Ed Sheeran spoke to Zane Lowe exclusively on On Beats 1 about the new song he just dropped, Eraser. Check it out below.
On the opening line for “Eraser” [song one]:
“I was born inside a small town and lost that state of mind.
Where he was when he wrote that:
I was in my treehouse with Johnny McDaid and the label were like we want another “Bloodstream” and I was like no. [Zane: they still say can you give us another ‘A Team’] Not A-Team but they just said the intensity and I was like no I don't want to do another ‘Bloodstream’. Then I was writing loads of songs with Johnny we did “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” the same night. And before we went to be dI was playing around on the guitar and I had that riff so we recored it on his iPhone and I went to bed and had all these ideas of the song being called “Eraser” cause I just liked that as a title. I woke up in the morning, Johnny hadn't been to bed and he produced this whole beat to that riff I recored on his iPhone which is still the same riff. That riff is recored from the memos. And the original first line of it was what is now the bridge ‘welcome to the new show’ and i was just sitting there and i was like this doesn't hit anywhere here. And then so I just said Johnny can you bugger off for a bit and let m just see what I can do and just write loads of bars and the first thing I came up with was ‘I was born inside a small town, I’ve lost that state of mind Learned to sing inside the Lord's house But stopped at the age of 9 I forget when I get awards now, The wave i had to ride, The paving stones I played upon, They kept me on the grind’ and that came within like five seconds and I was like oh wow something’s happening and then Johnny came back half an hour later and we recorded the song. It was just basically vomiting on a song.
On the lyric from “Eraser” ‘family filled with envy” and if he felt that:
Lyric: Friends and family filled with envy when they should be filled with pride
Ed: Yeah, I mean the line is friends and family filled with envy but it’s not outward envy it’s just the odd line here and there. Just being like ‘well that must be nice’. Or you’ll be somewhere and you’ll purposefully want to split a bill just to make a point like you could get it but you’re just like today’s not the day, we’re gonna split the bill and someone will make a comment like ‘but you’re rich’ and you’re like ah. That’s where that line is coming from. Friends and family are meant to be the ones that are f****n there for you and ninety percent of the time they are but every now and then there’s the odd comment that just sinks your soul.
On him saying ‘money is the root of all evil’ in “Eraser”
Lyric: “I think that money is the root of evil, and fame is hell”
Ed: Money is the weirdest thing. Cause it’s the one thing that like my life before it was exactly the same. Except I’d always have to think before I did something. I’d be like can I do that. And that’s kind of the only thing that’s changed in my life drastically. But the way people treat you because of it and they think that you’re going to change because of it so then they treat you differently and inevitably you change your opinion to them because they're treating you differently, it’s a really weird thing. And then you really don’t know who to trust and you start treating people weirdly that are actually sound.
I dont think I need any of it [money]. What you need is enough for you to be comfortable. It’s now got to a point with me where it’s just completely like. Which is why I try and do so much with charity and do so much stuff for my parents and friends and family. And stuff like that cause it’s gotten to a point where I can’t do anything more with it. I’ve got a house that I live in and I’m very comfortable and I have a car. But like the way that people treat you as if you’re kinda like this with it [holds it] and I’m kinda like I could give a f**k about it.
On how when you give to charity people talk about it still:
That’s why I never do it but then people will say you never do anything for charity so it’s like..
I tried to stay exactly the same as I was before. And what I was before was if I had a tenner I would spend eleven pounds. And I’m still like that now. I’m not at a rapper level becuase I don't take private jets but everything that comes in goes out very quickly but it goes on good things. That’s what I’ve tried to maintain. And not being like f**k everyone and just staying in castle somewhere.
On how many cars he owns:
Three. I’ve got a mini. I bought an Aston Martin, I just feel like a tit in it. Rick Rubin has those slippers and he sent me a bunch of those slippers so i was getting out in Rick Rubin slippers. Then I bought a 4x4.
On his Aston Martin:
I bought that because I was watching James Bond and my mates were like you should get one of them and I was like maybe I will. But then the first day I had it I got in it and I was like this is kinda cool. Then I drove past someone and I was like ugh. I was just in m hometown driving down a country lane just like what am I doing.
On Eraser being a tour opener:
I was going to be but ‘Castle’ [on the Hill] is so powerful.
On ‘Castle on the HIll”
What I liked about the song is there’s so much stuff that’s happened to me in the last five years that I haven't really been able to talk about and put on a record. Cause I’m not a rapper I’m not someone who constantly talks about my life. My songs, my love songs will be like a snapshot of a time whereas this I could really have a verbal vomit on a song. And say everything that was in my heart that wasn't about a relationship. Cause in the songs I had previously [rapped] before apart from like “Unique Me” or whatever. This one feels like I could vent.
On Damien Rice and writing about hoping to make him proud in one of his songs:
He’s the only person who’s never been in touch so that's my line to be like I hope he is. I’ve now got to the point where, one of my heroes is Eric Clapton, I’ve now gotten to a point where I can go to his house for dinner or he can come to mine for dinner and he’s genuinely like well done mate and like Damien Rice is the one person who I’ve been longing to have an email. I just want a well done mate or something. I don't want a friendship I just want a ‘hey I know we met when we were eleven I’m proud of you. That’s all I want.
I wanted to casually move into a stadium zone without making twelve Castle on the Hills. I wanted to make songs that sounded big but weren’t necessarily just euphoric stadium anthems.