Ed had a start in Ipswich

IT'S a long way from Ipswich's pubs and clubs to the top of the UK album charts, but one Ipswich musician has made the journey and is today at the finish line.

IT'S a long way from Ipswich's pubs and clubs to the top of the UK album charts, but one Ipswich musician has made the journey and is today at the finish line. Ed Lay is celebrating after the second album by his band Editors went straight to the number one spot, a week after being released.

Entertainment reporter HELEN JOHNS asked the drummer about life as a rock star.

GROWING up in Ipswich, Ed Lay never realised he was paving the way to play a part in a hugely successful rock band.

The drummer, who spent his days at St Albans High School and Northgate Sixth Form dreaming about the future was sowing the seeds for his musical future at an early age.

Now part of the internationally famous band Editors and used to playing to crowds of thousands of fans, Ed's musical career started off much more low key.

“I was always interested in music and used to go to a lot of gigs,” Ed said of his Ipswich childhood.

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“I was in a band called Mantilla and we used to play at the Premier Pool Club. The band was my best friends at school and our parents used to ferry us around in their cars and put up with us rehearsing in the garages making an awful lot of noise!

“I've always been interested in this side of life but to honest I didn't this I'd ever be in a band making a living out of it.”

Ed, 26, now lives in Birmingham where he went to university, and made friends with three other students who would eventually become his Editors bandmates.

Their debut album - The Back Room - was released in 2005 and launched Editors into the mainstream, as well as bringing a series of hit singles with the likes of Blood, Bullets, All Sparks and Munich.

When the much-anticipated second album, called An End Has A Start, was released last month, it went straight to number one in the album chart - meaning the band had successfully avoided the dreaded disappointment that second albums can so often be.

Hitting the top spot has been a massive boost for Editors, but is also a testament to their hard work, said Ed: “Everybody has been working so hard on the album and it is such a relief that it is doing well, but for a little Indie band we never thought we'd reach that point so early in our career.

“We've always gone up level by level rather than shooting up, and in many ways we're still feeling our way around the music business.

“I like the fact that we are a hard working band, we are constantly touring. We have really been putting in the effort, but I really like that we work so hard. After the last single we were touring and you're away from home a lot, but you have to keep looking forward to it and the rewards you get from being on stage are immeasurable. You have got to enjoy everything you do - all the hours of working, plus the time you have off.

“This week has been strange - it's like I live a double life, I'm in a band that has been at number one in the album charts and I'm at home talking to kitchen fitters about cupboards and tiles, so to them I'm just another customer but to other people I'm someone who is in a rock band.”

Despite not living in Ipswich anymore, Ed has relatives here and admits that he'll never stop being a local lad. He said: “Birmingham is home now, I've lived here for four or five years, my girlfriend lives here and we have a virtually normal life when I'm around. I'd love to get back to Ipswich more and see my parents more and the rest of my family.

“I do still consider myself an Ipswich boy even though I've lived away for a long time, but local pride is no bad thing, I'm really happy to know that people support me.”

A local link can also be found on the new album, which was mixed in London by Nacton-based music engineer Cenzo Townshend, who is a big name in music circles - but Ed admits that his Suffolk connection didn't influence their choice of colleagues.

“We've been working with Cenzo for a few years and he's a fantastic engineer and does a great job of everything he does,” he said.

“It's a happy coincidence that he's been working on it.”

This summer has seen Editors in big demand for the annual round of music festivals, and the band played a well received set at the most famous festival of them all.

Glastonbury was an experience which Ed said he wouldn't forget: “Glastonbury was one of the biggest gigs of our lives for all of us. Being on stage is magical and we were giving it as much as we possibly could. It was quite a moment and we all felt quite emotional as we walked off stage. There were a lot of festival goers who may not have heard much of our music before, so to get such a big crowd after doing relatively little in the UK for the past few months was amazing.

“It's funny that when you're at school everyone is saying it's the best days of your life but I discovered after that you can do whatever you want with life and school is only the beginning.

“I'm having a wonderful time right now, I know I'm in a really privileged position and I'm enjoying it as much as I can.”

With An End Has A Start still riding high in the top ten, Ed and his bandmates know that their hard-working and uncompromising approach to music is working - and it isn't an approach they're about to change.

“We only really make music to please ourselves and music that we hope will please the fans.

“We'd already decided we're not there to please everybody in the music business so we were delighted with how it turned out.

“The only thing I ever get frustrated with is people's lack of interest in proper music, because now it's all about television shows and who's in the charts. There is space for all of us and to be honest, they will never have a long career, they are going to a 15 minute wonder and that's just the way it is.

“But I think if you just keep working hard and making your own music it will serve you well in the long term.”