UK Tour
February / March 2008
Questionnaire & Photography: Steve Bateman

Currently touring the UK in support of their second long player, An End Has A Start, Ed from Editors graciously volunteered to complete a R*E*P*E*A*T e-mail Q&A, whilst the group are travelling on the road.

The Birmingham-based band - Tom Smith (vocals / guitar), Chris Urbanowicz (guitar), Russell Leetch (bass) and Ed Lay (drums) - have certainly come a long way since their early days as Snowfield, and at the very centre of their desolate and desperate soundscapes, lies a beating heart of hope, beauty and compassion, in which an ever-increasing number of acolytes are finding solace.

With a canon of stunning songs, one of the finest and most dramatic baritone voices in modern music, a towering signature guitar sound, introspective lyrics and mercurial live shows that permanently burn themselves into your skull. There's no reason why Editors won't become one of the great bands of our generation!

An End Has A Start indeed, and thankfully, we're much closer to the start of the Editors than we are to their end…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

1. Growing up, was there a song that changed your life or that stirred something deep inside of you?
"The first time I heard Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill, I realised that music could be far more than incidental."

2. As a band, what was the first song that you ever played together, and how long after this was it until you realised that you had something special / that there was a chemistry between you all?
"When I joined the band, Bullets had already been written, and that was the song that led the others to believe they were onto something way above average. I guess after I joined, the next big move was playing Munich together in our little rehearsal room."

3. And what are your memories of the day that you signed your record contract?

"We all went out with our Managers and Keith Armstrong (Owner of Kitchenware), and had a good old curry on Birmingham's Ladypool Road - that seemed appropriate."

4. Both Bullets and The Back Room, rank amongst some of my favourite debut singles and albums respectively. But do you have any favourite debut records?
"I want to say Elbow: Asleep In The Back. But that band have not ceased to get better as their album numbers increase, so it hardly seems necessary to highlight their debut, but I do love it."

5. What would you choose as your 'Desert Island Discs'?
"VERY roughly…
David Bowie: Low - for its brilliance.
Sigur Rós: () - for the emotion.
Daft Punk: Discovery - for the memories (and a dance).
And some French language tapes - because I might as well learn something."

6. Is there anything in life that you've never tried, but would like to?

7. And are there any things that you would like to banish to Room 101?

"Automatic hand-dryers. They are either too hot, too cold, sensitive, insensitive… you get the picture."

8. What has been your biggest challenge to date?

"Recording Album 2: An End Has A Start."

9. Parts of your music have always had a strong cinematic quality, but if you ever had the opportunity to compose music for a film soundtrack, is this something that you would consider trying?
"That cinematic quality is not a coincidence, and yes, I think all of us would like to try something to do with film - that may be a soundtrack or a track for a film, but we are certainly interested."

10. When musicians write and record songs, it's a well-known fact that some come easily and naturally, whereas others have to be laboured over until they're finally right. When this happens to you, which is the more fulfilling?
"When I first heard the album back, I initially had 2 favourites: Escape The Nest and When Anger Shows. The former comes from the natural category, the latter was more laboured. So I guess they are equally fulfilling."

11. There is also a realisation amongst nearly every artist, in that they can never be completely content - there will always be a strong desire to create. Do you also share this feeling?
"I actually find great contentment in playing the songs we have laboured over to new audiences over the world, but having these experiences only makes me hungry for more."

12. Of all The Arts, which do you think is the most honest?

"All art is as honest as the people gaining pleasure from it."

13. Like the best bands, your b-sides are also of a consistently high standard - but are there any of these songs that you now wished had been album tracks?
"No. I think that the b-sides that we think are really good, will always come around on people's stereos when the mood takes them. Plus, they will have a place in our live sets, making them even more special to those that see them performed."

14. Do you have a special memory attached to a specific song - one of your own and one by another artist / band - which will always remind you of a certain period of your life each time you hear it?
"Too many to mention."

15. And if you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?

"Being born - only if I could remember to remember what it is like!"

16. Do you have any hobbies outside of the band?
"I love cooking when I go home. Living life from a bus or a hotel is fun, but it gives me such pleasure to get recipes, go shopping for ingredients and mess around in my kitchen."

17. Is there anything that you can tell us about yourself, which may surprise your fans?

"I don't drink Tea. I hate it."

18. You have clearly taken great care and consideration over the band's style and artwork. Is this important to you, and are there any artists / creative visuals that you admire?
"While none of us are visual artists, we have strong opinions on what we like and what suits our music, and we have been lucky to work with some fantastic people at the Tom Hingston Studio on this album. As for my personal taste, I have always liked bold artwork like the work of Gustav Klimt."

