Editors have the last word
Having had time to grow and with their cautious attitude to fame and hype, Editors have staked their place as indie favourites. Lynette Alcock talks to drummer Ed Lay.
When Ed Lay left university heading for his home town of Ipswich, he thought his days playing in a band were over.
But two years on, he is one quarter of one of the best British bands of the moment - which, for someone who had no desire to become famous, is still a little strange.
Fortunately for Ed, unlike most indie bands who get swept up in a wave of publicity and hype before their feet have had chance to touch the stage, Editors have been given a year to grow away from the glare of the media.
But with a new album on the way and major tours of the UK and Europe planned and the press finally starting to pay them attention, 2006 could be a busy year for the Midlands four-piece.
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“It is amazing how quickly the pace picks up,” says Ed. “Munich just went into the charts at number 10 and then we did Top of the Pops and you start to think 'people actually know about us now'. It's a weird experience.”
But 2005 told a different story. The original release of their debut single Munich, which epitomises the band with lead singer Tom Smith's baritone voice crooning against a backdrop of heavy bass, chaotic drums and a driving lead guitar, was relatively low-key.
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Far from catapulting them on to the front page of the NME, the song gently captured fans, brought them to their gigs, and gave Editors a chance to develop as a band and performers.
But following the release of their debut album The Back Room and a major tour supporting Franz Ferdinand, the word is starting to get out that Editors just might be something special.
Ed explains: “There is so much pressure on new bands to get stuff in the NME. I mean, if you get a lot of national press coverage then you get on national TV and radio, but last year the press left us alone.
“Personally, I think we are not the band they want to write about because for us it is not about a haircut or the way we look, it's about writing really good songs.
“But I think in a way it has worked out brilliantly for us because we have not been pigeonholed with other bands.
“Also people like to discover bands for themselves, not be told what they should like and, in a way, people have had chance to do that with us.”
Editors began life as the Pride, forming in 2000 after meeting on a music technology course at the University of Staffordshire.
At the end of their courses in 2003, original drummer Geraint Owen decided the band was not for him and the band's former flatmate Ed was roped in.
“When I left university I had no idea what I was going to do,” says Ed. “I was in a band in Ipswich when I was about 15, but when I went to university I didn't carry on playing, which was a shame because I always really enjoyed it.
“Then, when I got the offer from these guys, it seemed like the perfect timing, we moved to Birmingham and the rest is history, as they say.
“The last year has been incredible. We have done 200 gigs, been to Europe and the USA - it's been manic.
“We are very privileged to be in this situation, so you have just got to enjoy the work. Some journeys are quite horrendous, but I would rather be travelling and doing a gig than doing some filing in an office somewhere,” he says.
t Editors play the UEA LCR, Norwich on Sunday, February 26. Tickets, sold-out.