In conversation with… Editors

Joe Brookes speaks to the Editors about the action behind the scenes in the studio.


JB: To me there seems to be a parallel between your old bands, White Belt Yellow Tag especially, and Editors.

J: Definitely! There wasn’t meant to be, but I mean, looking back on it now, there was with that White Belt record, and I learnt a lot from making it. Obviously Milo was a kind of conceptual, noise/riff based band, with lots of different parts, and you think there’d be more discipline with that than there is with making an Editors tune, but there’s not. It’s a lot harder to get the balance right on an Editors tune. I guess it is a strange path to take, going from post-hardcore, through euphoric indie, to kind of gloomy stadium indie.

JB: So how did you originally start out playing, then?

J: I went up to Newcastle for uni, and I was editing the student newspaper at Northumbria University. There was this guy called Adam [Hiles, guitarist], who always had cigarettes on him, so I hung out with him a lot ‘cos he’d always give me cigarettes. He mentioned that he wanted to start a band, and then we met Paul [Mullen, singer], our ‘genius’, and then we just cracked on from there really. I mean, I’ve been in bands since I was about 14 or 15, so I’ve been doing it or quite a while now. I generally just do what I like, and then at some point, someone puts a record out. It’s different with Editors of course, because they’re already established, but the dynamics are the same… just some guys in a room making a big racket. But you refine and refine it ‘til you get to what you’re happy with.

JB: Do you prefer to spend time in the studio layering things up, or write it on a guitar?

J: It’s a weird thing, it sounds really odd…quite arrogant but, the Milo records were all very much live, five chaps in a room making really loud music, and a massive drum kit. Then when we did the record with Flood [Mark Ellis, record producer] we got the basis of the tracks down in the studio, so the same kind of process, and then we layered it all up on that record: doubled up on all the riffs, tripled them, did some crazy shit with effects…And that’s also a good way of working too but, you know, there aren’t a lot of bands who can successfully record live. You need to be really tight so it’s good enough to be put into record. White Belt was just the two of us in a studio layering stuff up, because we were both engineers. On the Editors record everything was done in a room, and there wasn’t enough need for too many overdubs. There were five of us in a room, and it’s kind of testament to the value of playing together, you know. Like anybody can play on their own, but you have to make it fit together.