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Four music technology majors, the Editors met at the University of Stafford. In 2003, after graduating, they officially formed the band and followed their management to Birmingham. The Editors quickly gained a following in the local circuit and signed with UK indie label Kitchenware the following year.
Kitchenware's 2005 release of The Editors' dark, aggressive debut album, The Back Room, has brought them considerable success in the UK. The first limited-release single "Bullets" sold out in two days; the second single, "Munich", quickly rose to the top twenty. Spinning off the success of these two singles, the Editors joined the ranks of Bloc Party and Kasabian as one of MTV's Spankin' New Music bands. MTV got on board early, even promoting the Editors' first video, which Urbanowicz describes as "really,really shit", full of canned emotion and wire fences. Breathing a sigh of relief, the band is quick to note that the video has since been updated and re-released with the looks of a "Gap advert". Umm, a Gap ad? The first one must have been really, really, really shit.
The quartet's immediate chemistry with The Back Room producer Jim Abbiss - whose credentials include work for DJ Shadow, Björk and Kasabian - fueled the surly, epic sound of the album, a sound which Urbanowicz says would make a good soundtrack for Spielberg's latest film, Munich. The album title is derived from a line in the track "Camera"; Smith says the track set a new standard for the band, making it the logical centerpiece for the album.
Discussing the band's humble beginnings, nostalgia brings on stories of the Editors living together in college. Instead of recalling tales of reeking orgies, drugs, and partying 'til dawn, the boys shudder as they recount their sociopathic next-door neighbor, Simon. As the stories unfold, Simon grows fangs and eats band boys and their girlfriends for breakfast. Urbanowicz's description of meeting Simon for the first time was chilling and amusing. "Tom was playing guitar in his room, trying to write. His room was next door to Simon's. It was about 10 o'clock in the morning, and Simon came round and knocked on the door.
"I'm like, Fuck - who the fuck is this? I didn't know who he was. So I opened the door and he was like, Is Eric Clapton in? and I'm like, Who's this fucker? I'm not in the mood.
"You don't know who I am, do you? I'm Simon from next door, he said. And I was like Ooohhh God, Eric!" At retelling this story, laughter erupts from around the table, everyone joining in on comic mimicry of Urbanowicz's cry for Clapton.
With their album The Back Room recently going gold in the UK, the band has come a long way since that awkward confrontation with a menacing neighbor in that small apartment. The Editors are now making their way across the pond, and they have been compared to Joy Division and Echo and the Bunnymen. Trying to not make the mistake of other buzz bands from the UK, the Editors are trying to avoid the hype by choosing Indie grassroots label Fader. Around the same time as the US April release of The Back Room, the band will play South by Southwest then begin their US tour in support of their album.
The times of living in various shitholes and surviving psychotic neighbors seem far removed from the Editors' current state of affairs. Though they say good music and books sustain their road life, the real excitement seems to come from Smith and Urbanowicz's discussions about the electric curtains in their hotel room. So much for simple pleasures. SEE ALSO: www.editorsofficial.com
SEE ALSO: www.kitchenwarerecords.com
A contributor of feature articles and the occasional review, Amber Cartwright calls New York City home. Find Amber on the Lower East Side at Motor City with a whiskey in hand, chatting it up with the leather clad bartenders.
See other articles by Amber Cartwright.
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