Sprinting to Rock City after my seminar, I was a bag of nerves at the prospect of my first interview with the Editors. I squeezed my way through the rabble of Roadies unloading crates of beer to discuss the changing face of the band with guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, former resident of Nottingham…

Q: I have just been having a mess on your new website Chris, particularly the google maps section (a song has been placed in a different location around London and the user has to navigate towards the arrow in order to access the song)…what was the motivation behind that?

Chris: it was a promotional thing really, the idea was that we actually hacked google maps, which was possible but it was so hard to get done on time and we wanted people to be able to stream the new album before it was released.

Q: Is it actually legal to hack google maps?

Chris: eerm..(laughs) well no but I suppose it’s not illegal to borrow the concept…I don’t know, there must have been some loophole…

Q: It’s still cool though, I couldn’t figure it out for a while admittedly…

Chris: I liked the original hacking idea to be honest, I feel almost like we watered it down.

Q: was it a move towards embracing the internet, as in being able to stream music like websites such as Spotify?

Chris: It’s difficult for us because we don’t know much about that sort of thing, but I’d say it was more about marketing in different ways…I’ve heard of Spotify but I live in America and you can’t really get it over there so I don’t really understand it…

Q:  it’s quite good actually, you can  listen to music for free but you can’t own it…anyway, new album time – I’ve had listen to it and I really like it, particularly ‘The Boxer.’

Chris: really?! that’s probably one of my least favourite songs from it, I prefer the upbeat, uptempo stuff

Q: like Paillion?

Chris: yeah actually, it’s not my favourite though, my favourite is ‘You Don’t know Love’

Q: ah yeah, will be looking forward to that one tonight…

Chris: oh are you going? you’ll probably be stood next to my parents…(Chris grimaces)

Q: really? very cool! (laughs) it is quite a change in direction for you this new album, I’d say it was darker, there’s more synth, would you agree with that?

Chris: yeah, I sort of see it as the older brother of the first album, I think everyone thought we were going to go down this path a lot sooner, we recorded the second record so quickly after just coming off tour from the first and it was big and epic and we didn’t really know where we were going with it… when we sat down to make the third, we made one song and it was alright, you know, just ok and we thought ‘how can we make this experience more interesting?’ and the first was change the way we write…we bought more new toys and instruments to play around with and suddenly it started being fun again and we were like ‘ah! there it is!’

Q: so when you…make music, do you do it together in the same room or separately or…

Chris: well we do it separately now as we all live in different places, but that’s not always been the way we work, at university we all used to do it in the same house, like fucking monkeys or something…we’d record a demo on a mini disk…God remember them? And then we’d go to our respective bedrooms and work on them…we’d then get to a rehearsal room and work on them, all with separate sets of ideas…the worst feeling in the rehearsal room is when you hit that brick wall and you all kind of sit there like this (blank expression) waiting for something to happen…

Q: I can imagine its horrible…

Chris: yeah, it can be really demoralising…and so now we’ve learnt you sometimes have to take things out rather than adding them in, and that’s the way its working out for us now.

Q: and so now you’re working with the producer Flood, how was that? I mean he’s produced a lot of amazing albums for Depeche Mode, New Order, Nine Inch Nails…

Chris: yeah I remember the first time I met him, I was expecting him to be some like…Lord of Darkness or something, then he walks in, dressed in brown and wearing a Tshirt that said ‘The Beatles were Shite’

(we both laugh at the image)

and I was like ‘I like you…you’re awesome’. He was basically suggestion ‘how about you try this? how about you do that?’ and we liked everything, and when he suggested that he wanted us to sound more human, more organic we were like ‘yes’ and we gave our album a ‘live’ feel to mnake it sound more real…

Q: was it actually recorded live then?

Chris: yeah kind of, we found that a lot of electronic music is very fake sounding and we didn’t want that, we wanted the machines to sound like they were being controlled by humans…

Q: I’ll admit when I listened to it I liked the idea that it was done in one, being performed live, and you can hear kind of setting up noises at the beginning of each song. So anyway, I’d be right in saying you are from Nottingham?

