Interview with Russell Leetch from Editors

Here is a brief look at the stunning history of Birmingham, UK’s Editors.

Album 1 (The Back Room): Mercury Prize nomination.
Album 2 (An End Has a Start): Top of the UK charts.
Album 3 (In This Light And On This Evening): Top of the UK charts.

Very impressive stuff (considering I only learned to tie my shoes last week). As the band prepared for album #4, which just came out on July 1, the band parted ways with Chris Urbanowicz due to a difference in musical direction. Given their successful history and recent turmoil, one might call this the most important record of all for the band.

Editors - PeteHatesMusic interview

Original Editors members Tom Smith, Ed Lay, and Russell Leetch brought in Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams for the fourth album, The Weight of Your Love. The band found success once again, hitting #1 in several countries, and playing the world famous Glastonbury festival for a fifth time. We caught up with Russell Leetch over email to talk about the change in the band line up, recording the new album in Nashville, and when they might make it back to the lovely country of Canada.

PeteHatesMusic (PHM): You’ve lost a member but gained two more. What do Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams bring to the band that you didn’t expect?

Russell Leetch (RL): There is a new energy there. Something we haven’t had for a few years. The shackles are off and we can work again.

PHM: Did you ever consider working as a three piece after the departure of Chris Urbanowicz?

RL: Initially we did do some work as a three piece. As a three piece we were limited by the amount of hands playing instruments. We needed more! We also had a show booked and knew we needed people to help, hence Justin and Elliot.

PHM: The Weight of Your Love is the first Editors album in 4 years. How difficult was it to choose the lead single to introduce the new band to fans, and what led you to pick A Ton of Love?

RL: It was difficult because this record is quite varied. We knew that we wanted to come back with a bang and this track does exactly that. This should be a number 1 across the globe rather than the absolute shite that is number 1 across the globe. (note: amen!)

Editors – A Ton of Love

PHM: In This Light And On This Evening was quite a change musically for the band, and for your fans it was a pleasant surprise. How did you decide where to go next when following up that album – did you try to avoid what you’ve done before or what other bands are doing?

RL: It’s funny talking about ‘In this light…’ now. When that album came out it polarised the opinion of fans and critics. Now it is revered by a lot of fans and by critics this time round that mauled it on initial release. We loved making that record with Flood, it was a fun time. We’ll do it again and we’ll keep pissing people off too by not doing what they want us to do.

PHM: You recorded the new album in Nashville. How much of an influence does where you record an album have on the music?

RL: The town didn’t rub off on us musically but the studio certainly did. The space in which we were in made us want to pick up instruments and play. There was a 50 ft chamber that we used for reverb and it just made us want to play. It created the space you hear on the record.

Editors – The Weight

PHM: Including this year’s edition, Editors have played Glastonbury a few times now. Describe Glastonbury to the Canadians who might never get to experience such a large and epic festival, and your experiences there.

RL: Glastonbury is like no other festival in the world. We’ve played it 5 times, it’s the best. Basically a farm puts up a fence, puts on an amazing bill of bands and then invites 150,000 people to party. As the sun sets at Glastonbury it does become magical. That area is known for a lot of pagan mystery and you can understand with the lay of the land, the air has a different intensity to it. I remember in 2005 I took so many magic mushrooms combined with ecstasy that I lost the feeling down the side of my body for 4 months afterwards. I became a better person for it though, I understand a lot more of the universe. (note: perhaps don’t try this at home, kiddies)

PHM: Do the lyrical influences or manner in which the lyrics are written change from album to album?

RL: Yes absolutely. Tom is the lyricist of the band and so they are his to interpret as you will. The last record was almost conceptually about London, the people within it, the city, the atmosphere. This record is direct and like a conversation between two people. The theme is love and the complexity of it, the brutal side and the positive side.

PHM: What are listeners to take from the word love in the album title and also on a couple of the tracks on the first half of the album, as well as the apparent directness of the lyrics?

RL: I hope they interpret it with some thought and emotion. Recently in Italy a journalist asked about a lyric from Sugar ‘you swallow me whole..’ and he took it as a direct interpretation for a blow job! I hope that people know that we are never that direct and crude. The listener will need to listen to a whole phrase to discover real meaning.

PHM: What song are you most proud of on the new album and why?

RL: Formaldehyde. We had this song for about 4 years. It almost made me commit musical suicide. I had given up on this song so many times, the initial demo was out there and we just couldn’t get anything going. . .however our genius drummer Ed Lay started playing the B-52’s beat over it and eureka , magic. . . magic after 4 years.

PHM: Your record came out on July 1st in the UK, which is actually Canada Day here in Canada. Too bad you played the Village Underground and not in Canada. When do Canadians get to see you again? I’ve seen you guys play in both Canada and America and both shows were great. Tip: Avoid the winter time if possible!

RL: I hope they get to see us again. It is a little difficult for us to get over to Canada as we travel with quite a lot of people and we have no idea how popular we are there. 2014 maybe??? (note: that’ll do!)

PHM: If you were editors of PeteHatesMusic instead of Editors the band, what new bands and albums would you recommend to our readers? Bonus points if you include a Canadian band in the mix.

RL: Night Beds. Dead Can Dance. Deafheaven. Melanie De Biasio. My favourite Canadian acts are Wintersleep (note: who we also interviewed) and Holy Fuck (who we should interview) from recent years!


Great stuff from Russell Leetch from Editors. Be sure to check out their new album, The Weight of Your Love, as well as their new single (and the new song they’re most proud of), Formaldehyde, which is out September 2.

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