Members: Tom Smith, Russell Leetch, Ed Lay, Justin Lockey, Elliott Williams, Benjamin John Power
Interviewees: Elliott Williams, Justin Lockey
Occupation: Guitarist (Justin Lockey), Multi-instrumentalist (Elliott Williams)
Recent Release: Editors' EBM is out September 23rd 2022 via Play it Again Sam. The current single “Vibe” is out now.
If this Editors interview piqued your interest, visit the band's official website for more information and music. They are also on Instagram, Facebook, and twitter.
This interview with the group was originally conducted for beat magazine by Sascha Blach aka Mansions in the Sea.
For a conversation with one of the recent remixers of "Kiss", read our Jennifer Cardini interview.
How did the renewed collaboration with Blanck Mass come about in the first place?
Elliot: Originally it wasn't supposed to be an Editors album at all.
We worked with Ben, but at first we didn't know where it was going. We had an offer to headline a festival in Belgium - one night with a regular Editors show and the second night with something else. We first thought about doing an acoustic gig, but then refrained from it because we had done it so many times before. So the idea came up to do something with Ben - a more techno and industrial inspired Editors version.
Unfortunately the performances were canceled due to Covid, but we were already arranging songs together and thought it would be an exciting idea to write a new Editors song with Ben. We just wanted to see what would happen, but didn't have any plans for a concrete Editors album yet.
How did he become a real band member?
Elliot: That happened naturally in the process. Normally [Editors frontman] Tom always starts the songwriting with a vocal line, text ideas and chords on piano or acoustic guitar. But this time Ben was the core and sent Tom chords and melody fragments. Tom sent it on to Justin and me, who then added initial production elements.
It was a different approach, but after a while it still felt like an Editors album and we were all so excited that we couldn't help but ask him to officially join the band. Especially since he didn't just add some electro or production elements, but was really essential.
Has the band chemistry changed because of him?
Justin: Yes, that inevitably happens, but it was no different when Elliot and I joined the band ten years ago.
Bands have to evolve, otherwise they become stale and boring - whether that's changes in sound, line-up or approach.
Elliot: The idea is to make more records with Ben, but we don't want to put any pressure on him. At the moment it feels exciting for all of us, but we'll see where it goes.
Electronic music is often based more on loops and sequences, while classic pop music is based on chords and different parts. How did your songwriting change with Ben providing the basic ideas?
Justin: We were honestly surprised at how good Ben was at songwriting with chords. After all, we had worked with him before when he added production elements to our songs. And of course we know his projects and that he has a wide range from pop to soundtracks to industrial noise and metal.
But when such mature demos came from him, it still blew us away. There were really elaborate, intricate pop chord structures.
Elliot: I think what attracted us to him in the beginning was the fact that his music with Blanck Mass is full of melodies, but he drowns them in a sea of distortion and noise. When he sent us the song structures without those elements this time, we realized what a genius he is melodically as well.
It was great to work with him, especially considering the isolation we were all in because of the lockdowns, because that way you always had a nice surprise in your inbox every now and then (laughs).
With six musicians in the band, did you have to throw away a lot of ideas to keep the arrangements from getting too full?
Justin: There was definitely the question of where everyone would find their place. Elliot and Ben provided the electronic foundation, we've already talked about the role of Russell and Ed, and for me as a guitarist, it was a matter of playing exactly when the songs needed it, and not letting the guitars scream through all the time like on earlier Editors songs.
The older we get, the more we know about song arrangements and it becomes less important to want to be heard all the time. It's more of a struggle to keep a band alive over seven albums and keep the music evolving. It's definitely harder on the seventh album than the third.
Elliott: The good thing is that we are all not very selfish and therefore we can also decide democratically. Of course, there is also friction and different opinions. But we try to respect and listen to each other, because everyone has a valuable opinion. Sometimes that's easy and sometimes it's not.
Justin: Especially since opinions can sometimes be wrong. But it speaks for itself that we have been together as a band for so long. And if someone is on fire for a certain hi-hat sound ... well, that's how it is (laughs). But basically we try to see the music as a big whole. And there are more important things than a hi-hat sound. Everyone knows their strengths and specialties.
For example, Ben's and Elliott's strength is electronics, while my expertise is recording live instruments. That's why I like to take a step back when I have questions about the electronics, and it works the same way the other way around.