With their fifth album, ‘In Dream’, released on October 2, Shoot caught up with Editors drummer Ed Lay and bass guitarist Russell Leetch on their love for their respective football clubs.
The indie rock band’s newest release celebrates the group’s tenth anniversary of their debut album ‘The Back Room’, which was released back in 2005.
Editors fans have a lot to look forward to next month as “In Dream” is the band’s first self-produced record before the five-piece group land in Dusseldorf, Germany to launch their new 46-date tour including venues in Poland, Switzerland, France, Germany, Spain and of course the United Kingdom.
We managed to catch up with Ed and Russell on the Editors’ fresh material, their love for Ipswich Town and Aston Villa, the competitive rivalry between band mates and asked them to evaluate each other’s footballing ability.
What can your fans expect from your latest release, ‘In Dream’?
Ed: “It is our first self-produced record. The five of us got in a room together, locked ourselves away in a studio that we created ourselves up in Scotland and didn’t have any other influences really. We just worked with what we were listening to at the time and just cracked on. We tried to experiment a bit more, create more new sounds. But yeah it was a joy to make. We can’t wait to play it out live now.”
You have also kick off your latest tour this month around the UK, before flying overseas. How much are you looking forward to the two-month tour?
Russ: “We always like going out on the road to places that we haven’t been to before or even places that we have been to maybe a hundred times in some big cities. It is always good going back to places and getting a reaction from our fans all around the world. It is a good feeling.”
What can your fans expect on your latest round of gigs?
Ed: “A mixture of all. We have got five records now, so we can pull all the songs from those and pick the best sets and meander our way around it. But I think we will be playing quite a lot of the new record because that is what is exciting us at the moment. It is ten years on from the release of our first record as well, ‘The Back Room’, so I’m sure there will be some people feeling nostalgic about some of the songs that we will be playing as well.”
Moving on to football; when did you both start supporting your respective football clubs?
Ed: “I was taken to a couple of Ipswich Town matches by my Dad when I was probably seven or eight. And I guess I have been hooked ever since!”
Russ: “Same with me. I was nine when I went to my first game, 1991.”
Ed: “My first game was a 4-0 win. Dalian Atkinson scored a hat-trick. It was pretty ridiculously good! Can’t have a better first match than that really. He was legend; obviously he played for Villa afterwards as well.”
Russ: “My first game, we beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2. We missed four goals because me and my brother needed the toilet all of the time! But we saw the overhead kick by David Platt in the last minute. And also when ‘Gazza’ [Paul Gascoigne], who was on the sidelines, came past all the fans and gave them the V’s. Which I will always remember!”
Do you get many chances to go and watch your team play?
Ed: “I get a few chances to go and watch his team [Pointing to Russ]! Mainly because we work a lot up in Birmingham and I live in Somerset which is too far away to go and see Ipswich and none of the away games seem to fall around us anyway.”
Russ: “We did Villa versus Ipswich a couple of years ago in the FA Cup. That was a pretty good game. Villa won it, Darren Bent scored – 2-1.”
Last season, Ipswich finished sixth in the Championship. A good year to be a fan?
Ed: “It was progress. Totally what Mick McCarthy was promising – to try and get into the play-offs. He achieved it and we weren’t outplayed by Norwich [City]. I think they deserved to go up, but it wasn’t like we disgraced ourselves in the semi-final. This year we have started really positively. Our forward line is pretty brilliant with [Daryl] Murphy, [Freddie] Sears, [David] McGoldrick and [Brett] Pitman now as well. I’ve got no complaints. I think we are moving in the right direction.”
What have you made of Ipswich’s start to the season this term? Do you think they are capable of going one better and gaining automatic promotion?
Ed: “I am always optimistic when the start of the season comes around. But yeah, I can see us going one better. I don’t know whether we will go up automatically, but we might go up in the play-offs. I mean Mick McCarthy has certainly turned the club around since he has got there. He has signed really good, hardworking players. We have got a nice squad. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and that is key.”
Last season, Aston Villa finished just three points above the bottom three and reached the FA Cup final. What was that like as a fan?
