London rock quartet The Edit released their new album Anywhere But Here on 10th April along with a video for the title track directed by John Clay. The director caught up with the band to talk about the new release, the filming process and how they’re coping with life on lockdown.
Greetings gentleman. How are we all coping during this latter stage of lockdown?
Lewis: Greetings John, could be worse for me I guess, I’ve been in self isolation for 14 days so it’s been a story of food, booze, bass and PlayStation 😁 how’s it going for you?
Fourteen days? What a trooper.
I’ve re-watched Breaking Bad, did some work on a rather bizarre but poignant video for an artist called Crystal and have been of course working on your video for ‘Anywhere But Here’. What’s your take on the song’s subject matter guys?
Matt: Hi John, I hope you’re keeping well. The video looks great! My view of the song title is quite literal, when you’re in a particular situation that you’re not enjoying and would rather be anywhere else. Perhaps Nige could offer some thoughts on the words he wrote?
The idea of wanting to be anywhere else lent itself to my asking the band to look out into the distance, for sure. Keen to know what Nigel has to say.
Nigel: For me, the song is more about challenging the idea of fate or destiny – with the infinite decisions and coincidences that have made up our journey to where we are now, we could have ended up anywhere but here. And then embracing that what’s done is done and not wanting to be anywhere but here.
So a dual interpretation there. Not something we see too often in songs. Did the lyrics come from a particular event, or are they pure fiction?
Nigel: Not a particular event as such, but from a real conversation where somebody was putting their current status in life down to fate or karma or destiny, and I just don’t buy that. We already had the music and structure for the song but no lyrics yet. From that conversation the concept and the phrase “anywhere but here” stuck and the rest came together quite quickly.
What does everyone else think about destiny? Is there a grand design where each human’s fate is preordained, or is that philosophy a product of our species’ narcissism? We never muse on the karma of our pets, do we?
Matt: I think we are in charge of our own destiny and how our lives plan out. I don’t have any pets and don’t believe in karma so not sure I can comment on that one! Does Lewis muse on the karma of his pet snake?!
Certainly puts a spanner in the works when people do voice that belief. What makes humans so special? But yes, more on your snake please.
Lewis: Haha well her name is Lesssley, a healthy, happy, loving 12 foot Darwin diamond carpet python.
Good to hear Lesssley is surviving quarantine alongside you. If we were to really deep dive, the mainframe of songwriting – at least in rock and pop – depends upon the self involved mindset of humans. The only song concerning an animal that’s not a joke song) is ‘Ben’ by Michael Jackson.
Nigel: “Delilah” by Queen?
Still the usual hetronormative construct. Anyway, that aside, where does the song fit in thematically on the album, or is the collection not bound by a mood/subject matter?
Lewis: I’d say that ‘Anywhere But Here’ is one of the heavier tunes on our album also named Anywhere But Here. We’ve mashed our different styles together and found a good, even mix of old school heavy rock, a bit of funk, a bit of punky stuff and a couple of sing-a-longs chucked in there too. We’ve all worked on our own lyrics for different songs (as well as together) so hopefully the subject matter and lyrical style will be kinda diverse too.
I hear halcyon era Pink Floyd and New Model Army.
On the subject of musical styles: Do you think that the commodification of those forms of rock make the blending of them easier, and if so, what are the positive and negative impacts on music as a social identifier?
Lewis: As times changed in this ‘millennial’ generation I think music isn’t as much of a social identifier as it once was. It seems like everyone listens to everything these days thanks to the music streaming platforms. But we don’t really try to think about the way we’re blending the music, we just jam it out man. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Hopefully everything on the album works nicely as we’ve had a hard time leaving out some killer tunes.
Interesting. When you cite everyone you mean the general mainstream public, yes? Isn’t that why underground subcultures are arguably more vital than ever?
Lewis: Yep, completely agree.
So that being the case – and I’m a fan of the single – how do you feel your approach addresses the continual bastardisation of varying forms of rock? What are the positives and negatives?
Matt: For me, we follow the traditional rock band route with two guitars, bass and drums. We make the music that we like to play and hope others will enjoy too. I don’t really care if we don’t conform to one specific genre. Who’s to say one band is more ‘rock’ than another?
Nigel: I agree Matt. We’ve never limited ourselves or turned down a riff/vocal/song/progression/beat because it wasn’t in a specific genre or subgenre. We like such a diverse range of music between us all. I would hope that that informs and influences where we take our music and writing. Also, referring back to subcultures and musical identity – is it not the case that generally what starts as a subculture or alternative scene eventually becomes subsumed into the mainstream, either through sheer popularity, or as a demographic matures and becomes the norm, or through the blatant misappropriation of a movement or underground scene by a mainstream media desperate to appear cool or attract the next big thing into their world?
Lots of food for thought there. Before we talk about the video I’d be keen to know more about Steve’s guitar style. Quite able aren’t you, Steve?
STEVE: With the guitar, I think it’s always nice to give a nod to the masters; from the acoustic blues players of the 1930s through to the pioneers of the 60s, 70s and 80s and those innovating on the instrument today, and this song has a little bit of different styles and players in there from different eras. For example, the outro has a nod to an underrated player named Jake E Lee, who played with Ozzy, Bandlands and more recently Red Dragon Cartel. Fantastic guitarist, but that’s not to say the playing is anywhere near as good as Saint Jake; not even remotely in the same ballpark or neighbourhood to be honest. Just trying to land something that’s vaguely passing by the same zip code so to speak.
Quite a bit of history in your playing Steve. Do you ever experiment with tunings?
STEVE: Used to John, and Nige and I have certainly been known to write in open tunings back in the day, and maybe that’s something to go back and have a look at. Currently the electric guitars all have locking nuts on which reduce the flexibility to quickly change the tunings, and rarely pick up the acoustic nowadays, so it’s fallen by the wayside but may be one to dig out again, along with the slide!
Well I for one am glad to have sneaked a Dutch angle over the neck of your guitar during the filming of the video. Do you all have differing interpretations of the music clip, or is there a consensus regarding what we shot?
STEVE: I think it’s fair to say we’re all in agreement as to the video, Dutch angle and all, in that the continuous shot looks fantastic and we’re all pretty stoked with it going live. Yes, absolutely – stunning piece of work. Keep being drawn back to watch it again.
Our D.O.P watched it about ten times the next day after that long shoot. I like the way you’re forced to wait on seeing the couple arguing behind you. I intend to interview both actors on their experience of the shoot as there’s a lot of info to mine there. Will the song be released as a single in its own right?
Nigel: The actors did a great job but due to the volume of the music on the day, I for one didn’t really get to appreciate the detail of their performance; it would be interesting to hear their take on the song as a continuation of the earlier discussion on the meaning and interpretation of the lyrics. We haven’t planned to release it as a single in it’s own right, but we could down the line if it felt right.
I for one hope that should you release ‘Anywhere But Here’ as a single that it sells loads. Thanks for your time guys, may your friends, family and fans gain some pleasure from the album, video and further releases this year.
Nigel: Thanks John. It was a real pleasure working with you on the video – I hope it gets the coverage/views it deserves.
Interview by John Clay