Silverstein

author PP date 09/08/06

When we heard Silverstein was coming to town in support to Simple Plan, we just couldn't let them leave without having a thorough chat with their singer Shane Told and their drummer Paul Koehler. Vega's backstage isn't an art gallery, that's for sure. The hang around area for the bands is very minimalistic with just a few sofas and a dining table, and the dressing rooms are interconnected and tiny. The interview was conducted in Silverstein's dressing room while Simple Plans guys (red: David) was joking around, being as noisy and funny as people are used to him on stage. It wasn't uncommon for David to pop in a word or two to some of the questions by the Rockfreaks writers PP and KS, who questioned the band about their history, the emo movement, future plans and of their love to the hyped Danish indie act Mew. Read on to find out what Shane and Paul had to tell us in the shady dressing room of Vega.

RF.net: First of all, how are things in Silverstein at the moment?

Shane: Things are good. Pretty good.

RF.net: There hasn't bee any problems on this tour yet?

Shane: No it's been amazing so far, the shows have been totally big and this is a little bit of a different tour for us so it's really nice we're getting the response we are getting, so we are really happy about it.

RF.net: How would you describe your sound to somebody who has never heard Silverstein yet?

Shane: Well, I guess we're a heavy band primarily, you know, we're heavy but we are also very melodic and try to be catchy

Paul: I think the fact that we can tour with bands from like Simple Plan to a hardcore band kinda shows that we are pretty diverse and if people are open minded and like all those different styles of music then they can definitely get into our band.

RF.net: Are you happy with the emo/screamo tag that many people tend to categorize you under?

Paul: That's fine 'cause at least we listen to the real bands that were defined those titles when we started our band, so that's where we stem a lot of our influences from.

RF.net: Do you see yourself as a 'scene' band, then?

Shane: That's such a gay term [everyone laugh], [Shouts to David, the bass player of Simple Plan:] The question is do we see ourselves as a scene band?

David (Simple Plan): You guys have swoopy hair, jeans and black clothes I mean come on!

Shane: Alright, I guess so, Yeah so we're a scene band

Paul: Find us on MySpace!

Shane: We do have a MySpace page so

RF.net: You've listed a whole bunch of bands under your influences like NOFX and At The Drive-In. Who is your biggest one?

Paul: I think the fact that we listen to all of those bands kinda makes the sound that we do.

Shane: The two bands that made me wanna start this band were a band from my home town called Grade and another band called The Get Up Kids. Those were the two bands that were different from all the punk rock I was listening to, that made me wanna do something that wasn't like double time fast like everything else I listened to.

RF.net: Do you know that guy from Grade personally, what's his name?

Shane: Yeah, Kyle,

Paul: Well it wasn't Kyle, it was their drummer

RF.net: You got signed to Victory after he persuaded them a little. Do you think you would have landed the deal anyway if he didn't exist?

Paul: It's hard to say

Shane: Well they really liked our music so it was just a question of them getting to hear it, but because they get so many demos it's very hard for them to hear everything.

RF.net: So do you feel yourself lucky in one way or another?

Shane: Oh yeah, definitely

Paul: It was kind of our last chance to use our one connection we had, and if we get signed then maybe we'll take it to the next level, if not, who knows what would've happened at that point.

RF.net: Would you say that this 'networking' is important for a starting band?

Paul: Yeah.

Shane: I think it can be important.

RF.net: But you can certainly do without it, can't you?

Paul: Yeah, you just do it yourself, if you know what I mean, but it helps.

RF.net: Do you think that your genre of music has become saturated?

Shane: I think every young band is starting a band that sounds like this kind of music

Paul: I think part of it is though that the record labels are just not gonna sign bands that sound like this, so bands that started it are gonna continue doing it and there won't be as many new bands doing it.

RF.net: So how will you cope with it? How will you respond to all these new bands making similar music..how will you stay fresh and original?

Shane: Well I mean we try to write the best songs we can, we figure out that in the end of the day it just comes down to that and writing better songs than everybody else.

RF.net: Do you think that this 'emo' movement we are experiencing right now is similar to the nu-metal one we had 5-6 years back?