19. Have you ever asked anyone for an autograph, and can you remember the first time that you signed something for a fan?
"I just remember it being very odd having to sign autographs on albums for people, but even odder that people want us to sign ANYTHING, from plastic cups to napkins, just to have our signature. The only person I asked for a signature, was Andy Cairns - the lead singer of Therapy? - at my first gig when I was 14."

20. Editors live performances, are renowned for their high energy and grit. Is it important to you all, to give so much of yourselves - both emotionally & visually - every time you play?
"On the stage is where this band really excels, so to keep on improving and making it stunning to the audience, new and old, is incredibly important. Playing bigger venues and being able to invest more in the production is great fun, and it makes us hungry for even more."

21. As one of the great Summer Festival acts, if you were asked to curate one, which artists / bands would you ask to play?
"Most Festivals when you look across Europe, have the same old headliners - like Killers or Foo's etc. I think it would be good to get away from these, I guess in the way that Glastonbury have this year, getting in something out of the ordinary, but acts that I'm sure will entertain. I would love to invite among others, Bruce Springsteen, LCD Soundsystem and Nine Inch Nails, to try and outdo each other."

22. And if you could entice any group to reform - providing that all of the original members are still alive - who would it be?
"I would insist on The Mars Volta taking a break, so they could get back with At The Drive-In."

23. Has Editors surpassed your expectations, and what have been some of the standout moments in your career so far?
"Although we were always a confident bunch, there are always surprises. Playing such a great set at Glastonbury last year was one of them. Getting a Number 1 Album in our home country, but also getting such success in some European countries seems crazy. And just last weekend, we played to 11,000 people in the band's hometown at the Birmingham NIA. That tops the lot."

24. And has there been anything that the band didn't do, but now wished you had / an
ything that you did do but now wished you hadn't?
"I can honestly say, no. I don't have any regrets about how we have gone about our jobs. I just hope that this year, we can go on and write our best work yet."

25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?

"Chips please."

A very special thanks to Ed, to Jackie @ Zoot Music, and to Edith Bowman for all of their time and help.



"Every little piece in your life
Will add up to one
Every little piece of your life
Will mean something to someone"

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looking forward to it. (Laughs). It's difficult to say because the last few months have felt strange, it's felt like going down a plughole. I've got a real sense of vertigo at the moment. So I can't tell you that I'm looking forward to it. I will get through it and find where I land after that. That's what will happen.

Lucy: 'Taxidermy' and 'Drink Me' are quite drastically different in their musical styles, so what kind of sound can we expect from the 3rd album?
KJG: We don't know yet. We're playing a lot of new material tonight so you'll be able to judge that for yourself. When I'm this close up to it, it's really difficult to tell. I'm on a bit of a negative slant today, but usually with our music I can only hear the bits that have gone wrong rather
than anything that went right. When you reflect back on something it's very difficult to give an objective opinion, and I don't believe in objectivity anyway, I think everything's subjective. I just throw a deck of cards and
wherever they land, that's where she finds herself. I'm not really the one to explain my part in it, you must do that as the observer really, and of course that will reflect your part in the grand scheme of things.

Lucy: Do you enjoy playing live more than the creative process in the studio?
KJG: (Laughs) I don't enjoy any of it. It comes and it goes, ok? There's nothing like when you're writing and you manage to catch something by its
tail; when you're looking for those things underground that are skittering out of sight just when you're about to catch them. And when you catch them it is worth it, but it's a momentary pleasure. I've got so much noise upstairs, and I can hear things in my head that to me are absolutely devastatingly beautiful. I'm always trying to download them and get them
here, but they never get here in the right state, they're always very disabled and they don't even begin to imitate what I can hear in my head.
It's a frustrating process in the main.

Lucy: Your lyrics are simultaneously emotionally expressive and cryptic. Are you looking to be understood by your audience?
KJG: I'm always trying to understand myself, but it's like there's a point in the centre of the room, and there's a hundred windows to look at the same point from. All I can do is give you different angles on the same thing. God, you know, if I could find one conclusive thing in anything I would probably have something to put an anchor down on. But I cant, and I haven't met anyone that can. You can pick out anything you like in my lyrics, I don't seek to be cryptic. I love words for the sake of words, for me they're kind of free standing, and they don't really need to be explained. I think every word has its own character and colour and picture and the result you get with lyrics just depends how you put them together. You could just do it in a William Burroughs esque way, or throw the deck of cards, and you'd probably still find something that our tiny little minds would latch on to in order to gain some kind of emotional understanding. I don't think there's a constant, the only constant that there is for me is that there is no constant. I use myself as my canvas, I gut myself and fillet myself the whole fucking time, I'm always hooking myself out of the water, I'm always cutting my own head off and disembowelling myself, and as you can probably tell I'm quite angry about it at the moment. I'm very tired of it all, of my
process and how I find life, because it always seems to be about living and dying all in one breath. I'm getting pretty fucking tired of that.