Russ: “Well we didn’t score for 10 matches! Which was unbelievable. I went to quite a few of those as well! It was just always 0-0, or the other people kept on winning 1-0. Obviously [Tim] Sherwood came in; a very different character to Paul Lambert. We have brought in a lot of players, which is exciting. I have to say that the FA Cup final was atrocious though and his team selection was pretty poor, I think. But at least I haven’t seen [Charles] N’Zogbia in a Villa shirt this year. I mean that display was pretty woeful.
“At least when I went to the FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool, that was just exciting and we brought it to them. Against Arsenal, you have just got to get stuck in and it just wasn’t there. This season, we have brought a lot of players! We have spent more money than we have spent in maybe five years, so it should be interesting. Obviously [Christian] Benteke has gone and he scored all of our goals for the last three years. That is going to be the tough replacement I think. But hats off to Mr Benteke, I don’t mind seeing him in a Liverpool shirt. I don’t mind it too much. Fabian Delph though – don’t get me started! [Laughs]”
In terms of this season, how much do you think Villa can improve upon last year’s relegation battle?
Russ: “Well yeah, we were right down there for a lot of the year!”
Ed: “It is tempting to say that the only way is up. But…”
Russ: “Does it though? If we start scoring some goals, we have got a few new attacking players and if they start banging them in, then we might get a bit of confidence and that is what we need.
Can I have your season predictions from both teams?
Ed: “Third – up in the play-offs.”
Ipswich have signed the likes of Ryan Fraser, Brett Pitman and Jonathan Douglas this summer. What have you made of the club’s transfer business?
Ed: “I cannot believe how much money we got for [Tyrone] Mings! That was just insane. Although he is a good player, we have brought in another left-back who looks like he is equal for how many thousands of pounds he cost.
Russ: “He hasn’t even played for Bournemouth yet has he?”
Ed: “No not really, he’s now injured. But I can’t blame him. They have got good players in all of those positions. But no, I think you are right. Brett Pitman is an incredible signing. I think we got him on a free transfer, I don’t know how our business works sometimes. And Fraser looks like a total class act. Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the guy we have got from Arsenal, he looks amazing. He is so quick! People don’t really know about him, so he is a bit of a tool for us to use in our armour. Yeah it is great.”
Meanwhile Aston Villa have signed 10 new players this summer, including the likes of Jordan Ayew, Rudy Gestede, Micah Richards and Scott Sinclair. What have you made of your club’s transfer business?
Russ: “I have seen every game; Richards looks great, [Jordan] Amavi looks great, apart from his little mess up the other day. Not sure on Gestede. He got a good head on the ball I guess against an ex-Championship side. But the other games I have seen him in, not so fruitful.
Ed: “He is definitely not a replacement for Benteke. Is he?”
Russ: “No he is not. I think this Jordan Ayew that we have signed as well, haven’t seen much of him, still early days. I saw Traore play; he is fast and bulky. Very greedy with the ball though.”
If you were the manager of your team, what would you have done differently during the summer transfer window?
Ed: “Probably at the start of the season, if we hadn’t of already done so well, I would have probably gone for another centre-back. I like who we have got, but I would like somebody with a bit more aggression about them maybe. Just to sort of break up play when you need to. Like in the first game of the season, we were 2-0 up in stoppage time and we drew 2-2. So I think we just needed someone to really get in there and stop stupid things from happening. I don’t know particularly who we could have got, but maybe a really good centre-back. Not Richard Dunne though! [Laughs]”
Russ: “Oh good ol’ Richard Dunne. For Villa, just a number nine. I think we still need one. I don’t know who they could get though, that is the problem with Villa. I don’t think they were going to spend so much on someone like Charlie Austin, whether he was going to be the right player for our team. “
If you were allowed to sign one player from the opposite person’s team, (i.e. Ed to buy an Aston Villa player for Ipswich), who would it be and why?
Ed: “It would be Charles N’Zogbia! [Laughs]. Because Russell hates him. He needs to get out of the club, doesn’t he? I would be doing him a favour. And do you know what; he might be alright in the Championship. Perhaps a super sub? Ten minutes here and there.”
Russ: “Who would I take from Ipswich…?”
Ed: “Do you want some suggestions?”
Russ: “No, I think I would take Daryl Murphy. I have been saying that we need a striker, so I think I would go for him.”