Shane: I'm not familiar with that to be honest to even say. It could be, but I'm not familiar with it. When I was growing up and there were bands like NOFX and Bad Religion and right down the line there was Lagwagon who were a little bit smaller than NOFX was and then Strung Out was that size and then there were the even smaller bands that would open up for those bands, and to me it's just kind of like that, how there was the huge NOFX/Bad Religion who would be playing to really big audiences and then there was Blink 182 who got MTV success, it's just like that now, My Chemical Romance is like the Blink 182 of that scene or Coheed & Cambria is the NOFX of that scene. That's exactly how I see it. I think the kids are just as excited as I was about that music about the kind of music we're playing.

Paul: The thing is to the whole nu-metal thing is bands like koRn and Limp Bizkit that sold way more records than any band in our genre, even more than My Chemical Romance..

Shane: ..and most of those bands were also on major labels, while most of the bands that I mentioned are on independent labels.

Paul: Yeah, or even like Hawthorne Heights or Taking Back Sunday, all those are on indie labels but still did really well

RF.net: So do you think that 'emo' will die out just like nu-metal did?

Shane: Sure, I think every music will die out

Paul: Everything always exists in the underground, like you can say that punk died after Green Day got onto the radio but there's still punk bands from the 70s or 80s

Shane: Or with that old scene, NOFX still goes on tour and does really well. There will always be certain bands from every genre who are 'scene', if you will, who will continue to do well in years and years and years, whereas the bands like, who cares about ten foot pole anymore, right? no-one cares about that band, you know, cause they weren't that good right?

RF.net: Okay, now to some touring questions. Why are you touring with Simple Plan?

Paul: Because they are awesome and they're Canadian!

RF.net: But all personal relations set aside, what do you think of their music ?

[silence]: Shane: The singer's sitting right there [points behind KS, all laugh]. Actually, when I was growing up listening to NOFX and all those bands, Pierre [Simple Plan vocalist], David [bassist] were in a band called Reset from Montreal, and they were actually one of my favorite bands growing up. So when Simple Plan came out, I definitely hear the reset influence in them, and I'm totally a big fan of Simple Plan. Have you seen their live show? They're so good live.

Paul: It's one of the biggest and one of the best live bands we've toured with. Ever. It's the biggest, for sure, so it's crazy for us

Shane: But in terms of why we are doing it, anytime you can have an opportunity to go to all these different countries and know there's gonna be, you know, 2000 kids out there that have never heard your band? You'd be an idiot not to do that.

RF.net: Aren't you afraid of the crowd reaction?

Paul: The best thing is that they're fans, they're young and they're impressionable and you just get up there and do the best job you can. The worst thing you are going to get from these shows is some kids liking your band. You know some kid doesn't like your band and doesn't come back to see you, that's fine, cause we still have our fans but we gain like ten new fans each show so it's worth it, just play for the crowd and go to these countries for the first time. It's almost like starting over in a lot of ways.

RF.net: So have you noticed any freaked out people in the Simple Plan crowd?

Paul: I guess, I don't think so because like My Chemical Romance is all over the radio, and even though they don't scream that much but it's darker and heavier. Not that much but, if there's bands like that on the radio.

Shane: All bands have some screaming sometimes right now

Paul: If this happened three years ago, I would probably say it wouldn't fall through as it does now. The fact that all these bands are breaking to the mainstream is opening up that opportunity for us to do this tour.

RF.net: Have you tailored your setlist to fit a Simple Plan crowd? Are you playing the same setlist if it was a Silverstein audience?

Shane: Ummmm....

Paul: i think we just re-ordered our set a little bit

Shane: We definitely aren't coming out with our most balls to the walls songs, we don't wanna freak people out. But other than that, yeah, we play the same songs.

Paul: Yeah, we start with some lighter songs but we still play the singles..

Shane: But we still want every kid that comes to see our band to hear his favorite song, but again it's hard because we only have half an hour to play

RF.net: You better play "Giving Up", then!

Shane: Oh we'll play giving up [laughs, David of Simple Plan screaming like a monkey on the background]

RF.net: What's the most bizarre thing that's ever happened to you on stage?

Shane: [points to the still screaming David] You better ask that guy, he's got a better answer than I do, [Shouts to David] most bizarre thing that's ever happened on stage? I bet you got a good one! I don't have a good one

Paul: What has happened to us on stage? umm.. our bass player once tripped and knocked over my drum kit while I was playing in the middle of a song. That was kind of interesting. Umm, what else..

