Ed Cosens of Reverend and the Makers talks lockdown, Leadmill and live music’s return

Written by Tom Hardwick

Credit- Ed Cosens

Amidst a difficult year for the music industry, Ed Cosens of Reverend and the Makers talks about his solo project, the impact of the pandemic on artists and his excitement for the return of live shows. 

“I’ve been doing gigs since I was in school- the last time I didn’t play live for a year I was probably 13.”

It’s safe to say the past 12 months have been strange for Ed Cosens. As guitarist for Sheffield’s own Reverend and the Makers, well-renowned for their raucous performances, the stage has become like a second home. 

The pandemic has closed venues for now, but even more frustratingly, it has forced Cosens to twice postpone the release of his solo album, Fortunes Favour

“The album was recorded just before lockdown, so that was done- getting the album out there is what got kiboshed.

“It’s really hard at times, waiting to release something that you wrote three years ago and recorded 18 months ago- it’s a long time to wait to put it out there and show people. It’s been very challenging but thankfully we are nearly at the end of that road and the next part of the journey can begin.”

Credit- Ed Cosens

That journey has been a long time in the making. It was a decade ago that Cosens first considered embarking on a solo project, and it has taken patience to cultivate that newborn idea into the album now awaiting release on 9 April.

“At the time it didn’t feel right to take that break. I hadn’t quite figured out what it was I wanted to do and how I wanted to sound.

“About three years ago I started to get a batch of songs together that I was a lot happier with, I had a direction for them and a bit of confidence in what I was trying to do. When we got a natural gap from what we were doing as Reverend and the Makers, it allowed me to pursue it properly.

“It’s very much a personal record. This is my first real foray into presenting my lyrics to the world, so I needed it to mean something to me, and to feel comfortable with what I was talking about.

“It reflects on a lot of life experiences: the classic things you go through growing up, falling in and out of love, relationships with work and people- it’s all in there.  People will recognise and connect with the themes of the songs and understand a lot of what I’m talking about.”

For all the disruption of the past 12 months, Cosens admits that the pandemic has also afforded him artistic opportunities that might otherwise have failed to materialise.

“It’s been difficult obviously, but it has allowed us time to think about the album a bit more. We got the chance to focus on developing the visual side and the music videos even further, which we wouldn’t have got if it had been released when we intended. 

“It’s been awful for the industry, but creatively, it has given people the space to do interesting things.”

Indeed, Cosens is one of the few Sheffielders lucky enough to have found himself in The Leadmill in recent weeks. Although the doors to this cornerstone of Sheffield’s musical heritage remain closed, he was able to take advantage of its empty schedule to film the video for Lovers Blues on its stage.

“It was great being able to film it in Leadmill, an iconic venue and somewhere I’ve played many times- to get in there and do that almost felt like playing a gig.

“It was a little tantalising view of what hopefully will come back to us sooner rather than later.”


Cosens is yet to schedule any gigs, hoping to avoid the pattern of organising and cancelling shows that has become the norm over the last year. However, his anticipation for the return of live music, whenever that happens, was evident throughout.

“There’s going to be huge excitement- those first few gigs are going to be carnage. It will be really interesting to see quite how it pans out, but they’re going to be electric, let’s be honest.”

As well as those exhilarating atmospheres, Cosens was also looking forward to a change of pace, swapping some of the stages graced by Reverend and the Makers for smaller, more intimate venues.

“There’s something beautiful and wonderful about playing a smaller club. You’re so much closer to everybody, it’s a different electricity in the room with a smaller amount of people- I’m definitely excited about that.

”The first time I go out on stage, it will almost be like starting again. Hopefully we capture that initial excitement and buzz that we had when we first started with Reverend, the audience will feed off that and it’ll be a similar kind of energy.”

Of course, it would have been rude not to ask a member of one of Sheffield’s best loved bands about what makes the city so conducive to musical innovation. For Cosens, there is a mentality within these seven hills that sets it apart from the rest of the country.

“There’s something about the makeup and landscape of Sheffield- there’s an underlying mental attitude of creativity and self-deprecation that lends itself to a very interesting way of working. Over the years we’ve had various scenes and pockets that have sprung up and highlighted that.

“The way that Manchester and Liverpool shout about themselves, Sheffield does the opposite, but it gives us that edge that other places don’t have, and it contributes to those bursts of creativity that really strike a chord with people.”

Written by Tom Hardwick

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