With two new members on board – Justin Lockey and Elliot Williams to replacing guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, frontman Tom Smith explains why the period leading up the making of their latest album, The Weight of Your Love, was a difficult process.
How to do reconcile the business side of being in a massive band with maintaining a sense of creativity and friendship?
We’re still driven by the process of making new tunes, artistically we still get a buzz from finding ways to express ourselves, and we still feel we’re finding ways of doing that without really repeating ourselves. Away from the rehearsal room or studio it helps that we still enjoy playing live, it gets harder being away and there’s still that fear of the routine but I think we do all still enjoy it, putting on a show, being performers. We’re learning still but it’s an addictive feeling getting up there. Obviously this time around there’s a renewed freshness to everything because we have two new guys in the band.
There’s a sense from the documentary about this album, that Chris was less adventurous about Editors sound – such discrepancies must have manifested before over the years but you’d managed to deal with them, so what changed?
With previous albums we’d always managed to find that point where all of us were happy with what we were doing with the songs. Whether that point could be deemed adventurous or not I don’t think it mattered or was the point. With this record we tried hard for over a year and a half to get the same feeling with these tunes but we just couldn’t find a place where any of us, including Chris were happy. What changed? Maybe nothing, we never want to feel like we’re repeating ourselves so perhaps we just used up all the creative ammunition we had, collectively, over those first three albums.
Was there an unspoken rule that you wouldn’t overcomplicate the parts on the songs following In This Light…?
We were very vocal about that I think, perhaps more so once Chris had gone but we didn’t want to make In This Light part two and also the songs I was writing felt very immediate, it felt wrong when we tried to treat them in a more complex manner.
The majority of the songs are about love and the lyrics feel less situational. Was having that broad driving theme why the songs feel bigger and more anthemic?
I think the simplified nature of this record’s musicality amplifies the “anthemicness” more than the subject matter of the lyrics, perhaps. I also think vocally I’ve been more ambitious with melody and range, this also gives the songs more drama and more of an epic quality, at times.
Did removing yourself from home to Nashville to record enable you to develop songs that weren’t necessarily rooted in a place?
Nashville helped us in many ways; it took us away from distraction, it put us in an environment where we felt close to musical legend, the wide open spaces of America are just generally inspiring, especially for five guys from the UK. Plus there’s a positivity in the air in the States which I like, it may mostly be bullsh*t and fake but I’d still rather hear “have a nice day” than not. But again I didn’t really feel the subject matter of the songs were helped, altered or informed in anyway by being there, we knew how most of this record was going to feel and sound before we got on the plane.
Honesty (‘boarded up windows at the closing sale’) and a Ton Of Love (‘don’t trust the government’) allude to the times we’re living in but do you feel like you could take it further?
I’d hope so. I certainly don’t put limits on what I allow myself to write about and I think it’s very possible that one day I could venture further down that road. If I can find those words.