RF.net: What's the best show you've ever played and why?

Shane: The best show? Umm.. this one rad show was a Tsunami benefit show, and like all the bands rolled up and everyone played for free and there were a lot of big name bands. It was in New Jersey, where a lot of good bands come from, and it was completely sold out and nobody cared about... anything really. You'd just get up there and play your songs and people weren't worried about selling merch or any backstage stuff if you know what i mean. You'd just get there and play. There were a lot of big name bands and I thought that was just really really cool. Everyone just like got together and did something for the sake of somebody else.

RF.net: What about the worst show?

Shane: There's been tonnes of bad ones.

RF.net: Any empty rooms?

Paul: Yeah, early on in the career

Shane: What's the fewest people we've ever played to?

Paul: That show in Toronto at that bar on campus.. what was it called.. st charlies or something? There was actually nobody there, except for the other bands. That was in 2001. But we played this one show in Kansas City once, on our first US tour ever, and there was a tornado in town so nobody was allowed to leave their house so nobody came to the show.

Shane: I remember how scared we were..

Paul: Yeah we thought we were gonna die. [laughs]

Shane: We're in this city and there are sirens going off, and this is also our third show in the US ever, we never really even toured before. And so I'm saying to the owner of the club and I'm like: "so i guess this happens all the time, the sirens?" and he's like "last time it happened was, oh, 10-15 years ago" so we were like 'holy shit are we gonna die?' [laughs]

RF.net: If you could get a support slot on any bands tour, who would it be? Would it be Simple Plan?

Paul: We already got this, we don't need to tour Simple Plan, we can tour with somebody else now! [laughs] I don't know... who would be somebody..

Shane: Ahh man, that's a hard question. [long silence, shane looking up, thinking] Foo Fighters?

RF.net: Why?

Shane: I respect them a lot. They're a really good band, it would be really cool to play for their fans.

RF.net: Now to the album. How do you guys feel about "Discovering The Waterfront"?

Shane: We love how it came out, we're really proud of it, we're excited about how people have received it, how people are really really excited about the record.

RF.net: As far as I've understood, the artwork was really important to you guys. Can you expand on that?

Paul: It's just because a lot of bands create artwork on the last minute, you know not really with a purpose, but it's like the entire package, you're trying to sell your music and try to show people what you created. So you write music and you write lyrics, and when you tell a story, you need to show that story through the artwork and kind of paint a picture that can speak for your band. I think that's really important. And because of that kids will receive us even better than if we had a generic cover.

RF.net: What's your favorite track on the album and why?

Paul: It's hard to say..

Shane: I think my favorite track varies a lot. I like the first track ("Your Sword Vs. My Dagger") on the record. It just gets really to the point and heavy and in your face.

RF.net: Was it a more difficult album to make than the first one?

Paul: I think it was probably easier. You have that much more experience and that much more skill and you just have a different outlook.

Shane: It was interesting. It was harder in some ways and easier in other ways. Paul said it was easier. The first record was hard because we were a completely unknown band so we were trying to figure out how we wanted to sound, you know, because it's like our first impression. The second record was hard because we had been around for a while and we didn't wanna change our sound too much to freak people out or anything, but we needed to be, you know, different and still make great songs people will like, so both records were difficult like that. But the second record was just way easier to make and came out a lot easier

RF.net: What's your favorite album overall?

Shane: Of any band ever? Shit..that's such a hard question..just to pick one record.

Paul: Cave In - Jupiter, i think it's one of the best records in the last ten years

Shane: Refused - The Shape Of Punk To Come, that's an amazing record.

RF.net: What does the future hold for Silverstein? Will we see you on a headlining tour here in Denmark?

Paul: We hope to come back to Denmark

Shane: That's another reason that we didn't mention about playing with Simple Plan. You almost never have the opportunity to come to all of these countries just on our own because we don't have a big enough fanbase for enough people to come for it to make sense. So now hopefully when we do these tours we can come back on our own. We'd love to come back

RF.net: So what's happening in 2006?

Paul: We're booked for almost all year. US, Canada, Australia

RF.net: When are you going to Australia?

Paul: May.

RF.net: You're coming to Europe in April again for the Groezrock festival. Any plans to come back later?

Paul: We'll probably do a headlining tour in late fall

RF.net: Do you see yourself as a band in 10 years time?

