New moon for Editors 

For three remarkable albums, English art-rock quartet Editors has been producing some of the most intellectual, stylistically-challenging music in modern rock, taking leaps forward from the aqueous axwork of the 2005 debut “The Back Room” to the synth-whirring stunner of the new “In This Light and on This Evening.”

But how could the erudite outfit best connect with the record-buying masses? Ironically, Editors may have a vampire to thank for their worldwide breakthrough. Maybe a werewolf or two, as well.

When cryptic crooner Tom Smith started writing for the “Light” sessions, he came up with a delicate piano dirge, inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s bleak book “The Road,” called “No Sound But the Wind” that his band — who hit The City on Monday — had trouble perfecting in the studio.

On a whim, his publisher began circulating the song’s bare-bones demo, with surprising results.

The director of “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” film phenomenon e-mailed him saying how much he liked the tune, wanting to use the acoustic version in the film.

“I thought ‘Why the hell not?’ It was a great opportunity,” Smith recalls.

Smith is a huge movie buff, and he credits the robotic aura of “Light” to “Blade Runner” and kickoff single “Papillon” to the Steve McQueen flick of the same name.

“I don’t think the ‘Twilight’ films are aimed at me, and I haven’t seen them,” he says. “But how many kids were turned on to the Cure or the Smiths by John Hughes films? So I think ‘New Moon’ is doing a very good job. If you look at YouTube, and how many people are Googling the name “No Sound But the Wind,” you can see a dramatic increase in interest in our band, straightaway.”

How did Editors switch sonic gears so dramatically? It started with “No Sound,” Smith says. “It was fine, but it just didn’t feel dangerous enough. We felt the creepings of a formula nibbling their way into what we were doing.”

But things changed once he sent his other early demos to group guitarist Chris Urbanowicz, who had relocated to New York; he tracked all his parts on a Juno keyboard instead.

Smith says, “I started to see what was possible. Our melodies played on electronic instruments have this really cinematic sadness.”

So to “Twilight,” Smith bids a fond “fangs a lot,” even though he’s not certain which shot his music is in. “I’ve heard it’s the scene in a car, but that’s all I know. But it’d be fun if it were somewhere really inappropriate!”


The Warfield, 982 Market St., San Francisco
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
Tickets: $23 to $25
Contact: (800) 745-3000,

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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