INTERVIEW: Editors | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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In June 2012 Newcastle’s own musician and producer Justin Lockey replaced guitarist Chris Urbanowicz in dark indie outfit Editors. Since then he has helped the band to write and record two records, as well as touring extensively. With the second of those two records due for release this month and a grand-scale European tour also scheduled, Justin’s life surprisingly has not changed very much. From his rehearsal studio in London, he explained just how little joining Editors has affected his life and how easily he adapted to life in the band.

“I tour a lot more, so I’m away from my kids a lot more, but other than that it’s not really changed much at all. I’ve always been busy working on some record or another, regardless of what level it’s at and I suppose if I wasn’t in Editors I’d probably be working with another band or something. It was really easy getting settled into life in the band. We’re all more or less the same age and we’ve all got kids so we’re very similar people. They’re all very serious about their music and I’m a serious person when it comes to music, so it was very easy for us to align our thoughts. It was never a case of, ‘Oh shit, I’m in this massive band!’ it was just another band with another set of inter-band politics and relationships like any other. I’m simply making records and touring, which is more or less the same with any band. It was just the case of adjusting to a slightly higher level.”

Although over the years Justin has spent most of his time working almost anywhere other than Newcastle – whether in bands like Yourcodenameis:milo or as a producer – he can’t imagine living anywhere other than the North East This sometimes has its problems, but Justin also believes that working exclusively in one place can also produce hindrances.

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“They’re all very serious about their music and I’m a serious person when it comes to music, so it was very easy for us to align our thoughts. It was never a case of, ‘Oh shit, I’m in this massive band!’ it was just another band with another set of inter-band politics and relationships like any other”

“Whilst I do live in Newcastle and have done for 15 years, I’ve always worked outside of the city. I love living in Newcastle and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, but if you think too locally, you make your art local and you cut yourself off from the entire rest of the globe. I think people and bands in the North East might resent me for that idea, but I don’t really care because I’ve never really made music for the North East or been a part of any particular scene in the North East. For me, making music should be an international goal from the start.”

Editors’ new record, In Dream, is the band’s second album with Justin on guitar and he discussed the differences in sound as the group started to develop a new idiosyncratic sound with the pressure of the band’s pre-existing heritage looming over them.

“The last record was a very guitary record, which followed on from a very electronic record. After they split with their last guitarist, it was a case of a band in a transition period and a lot of the last one was recorded live, which was good because it helped us forge strong working links as well as relationships, which is much needed in getting a band together. This record kind of takes it back to where the group were headed on record three – more electronic sounds, very much synth-led and it’s a very dark, experimental pop record, I guess.

“I didn’t really take on board too much of what the band had done before because all of their records had been a step forward or a change in direction, so I thought I’d just play how I play because it doesn’t make sense for me to play how they used to play. Chris had an amazing signature sound of his own, which is cool, but I didn’t join the band to be someone else. To express your musicality through someone else’s methods is crazy. It was really daunting at first to see how the fans would react, but the last record ended up having more top tens than they’d had from all the records before, so I guess it worked out well.”

In Dream is the band’s first attempt at a self-produced record and Justin explained the reasons behind that idea as well as the challenges it posed. “We toured the last album for two and a half years and after that length of time, performing together, you know what everyone’s thinking and there’s no better time to self-produce an album than when you have that kind of trust with one another on sounds, or when relationships are forged to the level where you can trust each other to deliver the goods. The band were five records in, I’ve produced about ten records before in my career, so we’ve been doing this long enough to know what we’re doing without someone else telling us how to do it.

“It was a great experience for us to go from the last album as a bunch of guys in a live room to this one, just us out in the middle of nowhere, building a record from the ground up, brick-by-brick.”

Editors will play Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Tuesday 20th October.

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