Chris Urbanowicz - Editors

 

Friday 12th March 2010
grapevine-4

Editors' lead guitarist/synth player, Chris Urbanowicz (pictured right) kindly took a break from his tour preparations to answer a few questions for us, and told us a little about the processes involved in making their last album, and what the the future may hold for Editors.

You're about to undertake quite a lengthy looking tour schedule. How long is it since you've spent a lot of time together as a band?

We actually spend quite a lot of time together as a band. We formed in 2001 so we've known each other for about ten years. We lived together in Birmingham and in Stafford. We were at university together for two or three years, me and Ed, in the same halls of residence.

You're from Nottinghamshire originally, is that right?

Yeah that's right. I've still got a place there. Whenever I'm back in the UK I usually go there.

But now that you all live in different countries, hasn't it altered the way you work as a band?

Technically it's kind of the same. We've always worked sort of separately on demos, then we all get to put in our two cents when we start rehearsing. That way you get four different minds working on it, and you've all got something to do. When we all lived together that's essentially what happened - going back to the days of making demos on Minidiscs - in our own rooms. I guess it's a little bit different - instead of a Minidisc we get an email from across the Atlantic.

You recorded your latest album with Flood. Given his C.V. it seems a very natural choice but what was the deciding factor in choosing to work with him?

He wasn't everyone's first choice as a producer, but he was the most obvious one. We went in and did an eight track demo together and it was brilliant. He made us use different instruments and we went down a more electronic route. We had this dark, electronic, industrial sound - almost a sort of dance/rock record and we thought, we'll make the album like that then. A few of us thought maybe we should work with someone younger, maybe a bit less obvious, who could bring something a little bit different to the table, but when we were making the demo everything just sort of clicked straight away, and it became the obvious choice in the end.

You decided to turn down the guitars a bit last year in favour of some evocative synth work. Do you think we're approaching the point of guitar band saturation that comes along every ten years or so?

We were talking about this a couple of days ago, about what it was like when we were first coming out, with all the "indie" bands - I think it was definitely the case in 2004, 2005. There was Futureheads, Maximo Park, Bloc Party and a few others. For us - I don't think we were ever really part of a scene or movement - I still don't. Essentially for us we've always been into it [electronic music] we've just been moving backward and forward. For me it was probably a little bit of a boredom factor too.

Tom's vocal style seems to have evolved on the latest album. It seems sharper and more confident. Has that come about working with Flood or is it the natural development that comes with six years of recording together?

A bit of both. Flood did encourage us to try different ways of working. We were all trying different methods, trying different instruments. If Flood liked it we'd go with it.

Doves last album was apparently written with an alternative soundtrack for "Bladerunner" in mind. "In This Light and On This Evening" seems make subtle references to film scores. Were the songs written with a specific cinematic reference in mind?

Yes I think so. We were thinking about that sort of music and imagery. Yeah, "Bladerunner", "The Terminator" came up two or three times. Also, we generally imagined what it would be like - being in a factory, driving through a city at night - apocalyptic images.

In the past you've frequently been compared to Echo and the Bunnymen and Joy Division. Do you think it's been a curse or a blessing to be associated with such seminal and evocative acts?

Neither really. I guess some people may decide they don't like you, because they're a big fan of a band you're compared to - I don't really care to be honest. I mean it's a big compliment. I'm a huge Echo and the Bunnymen fan - New Order, Depeche Mode, Cabaret Voltaire. Last year, in Germany, we got compared to Kraftwerk - who are heroes of mine - so that has to be a compliment.

One thing you do have in common with those bands, is the way your music conjures up a definite landscape or soundscape for the listener. Is that something you've always tried to do with your music?

Yeah I guess so. It's something that stems from the time we formed and started writing music together. In the early days we felt we weren't very good at writing songs but that we could write good outros. Outros can explode, get louder and louder, do anything - so we wrote a lot of songs like that.

It was interesting to read that you have Synesthesia.

Yes that's true.

Do you think that's contributed to your music being so visual?

Maybe. I didn't know much about it until I saw a film about it two or three years ago. I thought everybody saw music in shapes and colours. There's not really a lot I can tell you about it, it's difficult to explain - other than that I can't write something until I have a shape for it, then I can write around that shape - if that makes sense. I don't know if it's helped me, but I certainly wouldn't say it had hampered me in any way. A lot of musicians have it. Flood has it.

Do the band have any plans after the touring is over or will you all be taking a well deserved break?

No rest! We're actually rehearsing songs at the moment, to form a bonus disc for the album. Then there's the UK tour, the European tour and then back to the studio for August or something like that, to start on album number four.

Where do you see Editors, in say, five years time?

I don't know. We've always been into longevity, but there comes a time when you're going to have to take a break. We've being doing this constantly for five years now. I don't know when that break's going to come. At the moment, with Flood, we feel we've unlocked an area that we want to explore and get lost in, with the next album toward the end of next year, and perhaps, another one after that.

So will the next album be recorded with Flood?

Oh definitely yeah. We're already talking about scheduling for the end of the year.

Finally, of the new music currently on the scene, who has impressed you recently?

I don't listen to as much music as I used to. When I come home I just want to sit down and take a break from it - play a video game, watch football or something like that. The only album I've really listened to recently was The XX. I really like their new record. Other than that there's The Horrors last album and I'm really looking forward to the new LCD Sound System album.

Thanks very much for talking to us, and good luck with the tour.

Thank you. I'll get back to work!

For more on Editors and dates for their upcoming tours go to www.editorsofficial.com

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