Editors -- from left, Russell Leetch, Elliott Williams, Tom Smith, Ed Lay and Justin Lockey -- are on tour to promote their 2018 recording “Violence.” (Courtesy Rahi Rezvani)

Editors -- from left, Russell Leetch, Elliott Williams, Tom Smith, Ed Lay and Justin Lockey -- are on tour to promote their 2018 recording “Violence.” (Courtesy Rahi Rezvani)

Editors’ Tom Smith enjoys ‘important’ family time

Befitting his spooky, resonant singing voice, Editors band leader Tom Smith often has relied on arcane lyrical influences.

For example, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo’s supernatural 2001 film “Intacto” inspired the vintage single “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors” and Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic novel “The Road” influenced the somber “No Sound But the Wind” (on “The Twilght Saga: New Moon” soundtrack and in more lugubrious form on the band’s 2018 sixth album, “Violence”).

But his shadowy outlook might be brightening.

Smith, who brings Editors to The City this week, after canceling 2015’s U.S. “In Dream” tour due to illness, cites one unusual cinematic touchstone — not one his gothic fans might expect.

“I really enjoyed ‘Paddington 2,’” he says of the charming sequel, in which the titular marmalade-loving bear winds up in jail for a crime he did not commit, framed by a character played by the hilariously hammy Hugh Grant.

“It’s wonderful, it’s beautiful and it’s about community. It’s a very special film, and we watched it with the kids, and obviously, watching it with your whole family is a really good thing,” says Smith.

Because he’s concerned with shielding Rudy, 9, and Spike, 5 — his sons with ex-BBC DJ wife Edith Bowman — from nightmares of the post-Brexit-and-Trump world, he says the family mostly stays home in London: “We play board games and we play chess and Monopoly. It’s a lot of fun. And we watch films together, and sometimes it’s just as simple as stopping and eating together, really. It’s important.”

The new album “Violence” is about family, too.

The new material has matured. “Magazine” pokes fun at political power and corrupt candidates while “Darkness at the Door” celebrates the familial friendship of the band members. “Belong” and “Counting Spooks,” propelled by rhythms of bassist Russell Leetch and drummer Edward Lay, paint one’s home as a holy, private place: “It’s two people in their ark, taking refuge in each other and basically pulling the curtains on the outside world,” he says.

There is hope among the “Violence,” however.

The jagged “Hallelujah” came after Smith was moved by refugee camps he visited in Greece with the charity Oxfam: “Seeing people who were only alive because of the kindness of other people, giving them food and shelter? It was an intense experience, and pretty unforgettable,” he says.

It’s the same neighborly values displayed by Paddington. “It’s crucial to know what’s important in your life and focus on the humans around you that you love,” says Smith, who’s considering moving his clan to the calmer countryside. “That’s what I’m looking at in these songs.”


Where: Regency Ballroom, 1300 Van Ness Ave., S.F.
When: 8:30 p.m. May 11
Tickets: $25
Contact: (415) 673-5716, www.axs.comEd LayEditorsPop MusicRussell LeetchTom Smithviolence

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A view of Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
CCSF begins search for next chancellor amid new challenges

‘It’s arguably the biggest single responsibility the board has,’ trustee says

Some people are concerned that University of California, San Francisco’s expansion at its Parnassus campus could cause an undesirable increase in the number of riders on Muni’s N-Judah line.<ins></ins>
Will UCSF’s $20 million pledge to SFMTA offset traffic woes?

An even more crowded N-Judah plus increased congestion ahead cause concern

From left, Natasha Dennerstein, Gar McVey-Russell, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Jan Steckel and Miah Jeffra appear in Perfectly Queer’s fifth anniversary reading on Jan. 20.<ins> (Courtesy photo)</ins>
Perfectly Queer reading series celebrates fifth anniversary

Online event features five writers, games, prizes

(Robert Greene/Tribune News Service)
As tensions grow over vaccinations and politics, California lawmakers face threats from public

Anti-vaccine speakers hint at gun violence during routine budget hearing at state Capitol

Dr. Martin Luther King in Sam Pollard’s ‘MLK/FBI’. (Courtesy of IFC Films/TNS)
The superb documentary ‘MLK/FBI’ clearly connects the past to our troubling present

Justin Chang Los Angeles Times Among the many archival materials excerpted in… Continue reading

Most Read