Loppen, Copenhagen, DEN - 24/3
author TL date 28/11/13
While it's safe to say by now that the rise of the metalcore and emocore genres is stagnating, one band that has been a constant source of quality material from that neck of the woods is the Canadian quintet Silverstein, whose seventh full lengt album "This Is How The Wind Shifts" came out earlier this year. By the time this article appears online, the band will be starting a larger European tour the same night (Nov. 28th), at their first show in London in four years, and later on they will be returning to Denmark on a visit that feels to us like it's become a regular and welcome occurrence. Seizing the moment then, I caught up to lead singer Shane Told to catch up on the state of the band and their eagerness to come over here on the Tuesday while they were just preparing to take off:
So it was really cool to finally get to see it when we first went and it's just something that we're really appreciative of - That we're able to just play music and travel and see the world and yeah, just visit a bunch of cool countries. So yeah, we enjoy touring outside of North America. I think some American bands.. Maybe they don't like it as much, but we really do at least.
With Neil - I don't to get too much into what happened there, but he was just kind of bringing us down. I think he was getting a little tired of the road maybe. He was increasingly kinda pissed off and acting like he didn't want to be here. I've known the guy since grade one and we talked to him and said that we wanted him to be happy but that we need to continue too and that we couldn't do that the way he was acting. So we told him and then gave him some time, but things didn't really improve, so we had to let him go. But I think it was the best for everyone, and for us at least, with the way the new record came out it ended up being a really positive thing for us.
So yeah I think it's exciting to just keep improving as musicians and try to do a better live show every time for our fans. Even if it's in the same venue like Lille Vega it still feels the same every time, and we never want to feel like we're just going through the motions. If it ever gets to the point when we feel that's what we're doing and we're just treading water and not enjoying ourselves, then that's the time that we know we need to give it up. Fortunately though, we haven't even got close to that yet.
So we've always wanted to just get in a room and we don't talk about the direction of the album. We don't talk about wanting to make a heavier or a poppier album or anything! We just kind of let the music flow out of us using the same influences that we've always had and that way it progresses naturally. That way nothing sounds forced and I think our fans appreciate it. Rock journalists like a story right? So they like when a band go crazy, changing their sound or something like that because it gives them something interesting to talk about. But fans don't like that?! You know? If I buy an album by a band, and I love the album - Why would I want the next album to sound completely different? That doesn't make any sense!
So for us, we just keep going and we keep writing the best songs we can and writing the best music. We don't try to write the same songs over and over again either but we let the progression remain natural and I think that's something that we pride ourselves on.
RF.net: Well it's working for you at least, at least in my opinion since I've heard all the albums and you have some great songs on each of them, so as long as you have that going then there's no reason to reach desperately for any changes I guess?
Shane: No - I mean I should point out that we did the "Short Songs" record and obviously that was different because we set out to write songs that were under 90 seconds. But I think when you hear that it still sounds like us. It's perhaps a little bit more punk rock influence just in the nature of having a 90 second song, but at the same time it's still us so.. You still hear it and know that it's Silverstein. So yeah, I think it's important to have a sound.
I'd say usually a song would start out with an instrumental part, typically guitar but also some times a drum or a bass part, and then once we have the skeleton of the song that's when I start thinking about what the melody is going to be. I'll just hum over it and some times we might then change the music to fit the melody so that the vocal melody can be better. And a lot of bands don't bother doing that. They finish the music completely and just assume that the vocals are going to be okay. We try to put a little extra step in there and make sure that before we've committed to the music, I know what the vocals are going to do.
It's different though. If you take "Discovering The Waterfront" or "Arrivals And Departures", those aren't concept albums. They have eleven or twelve songs on them which we just recorded and then figured out later how they would fit onto an album. So it's different. When you do a concept record it's definitely a lot more complicated and a lot more difficult but at the same time a lot more rewarding when it's all finished.
RF.net: I was going to say that perhaps that's one of the exact ways that you can challenge yourself and keep yourself motivated.
Shane: Yeah exactly. I mean we did the first three albums pretty much the same way. We got in a room and wrote a dozen songs and we didn't know what order they were going to be on the record and none of them were related to each other. And after doing that for a few records I was like "We have to try something different", so I came up with the idea to do "A Shipwreck In The Sand" like a concept album.. And that was a lot of work and it nearly killed me.. (laughs) So when we did "Rescue" we went back and did it the old way again, and then on "This Is How The Wind Shifts" we decided to challenge ourselves again. I think it's important for us to switch it up and keep things interesting.
RF.net: I think it was a good move as well. At least if I remember correctly I think that "Shipwreck" is currently the best reviewed album of yours on our site, so the challenge seemed to have paid off there.
Shane: Yeah, it's definitely one of my favourites too. When I look back the new record is for sure a really special one and probably our best, and then I think "A Shipwreck In The Sand" is my second favourite.
So I think that's a really cool thing, seeing younger fans coming out and I think that's really special. We welcome young fans coming out and it's really cool for us to see things coming full circle. I mean let's be honest: The people that were older than me when the first record came out, a lot of them aren't coming out to shows anymore. They have kids, they're married, they have jobs that are demanding and a lot of the time as people get older their priorities change. So because of that it's also good to have a younger fan base coming through that are still excited about our music.
RF.net: Yeah I guess you say it does say something about your stuff standing the test of time because it's the same with like the classic rock bands, as their songs still get found out about by new fans years and years later.
Shane: Yeah exactly. I mean one of my favourite bands of all time is Black Sabbath and I didn't grow up in the 70's. I wasn't born until the 80's and I just got into them because a bunch of other metal bands I liked were always saying that Black Sabbath was their biggest influence. So I went back and bought the "Paranoid" record and I thought it was awesome! And I guess it's a similar thing happening with our band with kids going back and checking out the old records. It's pretty cool.
RF.net: Do you think though, that it's ever something you'd think about going in to write the songs? Because if you know that you have to sing them to a lot of people that are younger than yourself could you see that affecting your writing? Like something can't be about a too grown up experience or something like that?
Shane: No, I don't think about it like that. I guess when I was younger.. I don't know about the first record, to which extent it may have come off as immature, but there was definitely some highschool/teenage heartbreak songs because that was what was going on when I was nineteen and writing these songs. But it's always this thing when you're younger you don't want to sound young. And I think I've actually always had it like that, like I wanted to write from some place of higher understanding of myself and I think that I've always tried to write "mature" lyrics. I think that and just writing from my heart has latched onto people. I mean if I can relate to it then maybe someone else can? But I don't think about it like that much, and I don't try to dumb anything down. You can't do that.
RF.net: Yeah we do! The "glög"!
Shane: Yeah I'm looking forward to the hot wine! (laughs)