WORDS: BECTON SIMPSON
“Silverstein was just for fun,” says lead vocalist Shane Told. “I didn’t even think we were gonna play a show or release music.” Not bad for a band who are currently celebrating their 20th year together as a group. We chatted to Shane recently, at the beginning of their anniversary tour of the States, a tour which sadly had to be postponed a couple weeks later due to the Covid-19 pandemic but focusing on the positives, Shane had plenty of cool stuff to say about their 9th studio album ‘A Beautiful Place To Drown’ and the anniversary itself.
“It’s such a huge milestone,” he continued. “We started the band as a side project, just something fun to do in the Canadian winter back when I was 19 years old….There were zero expectations.” He definitely didn’t think they were going to be together for this long and those low expectations have helped to keep the band humble despite their many years together. With the benefit of maturity too, they’re now more able to step back and appreciate the massive successes they’ve had and still get just as psyched and enthusiastic over performing and being together as a group. “We don’t take anything for granted…we’re still firing on all cylinders and just really appreciative that we’re able to be here still after so long.”
“ON EVERY RECORD WE SPEND MORE TIME SCRUTINISING EVERY SINGLE FUCKING NOTE, AND THAT’S WHAT YOU GOTTA DO.”
“We grew up together,” he spoke of their life on the road as teens in the early days. “We just got in a van, got in a bus, and we figured it out. We figured out how to be good people, how to treat people with respect…we did a lot of growing up on the road, and we’ve lived a lot of life experience.”
Nine albums later then, and we have ‘A Beautiful Place To Drown’ which came out March 6th via UNFD and by Shane’s estimates is “probably one of the biggest steps we’ve taken musically.” Featuring a lot of “different textures, tones and sounds” which the band haven’t tried before, although he feels certain the Silverstein fanbase will come along for the ride. “The fans have always been very open minded and very excited when we try new things,” he told us. “The approach we’ve always taken with albums is to let it flow and see what comes out, not try to force anything.” Being a band this far into their career though, coming up with fresh ideas and new sounds without recycling old stuff must be something of a challenge sometimes. “It doesn’t get easier,” Shane admitted. “You don’t wanna rip yourself off.” But for him, it’s all about bands being willing to put in the work, and still dedicate themselves to their art and their songwriting rather than getting complacent and just knocking out albums for the sake of it. “Every record, we book more studio time than we need, we spend more time writing, we spend more time scrutinising every single fucking note and that’s what you gotta do.”
“WHEN IT’S NOT FUN ANYMORE WE’LL STOP. I CAN’T SEE IT STOPPING ANY TIME SOON THOUGH…”
The album has been a couple of years in the making with around “three months of solid writing” followed by studio time and thematically, it covers a whole range of different topics with each song being it’s own concept. “It was kinda nice to be able to pick a variety of topics, everything from politics to mental health, even some historical events we talk about…and of course, the classic relationship songs.” Because of this level of variety, it was initially difficult for them to choose a name for the album, but ‘A Beautiful Place To Drown’ felt like it “really worked…because there’s so much happening in the world right now. The world is a beautiful place and there’s so many progressive and great ideas, but then at the same time so many people are struggling whether it’s financially or with their own mental health. There’s all of these things which we’re kind of drowning in.” There’s obviously much in the title to give people pause for thought but Shane insisted he welcomed “thinkers and rockers…either way is a perfectly fine way to consume music.”
Once lockdown is over they’re hoping to carry on with the 20th Anniversary celebrations by playing shows in “some places we haven’t been. We’ve achieved so much but we continue to push on. We’re still growing…we’re still getting bigger and it’s kind of exciting to be able to still push and do new things.” These new things include but are not limited to, the use of pyro and confetti in their latest shows, and bigger and better on stage theatrics. And with this level of enthusiasm and passion for playing, Silverstein show no sings of slowing down. “I think Bad Religion have been a band for forty years this year…and I’ve always said I wanted us to be the Bad Religion of emo so…When it’s not fun anymore, we’ll stop. And it’s just so damn fun still. I can’t see it stopping anytime soon.”
A BEAUTIFUL PLACE TO PLACE TO DROWN IS OUT NOW VIA UNFD.