of the Editors quite a bit.
I think we have to play it by ear. I don’t think there’s any point in sort of saying nothing will happen without Ben’s input or nothing will happen without Justin’s input or something like that. Editors will go on, I’ve been sort of a mainstay, all the way through it. And I’ve been lucky, but we’re into our third generation of the band now. One of the glorious things about this band is that we haven’t really missed a beat. We’ve always done something that sort of pushes the boundaries of what people have expected of us on every single record, no matter the personnel behind it, no matter the producer behind it, or whether we’ve self produced it.

I think our choices have always been interesting. And so hopefully, I mean, I like to think Ben will be around for a long, long time. Maybe this is the start of a three album period, where we can sort of consolidate as a six person unit. And then we’ll see if maybe there’s another change happening at the end of that. Being a career band is amazing, because you get to sample so many different types of music and so different genres and experiences. If you just plowed one course and had a massive hit and just kept on going on that, I don’t see that as being a very exciting way to be.

I read some interviews and reviews for EBM and I was surprised how…surprised the people were? In my eyes, Editors had always a strong sense of electronic music in it. You just said it, bending boundaries and not putting out what people would expect. Sure, there were a lot more guitars in the centre of it all, but it was never not there. I mean, Papillon is one of your most successful tracks and then still people wondering why you’d go this path. For me it makes perfect sense. Your last record, Violence, had very much electronica woven into all the songs.
It’s really strange. And I’m completely with you. We’ve had electronic strings trough our songs from day one. On The Back Room even, although it’s very stripped out. Blood has gotten this kind of weird, whipping cushion track running up through the whole thing. There’s multiple examples where we’ve kind of used manipulated samples and sounds, that’s kind of been the backbone of In Dream as well and Violence is as you said.

We’re a funny band, because people look at our first two records and hear our music on the radio occasionally. They saw that we went from that to An End Has a Start, and a lot of people’s opinions of Editors stopped there. They sort of froze us in time. But then you say we did Papillon… I don’t really understand what people think we are anymore. But we’ve always just kind of gone: Well, we’ll just do it. We want to do, what we feel fit’s the makeup of our band at the time. And we’re happy with it. I understand you, because I completely feel the same way. I don’t really understand what sort of band people think we are.

I mean, there are a few contenders on EBM that are quite out there and have a lot of edges. Listening through the record, it seems especially you have a lot more to do from now on live. I mean, the drums are so distinctive and dynamic and I guess you will play a lot of it live?
To be honest, it’s been excellent. It doesn’t feel like it’s gone against my natural grain at all. It’s been a really, really fun process actually. We didn’t want to take away the sort of techno elements from the songs. We were worried about putting real drums and real bass on it. What would it do to the songs, would it make them too normal? But I think it added to the weight of it that we think it deserves.

When you’re gonna see a live band like The Prodigy, or Nine Inch Nails, or someone like that, they are industrial, full on dance music with a kind of beating human rhythmic heart. That’s what we were aiming for. With fully universal certainty, to put on to these songs is bloody hard though…I’m not getting any younger. So I hope I’ve got the stamina to get through. We’ll see at the end of the tour how frail and knackered I am.

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That get’s me so excited for the tour! And it’s so nice to see how much fun you have bringing EDM on stage.
People on the outside look at us and see miserabilist epic indie rock people. But there’s certainly a sense of fun. We were intense, I’ll give you that. But out of that intensity comes a sense of relief sometimes. There’s a bit of humor involved. It was funny for us calling the album EBM because it relates to Electronic Body Music, but also the fact that it’s Blanck Mass joining Editors. It was kind of written in the stars, we thought it was a joke. But it lends itself to that kind of really graphic colorful artwork as well. I thought it was a really good opportunity for us to get something so eye catching on the front of one of our records.

Something else people were complaining about: A colourful Editors artwork!
You said you sometimes don’t know how people understand the Editors. I wonder if you can give me a quick definition of how you as a band member sees the band right now.
It will probably not be quick. One of the band members, whether it was Tom or Elliot, described us as a band with an identity crisis. But that’s not a bad thing! If you look at all of our albums back to back — in our early career, people called us Joy Division wannabes, with the second record we were Coldplay knock offs. On the third record we did Depeche Mode. People always branded the band, because we haven’t got a defining sound. But we’ve got a defining theme. We’ve always tried to get into intensity on our records, no matter whether that’s through a sort of acoustic song like The Phone Book on The Weight of Your Love, or You Don’t Know Love on the third record, or No Harm on In Dream. There’s always been some kind of intensity about our music, and that makes us excited.

I think if there isn’t anything to hold on to, throw it away. Even with our most pop moments, there’s always something about it that feels intense. For that, it probably throws us into that kind of serious balanced territory, but we definitely have got humor abounds! We just don’t tend to shout about it.

That would make it too easy for people to throw you into the next box.
There’s a lot to be said about keeping a bit of mystique. I don’t think everybody needs to know about our day to day lives. I don’t think people need to have too much from behind the curtain. It’s really nice to do some interviews and tell people a little bit about the processes and stuff. But I don’t think people need to have all bands shoven down their throats.

Editors Tour:
10.10.22 Leipzig, Felsenkeller
13.10.22 Berlin, Tempodrom
23.10.22 München, Dampfdom
24.10.22 Düsseldorf, Mitsubishi Electric Halle

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