Lucy: Do you think drugs stimulate or hinder creativity?
KJG: Well that depends on the drug, because I think most things arrive in the form of a drug really. I know in myself that if anything I am, much to my greater expense, an adrenalin junkie. My synapses don't work well enough to put pills in my mouth, I can't do that, despite popular opinion. I don't need any help breaking down, put it that way. There's not much holding it
together. If there was a drug that could put aline between two polar opposites and make them in to one thing I'm sure I would have it
intravenous, but I haven't found it. I think drugscan be a bit of a lazy way for creativity anyway, you're better off in the cold light of day in the mirror.

Lucy: As a band, you are distinguished by the extreme physicality of your live performances. Do you consciously make an effort to put on a show or do your performances just naturally come to you, and whatever happens, happens?
KJG: It's a bit of both, because you see, I think taking the stage is one of the most unnatural things anyone can do. In a way, just walking on stage actually creates an altered state - its not right, no one's meant to do that, unless you're a priest or a magician, or something like that. To put somebody who's very incapable in many ways in to that position creates a combustion reaction inside me. I know that, and I take the stage knowing that. Obviously there's all the usual things that affect my performance; if I'm on my 45th day of a tour I'm probably gonna be pretty fucking tired, so I'll be dictated by that. If I'm doing new material like tonight I don't
know what's going to happen, because we haven't built the train tracks yet. The beauty of playing live is when my drummer goes in to 5th gear or in to 10th gear, and for some reason there's something that hits me in the base of the spine and I'm gone, and that's Halleluiah for me. During the last few months a lot of strange things have been happening onstage, I think the process is changing. I don't know what's going to happen tonight, I've been having quite a tough time on stage, I feel like something's pulling me under, as if something's got me.

Lucy: So does the crowd influence your performances on stage?
KJG: Yes they do. I'm unkind enough to be pretty impersonal about how I do it, so I use them for me to kick against in effect, or to surf on, (I don't
mean physically surf). If you're in an empty roomand there's a couple of people at the back, it doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a bad show -
they might get the show of their lives. And then again when something's really heaving and going off, I get quite a distorted view of it, because I
can feel quite overwhelmed lose my sense of place in the situation. I lose control of myself. I don't know, I probably wasn't meant to do this, I
wasn't built for this. It wasn't a career option, I didn't start there and go there, I didn't pick up the things on the way. I've sort of gone round
and round.

Lucy: As the lead singer of the band, most media interest is focused on you. Do you feel pressurised by your position or do you enjoy being the centre of attention?
KJG: I've been here on this wheel long enough,(and I say this with a little bit of trepidation because I think you have to be really careful with this kind of thing, because the motivation to do it in itself I think is usually pretty corrupt) I'm not doing it for anyone else, I need a cheque through the door like anybody else does, you have to keep eating, you have to keep living. I'm looking for some sense of going home on my own terms, and people's critique of me is not relevant, whether it's positive of negative.
I do need a cheque through the door though, otherwise I'll have to go and be a butcher or something.

Lucy: What is the religious meaning behind the song "For I am the way"?
KJG: If you use the word religion in its truest sense, all it means is communion, it hasn't got any of the attachments to any written word. My
understanding of the word communion is loss of the sense. Another way of looking at it is you've got to get in to get out, and the only thing that I
know to be true is me, is this tiny little dot in the centre of the universe. It's the only thing that I know feels pain; I can see other people's pain and I can feel it in an emotional way, but not in a physical way. I find myself in the unfortunate position of feeling like I am the
centre of the universe and that everything is a projection, made by me - i.e. you two don't exist, you're something that I created. I don't wish that
sense upon anybody because it's not a good one. Through 'For I am the way' I'm saying that you've got to get in, because the only thing one knows to be true is oneself. And on a good day, if you stand on top of a mountain or go to the desert or stand in the ocean, and become completely inconsequential, linear time stops and you become everything and nothing. That for me is
communion, that's how I define religion. I thinkthere's a line in there which goes "Today the only bridge I have I burn" which sums it up really, because it is about cutting all lines of communication in order to really truly commune.

Lucy: Do you think that in the future your creativity will move from the sphere of music in to literature for example?
KJG: It's real hard to say. In a way, that sounds like a much easier life. But for all I know I'm deluding myself. I'm looking for someone to help me frame something at the moment, and someone is actually, someone's being really good to me. I would love to write, but I don't know if I'm good
enough to do it.