What are your thoughts on manager Mick McCarthy?
Ed: “I think he is magnificent. Even if he doesn’t get promotion, he is just the perfect fit for our club at the moment. You know, we went through so many years of turmoil with Roy Keane… It was horrible. It really was horrible. But he [McCarthy] has been amazing. The way he has set the club up, like I say, he has brought the right players in and created the right atmosphere around the club and he obviously has a plan. I think if he had gone up last year, we would have been in trouble. Seriously in trouble. But because we have been through that, brought a couple of more players in with a bit more nouse about them, I think he has set it up perfectly for us to go up this season.”
And what are your thoughts on boss Tim Sherwood?
Russ: “He has been buying a lot of players, I mean this is his first-ever transfer window. He actually didn’t sign anybody at Tottenham. So he has never signed a player. So he has done pretty well, I think. He has managed to get [Randy] Lerner to open his wallet. Don’t know about his tactics yet, we will see. I think he definitely has some favourites. I’m not sure if he falls out with players; it is just weird. I think he has got to run Scott Sinclair instead of Gabby [Agbonlahor]. That just seems to me like such an obvious choice at the moment.”
Who is your all-time favourite manager for both Ipswich and Villa?
Ed: “I would be tempted to say that Mick McCarthy is my favourite manager. The way he comes across is great and he always gives good interviews. He is quite funny and he just seems genuine. He seems like he treats the players fairly as well. I mean I liked George Burley, but he had no charisma whatsoever! I mean he got our team promoted and we played some beautiful football, but it was difficult watching his interviews. I wouldn’t want to do it as a pass time!”
Russ: “Ron Atkinson did pretty well for the Villa! So I would have to say ‘Big Ron’.”
Who is your favourite current player?
Ed: “I think our captain, Luke Chambers, is pretty awesome. He gees everybody up in the right way, fans and players alike. Everybody likes him. But I think the player that is going to be our player of the season is Freddie Sears. We signed him from Colchester [United], for barely any money in the last transfer window. He was wicked towards the end of last season and he has scored a few already this season. He is a smart little player.”
Russ: “I am going to go for team captain and centre-back, Micah Richards. He has been pretty commanding so far. He does some good charging runs as well, I quite like that when a good centre-back just goes forward. So far he has delivered a lot of promise.”
What is the best away day you have experienced?
Russ: “Well we went to go and see Villa away at Old Trafford a couple of years ago and we got tonked 3-0! They won the league that day as well, that was pretty gutting [Laughs]. I went with you to the Britannia [Stadium] to see Stoke versus Ipswich…
Ed: “Yeah we got tonked! Yeah, my away day experiences haven’t been all that good. I remember going to watch Ipswich play Southend [United] a long, long time ago at Roots Hall. That was pretty great. And actually my favourite away day experience came this year, because a friend of mine goes to watch Southend. I went to go and see Southend play at Exeter and they scored a last minute goal to keep their promotion hopes alive. It was just insane! Being around a bunch of sweaty dudes, in a very small standing area. To see the hope in their faces, that was pretty amazing.”
As keen football fans; do you or the other band mates get competitive with any fantasy football team selections and mini-leagues?
Russ: “We don’t do fantasy teams or mini-leagues, but we do tend to play quite a lot of FIFA. I practice the most!”
Ed: “Doesn’t mean you are the best though!”
Russ: “I am the best without a couple of drinks in me! [Laughs]”
Ed: “Justin [Lockey] is quite good. He is quite good at computer games in general, I think that helps. But he is actually less interested in actual football.”
If you had to pick a professional player to represent your footballing ability. Who would it be?
Ed: “We do play actually. We found a little kick about space in Oslo, Norway, last year whilst on tour. If anybody was watching, it was probably the worst kick about you have ever seen! I kind of blame the ball; it was an Aston Villa ball. It was really heavy! It was like playing with a medicine ball. But we were awful. But I’m glad we didn’t twist any ankles.”
Russ: “Who is the player that plays for Wimbledon? [Adebayo] Akinfenwa! [Laughs]. That is me!”
Ed: “Yeah the ball sort of bounces off you doesn’t it.”
Russ: “I would say you are like our new goalkeeper Mark Bunn.”
Ed: “What just because he is small? There we go!”