Paul: You never know, we've been a band for 6 years now. I don't know where the time with that went already. [laughs]

Shane: Yeah, if you asked us six years ago if we were a band in six years, I'd say i don't know, when I'm 25 I'd probably be doing something else but..10 years is a long time. [laughs] 5 years maybe, 10 years I don't know.

RF.net: With all these major label horror stories circulating across the internet, I have to ask you: say Sony came up to you and said: Here's $10 million, make an album that sounds like this, what would you do?

Paul: First of all, I wouldn't sign with Sony

Shane: For $10 million I'd fucking kill somebody. [all laugh] If Sony offered you $10 million and said make a record that sounds like this. "yeah okay"

David from the background: $10 million!? FUCK YEAHH! [all laugh]

RF.net: Would you actually ever sign to a major label, realistically?

Paul: I don't really think major labels are as bad as people think. I think if you have something established at the time, like say a couple of years down the road for us, it wouldn't be that bad, because we already have our fanbase

Shane: There's a lot of bands in our genre that are on major labels and are very happy and are doing very well

Paul: I think it's just a label is a label as long as they're excited about your music.

David: [whispers] It's all the same shit! [all laugh]

Shane: You get fucked either way

David: Exactly! For real!

RF.net: Moving onto the other questions now. How do you feel about downloading the music from the internet?

Shane: I'm pretty cool with it, because especially over here, I don't think you can ever buy our record here.

Paul: If you're gonna download it, you're going to be exposed to it and then end up buying it online or whatever that's cool but if you buy it from the show, that's even better.

Shane: The only thing record sales really mean for us is like.. it's like a number. So if we can say to someone we've sold um, 200,000 records, will you bring us on tour? They're more likely to bring us on tour than if we've sold 10,000 records and a 190,000 downloaded it.

Paul: The numbers are only cared by the industry

Shane: In terms of us making money or whatever, it doesn't really matter that much

RF.net: What do you think about the albums leaking onto the web so early. I mean, yours leaked at least two months in advance?

Shane: It happens with almost everything now, doesn't it? Like the Hawthorne Heights record...I think October and it doesn't come out before mid-february, so that's really bad, because people can actually be sick of your record already before it even comes out, which is never good. But there's some cases like the Senses Fail record, which leaked like a year before it came out, and it still did pretty well in the sales. Sometimes it can help, I think, leaking... a little bit. If it's a good record it can create buzz.

RF.net: Do you listen to any Danish music?

Paul: Isn't that band... Isn't Mew from Denmark? Mew is like my favorite band. They're like my third top favorite record of last year I bought.

Shane: That other record is amazing, too

Paul: Do they play it much around here?

RF.net: Yeah they do actually, it's a Danish band so..

Paul: Are they big here?

RF.net: Very. I mean they play them on the radios and everywhere. They're in the mainstream.

Paul: Ah okay, I have their latest two records but they have records before that, right? I saw them online.

RF.net: Which records do you have?

Paul: I have the black cover with all their faces on it and "Frengers" or whatever

RF.net: They have a record before "Frengers" too

Paul: Yeah? Is it good? I wanna pick that up really really bad. We love that band.

RF.net: What's your opinion about your Canadian genre-mates Alexisonfire and Moneen?

Shane: [looks shocked] Ummmm.... Well... [laughter],

RF.net: You guys really hate them, don't you?

Shane: No, no no. We love Moneen. Moneen's an awesome band.

Paul: They're all from our home area so we've kinda grown up together and grown together musically and toured together so.... It's... nice.

RF.net: What about South Park, since you guys are Canadians?

Shane: Oh we love South Park. We actually, you know the song 'Blame Canada'? We walked out to it as our intro, but he didn't like it so we stopped using it [points to Paul]

RF.net: The final question is going to be a weird one. If you could be a South Park character, who would you be an why?

Shane: A South Park character? Oh man.. Kenny! Kenny can come back from the dead! So I'd be Kenny.

Paul: Cartman likes to eat a lot, right? So I'll be him and eat my cheesy poofs.

RF.net: That's about it. Thanks for the interview. Anything you want to say to your fans?

Shane: No problem, thanks. Please come out here and support us when we come by!

Paul: Thanks for checking us out! Please let Mew bring us on tour!

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