It felt amazing to know that three albums in we have a fan base that’s interested and wanting to know where we’ve taken the band; interested in what we’ve created. In this day and age, you feel like the music fan is more transient than it has been before and to come back to know there are people interested in what we’re doing still was an amazing feeling.
story by Chris Castaneda
photo by Kevin Westenberg
After nearly eight years as a band, the U.K. quartet known as Editors has accomplished much in their relatively young career. In This Light and On This Evening (2009), the band’s third album, became Editors’ second consecutive number one album in the U.K. In this era of instant make-or-break success, singer/guitarist Tom Smith recognizes the good fortune that Editors have landed by being able to craft a career on the band’s terms. Perhaps, in time, America will realize what the U.K. already seems to know.
Chicago Innerview: How did producer Mark ‘Flood’ Ellis [U2, The Smashing Pumpkins] help and nourish the development of the band in the studio?
Tom Smith: I definitely think he helped. There’s some songs that he helped more than other songs; some songs we didn’t need so much help. Very early on when we started the rehearsal, we had a big pile of songs and we knew we kind of wanted to take them somewhere we hadn’t been before with our sound and the way we make songs. For example, ‘In This Light and on This Evening’, the title track. The version that’s on the album is the version we recorded before Flood was involved, but in the same session we recorded ‘Papillon’. Stylistically it was still the same, but it was a very different song from the one that Flood helped us make on the album. We needed his ears, we needed his instincts to kind of sift through all these ideas we had that we didn’t need and make it work as a pop song. On our previous records we agonized over things a lot more, taking days just to get the right snare sound and recording things piece by piece. This record was very different to the way we worked before, and Flood was the overriding reason for that being the case.
Chicago Innerview: Was he the initial choice to produce the album?
Tom Smith: He was for me. Of course, you never know until you get working with someone in the room if you’re going to get on personally. He was on the top of my list. For a couple members of the band, I think the fact that he has such a history and had made so many records was actually a negative thing. They might have wanted to work with someone younger who maybe was a bit more hungry to make a name for themselves. As soon as we met Flood and sat in with us in the rehearsal studio, talked about the songs, what he liked and what he didn’t like about them and the way he wanted to make the record, I think all four of us were in agreement from that point on.
Chicago Innerview: How have you handled Editors scoring back-to-back number one albums in the U.K.?
Tom Smith: It doesn’t feel like something you need to handle. That almost makes it sound like it’s some kind of burden that you have to carry. It felt amazing to know that three albums in we have a fan base that’s interested and wanting to know where we’ve taken the band; interested in what we’ve created. In this day and age, you feel like the music fan is more transient than it has been before and to come back to know there are people interested in what we’re doing still was an amazing feeling. We’ve always hoped that as we started the band and we started to make records and build our career that we’d have an audience like that. That’s the kind of audience you want to have.
Editors :: with The Antlers :: The Vic :: February 15.