Chris: yes you would!

Q: do you have any thoughts on the Midlands music scene?

Chris: erm…I don’t know (laughs) I’m never here anymore!  Is there one? I have no idea really…

Q: you must have at least been to Rock City? (laughs)

Chris: yeah I used to go as a kid, more for drunk nights than gigs though… I haven’t seen many bands here and the ones I have, well, I saw Biffy here…I saw Ryan Adams-

Q: did you just say Bryan Adams?

Chris: no, no I didn’t… but that would have been awesome! It always seems to be mental here, I mean we are usually here on a Friday or Saturday night but bands have an image of Nottingham being this rowdy, fucking crazy…I mean when all the students are out, it turns from this really cute little quaint town into the apocalypse, you know, students vomiting everywhere,  ambulances-

Q: yeah, you missed out on Monday night, 7 legged was on…(I explain the concept…)

Chris: and you did that?!

Q: yeah, I was one of the Seven Dwarves…

Chris: I’m not going to lie to you, that sounds…fucking awful. I’m too old for all that now, I like my peace and tranquillity…

Q: you went to Staffordshire University didn’t you? What was that like?

Chris: a shithole. I hated every single second of it, the halls-

Q: ‘breezeblock central’ a friend of mine calls it…

Chris: yeah exactly!

Q: Tell us your favourite song to perform live

Chris: well right now its Papillion, we play it in the encore which is really working for us at the moment, Its’ like Ibiza when we start playing it everyone just sort of, goes off , which is great to see as we don’t usually get that sort of reaction, we aren’t that kind of band…

Q: I saw you at V Festival 2007 and that was pretty mad, it was sunny and people had been drinking during the day though obviously…

Chris: was that when ‘We Are Scientist’ came on stage with us? (unfortunately it wasn’t…) that was one of my favourites… I like V actually, it’s…clean (laughs)

Q: would you say it was your favourite festival?

Chris: I don’t really like festivals, I’ve never been to one as a punter, I hate camping and I like being clean, I had to camp at Glastonbury 2005 and it was a fucking bombsite, it had been sunny the week before and then the day before our show, I got woken up at 3 in the morning by the sound of thunder and I was like ‘no…this cannot be happening’ and someone had to lend me some wellies, I was so unprepared…

Q: nobody told you to bring wellies?!

Chris: no…well…yeah, but I thought it’d be alright…it really wasn’t.

Q: Of course it wasn’t! Nevermind… influences! So, you are often compared to bands such as Joy Division, Interpol, Echo and the Bunnymen etc, do you like those sorts of comparisons, does it bother you…?

Chris: no not really! we get Depeche Mode and New Order a lot too, people have been saying Kraftwerk…in the early days I found it quite funny we got compared to Echo and the Bunnymen and I’d never heard of them before…just thought they’d done some shit song in the nineties with the Spice Girls or something until someone gave me their back copy and I was like ‘this is wicked’ and I could sort of see it then…

Q: I really couldn’t see the similarity in it to be honest, but I haven’t heard a lot of their stuff…

Chris: Crocodiles is amazing but you have to listen a few times

Q: My favourite of theirs is definitely Killing Moon…I see the Joy Division comparison, obviously, with the vocals

Chris: I’ve never been a big fan of theirs to be honest, I don’t get it…

Q: You get the tags ‘moody’ and ‘dark’ a lot, what do you make of that?

Chris: it’s dark, its definitely dark but I‘m down with that…making happy music…It’s boring, I’m not impressed with it, making a sound in the studio that’s a bit weird, a bit creepy gives us more of a buzz than something that’s pretty and beautiful.

Q: would you site any influences that make your music sound like that?

Chris: erm…like living in a city? It’s impossible to tell, would the music sound different in Nottingham rather than New York? I don’t know, probably. The band has a whole has musical influences, we all bond over REM, The National…LCD Soundsystem, I guess we aren’t too far away from a weird mixture of all of them.

Q: yeah I would agree with that…I appear to have ran out of questions…

Chris: good because I was supposed to practice my B-Side and I completely forgot. Oops.

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Hannah Peters

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