With an unforgettable debut album and a soaring sound that conjures comparisons to U2 and Coldplay, it’s easy to understand why the Editors have had such a quick rise to fame.
In the span of approximately a year and a half, the British group has gone from relative anonymity to being one of the top-selling bands in the UK. Their platinum disc, “The Back Room,” reached the second spot on the UK charts in early 2006, and now the band’s trying to win over US audiences as well.
“I don’t think there is much of a difference between UK and US audiences,” vocalist Tom Smith says, “but people tend to be more vocal in the US. They want to talk to you after the show and get to know you. In the UK, they’ll come to a gig and then just leave.”After playing packed venues in England, the Editors are now readjusting to performing in more intimate settings in the US. “I would be lying if I said the feeling you get when you walk on stage isn’t better when you have 2,000 people in the room than it is when you have 200 people in the room,” Smith admits. “I think our music lends itself to big spaces. There are big portions on the record with a lot of melody, and we’re not afraid to write big music. Our music does work in the bigger venues, but at the same time, now we’re back to grassroots here in the States. We’re doing those small, sweaty, in-your-face shows, and they’re a lot of fun also.”
Despite the temptations that life on the road offers, Smith tells me he and the other band members try to stay true to their music. “We’re not really into talking about anything other than our music,” he remarks. “[You hear people tell stories about] partying with different people and getting drunk at certain places. That doesn’t really interest us. That’s not what we’re about. It’s not that we don’t like to have a good time. It’s just about the way we conduct ourselves.”
While most new bands covet attention from the media, Smith says he doesn’t want The Editors to be a superficial band that lives in the press without having any substance behind its music. “There are a lot of bands in the UK that all they are is a story,” he says. “People forget that they don’t really have any songs. They exist in the press as a story and then at some point later they’ll go away. That’s very sad.”
As far as the comparisons to U2 and Coldplay are concerned, Smith says, “I think if a band’s good enough, after a certain period of time, those comparisons will go away. Having said that, those bands we’re being compared to have made a career out of their music and have proved themselves album after album. The list of acts we’re being compared to could definitely be worse.”
Building a career based on their music rather than an artificially created public image is exactly what the members of the Editors seem poised to do, because as Smith says, “We’re very passionate about our music.”