The Edge interview: Memory Man
GW I have to imagine that, as a teenager, you liked going to the record store and flipping through the albums. What are your thoughts on how technology has changed that experience?
THE EDGE There’s a lot of added convenience to getting your music from your computer or your iPod. When we were teenagers, as you remember, listening to a record was a formal thing. I remember there was one place in the house and that’s where we had the record player, so if I wanted to listen to a record I could only be in one place.
GW Plus, the very nature of a record, it had side A and side B. You had to pick which side you wanted to listen to.
THE EDGE It demanded your attention. Plus, you had the artwork to add to the experience. You’d think with music being all pervasive nowadays, it’s available everywhere, that it’d be a good thing. I think, if anything, the commodification of music has stripped it of its sacred qualities. You want water from your tap, you turn it on. You want music, you turn on your computer. There’s a point of oversaturation, and I think we’re there. But I can’t run away from what’s happening. I can embrace technology and work with it, and work for quality over quantity.
GW So what’s in your iPod?
THE EDGE Good question. Everything from the Killers to Kings of Leon, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, R.E.M., Interpol… I listen mostly to new stuff; I’ve already heard the older stuff.
GW Your sound is so identifiable, which is something few guitarists achieve. But has it ever become an albatross? Have you ever gotten sick of being known as “the delay guy”?
THE EDGE No, never. It’s something I worked hard to achieve, so why would I disown it? Which is not to say we don’t want to evolve as a band. There’ve been times we wanted to sound anything like our previous record. I think in the past few years we’ve gotten more comfortable with referencing the past. Certainly on “Beautiful Day” we said, “We’re going to do the classic U2 sound here,” and it was fine; the song needed it. No, I don’t mind if that’s how people see me, but I always want to change. I always want to remember why I’m in a band.
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