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Editors in Studio

“Working with Flood in his studio was a breath of fresh air for the band,” Editors’ bass guitarist Russell Leetch says. “We had a truly tremendous time, and we made Flood feel young again!”

What made Flood – esteemed producer of such musical luminaries as Smashing Pumpkins, The Killers, U2, and Sigur Ros – “feel young again” was likely the detailed and creative production on Birmingham, UK band Editors’ most recent album, In This Light and On This Evening. It’s a synth-riddled extravaganza of a set that blends the band’s distinctive, sharp indie-rock with an overload of electronic elements – most reminiscent of Echo and the Bunnymen or Elbow – lending a new, energizing urgency to songs like “Papillion,” “You Don’t Feel Love,” and the title track.

Recorded in Willesden, North London, while the band stayed in Cricklewood (“Probably the most shite area in London you could find – six weeks of my life in Cricklewood, never again!” Leetch exclaims), the new album’s darker, post-punk synthetic feel was, according to Leetch, in part derived from drummer Ed Lay’s work on an electronic drum kit.

“As far as musical inspiration, we weren’t really listening to anything specific in the studio, and where we may have previously referenced a sonic sound to a previous record made by someone else, we did not this time,” Leetch muses, “a lot was just Ed playing on an electronic kit – you make the drums more spacious and minimal, and that lets the other music do something different from what we had done before.”

Also different are the band members’ approaches to the whole recording process as well as the accompanying promotional junket.  For instance, where singer/frontman Tom Smith is more sanguine in his proclamations about the band’s songs (“… when an album feels this dark, the fragments of hope and love that do occasionally shine through shine through ten times brighter than they would normally do so…” he says), Leetch himself is fervent in his dedication to the band, yet more devil-may-care about the overall situation.

“I don’t want every person to feel the same, and I don’t care if they take hope in what we do or not,” he declares, “I don’t want every lyric taken apart, and out of phrase things can sound stupid. One publication recently wrote a derogatory review and gave an example of the lyric ‘give a dog a bone…’ being primary school writing. But what follows – ‘heal it for the day, but teach it how to kill them’ – is a lot more gruesome. I guess if people take a fragment, whether one word or a phrase or the whole song, and enjoy it, then that’s all that matters.”

“Our song “Bullets” always takes flak for the lyrics,” he continues, “I haven’t got a clue what, ‘you don’t need this disease’ means or is intended to mean – it just whirls and whirls and makes you think ‘what??’ – and I like that.”

What Leetch doesn’t particularly like is touring, in spite of the fact that, as he says, a lot of the band’s new songs are “going down a storm” live, especially “Papillion,” what he calls the “most instant” song that Editors have ever written.  But given the choice between a stage or a studio, Leetch would rather spend his time indoors, crafting the next Editors album.

“I’m bored of touring, to be honest,” he explains, “but that’s the only way to get exposed it seems, and the only way for bands to earn some cash.”

Editors frontman Tom Smith at Lollapalooza in Chicago. Photo: Kristi Kates

Well, Leetch – and the rest of Editors – are finally getting his wish, as they’re now refocused on what’s said to be a ‘fairly electronic’ new set of songs that they’re recording with Flood, an album that’s expected out later this year. Leetch recently treated fans – via his blog – a peek at a few of the album’s new song titles, which so far tentatively include “Sugar,” “The Weight of Your Love,” and “Formaldehyde,” all of which he says have  ‘a great groove.’

Now let’s see if they can top what Leetch calls ‘the most memorable moment in the studio’ from their last set of sessions.

“That would be wearing an antique Prussian helmet that was a present from (U2’s) Bono to Flood, dancing around to “Papillion,”” Leetch laughs. “But that’s a moment only the band and the people in the studio will ever appreciate.” – Kristi Kates

Find out more about Editors at their official website.


portions of this article (written by Kristi Kates) were previously published on, reprinted with permission.