Editors' Frontman on the New Album and Leaving the Interpol Comparison Behind

Tom Smith, lead singer for British indie rockers Editors, is well aware of the comparisons many have made between his band and the New York City band Interpol ever since they burst onto the scene. Thankfully, he said confidently in an interview late last month, each passing album his band puts out make those similarities fade.

"It's taken a back step certainly. When you compare it's usually you're called a second rate version of someone else. I don't think we'd still be in a job, and still growing if that was the case," Smith said.

"We've proved ourselves. A lot of people like us, and it's fine too if they don't like us, but we've shifted away from the [Interpol] comparison. We're still not at the end of our journey yet."

That's for sure. On Jan. 19, Smith and the band, which consists of Chris Urbanowicz on guitar and synth, Russell Leetch on bass guitar, and Ed Lay on drums, will release their third studio album "In This Light And On This Evening." The album is already a smash in the UK (it debuted at #1), and Smith is confident the states will respond favorably as well.

As Editors prepare for a stateside tour after a two year hiatus, Smith spoke out about the new album, touring, and breaking through to the mainstream.

The new album has just nine songs on it. How'd you end up at that number?

We just felt anymore would be too long. It's the best this way. It did take a while to get the order, but we felt nine songs was the best album to listen to from start to finish. It sounds cheesy, but it takes you on a bit of a journey and adding anything else would've been too long. Peter Gabriel's "So" had only nine songs so...

So that's good company to be in. I get it. Is it easier or more exciting now to tour being that you now have three albums to choose from?

I think it's definitely more enjoyable. When we were touring for the first record, people expected you to play the whole album. The second record made it slightly easier. Now that we're touring with the third release we can play the majority of the new songs and mix up the old songs. It's just more fun being in a band with three albums. Good bands come and go so quickly these days. Longevity is tough. We feel more comfortable.

Do you feel you've made your best album yet?

No. You never feel like you've made the best. You set out to make the best record, and you have things you try to achieve. Things happen and don't happen. You never feel quite satisfied.

How important is a commercial hit for you guys? Very or so long as you make music for a living, you're happy

I like success. [Laughs] I like playing to big crowds, and I'm not bothered by number one singles or number one albums. I like people to hear our music. It's funny this is the least commercial record we've made. There's [first single] "Papillon" but it's quite hard on radio. Some days we're like why not be ambitious and go for the radio play. Some days, we try to make something dark and nasty. To answer your question, I guess the answer is both.

You guys are touring the states for the first time in a long time. How's it feel to be back on the road?

The tour is amazing so far. As you suggested, having three albums makes the whole experience better on stage. We're a more established band, and we're better on stage than we were. In the beginning, we were...not uncomfortable...but we just started to make the music. We didn't think about people coming to see us. With the second album, we found are footing, and now we're more [confident.]

Do you feel like you have to play your first couple of hits like "Blood" and "Munich" or do the audience take instantly with the new stuff?

It kind of depends. It's weird. In all honesty the last three months on this tour, the big song has been "Papillon." That's not to say "Munich" isn't an enormous part of who we are. But, the biggest song of the night is "Papillon." That's a good feeling for us -- for it not to be a song from the past.