INTERVIEW: New Records, Podcasts & More With Silverstein
We had the pleasure of talking to Shane Told from Silverstein after their performance at Dutch festival Jera On Air. Besides their new album, we talked about the pandemic, their veteran status in the scene and much more. Check it out!
How are you today?
I’m wonderful, to be back here on Jera On Air, a festival we’ve done for so long and it’s grown to one of the best festivals in Europe. We missed this so much and to be back here with so many friends, it’s just an amazing day.
Congratulations on the release of the new album! Obviously, this one was a little bit different due to the pandemic. Can you elaborate on that?For sure, everything was different! We weren’t able to get together very much. We got together for a few live streams but a lot of writing we did separately and remotely. But when we got together in the studio it was full-on. We actually lived together in the studio for the entire recording process, which we hadn’t done since 2007. So for us to be there so close every day, spending every waking moment together, it really helped us to become this cohesive unit. Spending 24 hours with each other and with the record, we were always on it, discussing it and thinking about it, it really helped the album, Not to mention that we legitimately missed each other because we hadn’t toured, so when we were together again, it felt really uplifting. The material that we wrote about wasn’t uplifting, but the process of recording it was!
Did you have more time in the studio because you had no touring planned?
I wouldn’t say it was because of that, but every record we book and need more and more time. Making records does not get easier, life gets more complicated, and everyone has more responsibilities. We’ve done 9 albums, that’s 9 albums of material. I’ve written a lot of words and it doesn’t get easier to come up with more of them. So we know we have to put in the time and the effort and the love to make it happen. So it is very important to book more time than we think we need.
Our personal favourite on the album is The Altar/Mary. Can you tell us a little bit more about the creation of that song?
The two songs were written completely different from each other, there was no thought of them ever being combined in the initial writing process. There was some discussion about The Altar, which we were working on first and it was short, under two minutes. We didn’t want to make it any longer or repeat any parts but were afraid that people weren’t going to take it seriously. So we tried to make it longer but it didn’t work out. At the same time, we had this other song called Mary, which was kind of exactly the same affliction. We didn’t know how to extend it. Not all the lyrics were written for both the songs and when we had the initial discussion about what the songs were about, we realized that there was a real similarity in their idealogy and their themes. So they would make a really cool marriage. In our opinion, it was a really cool way to do it, because of the fact that they were so different in the way they sounded. Like part one and two of an amazing story. Almost like a concept within an album. We didn’t know what people were going to think about it, but we knew it was going to be something special. It was amazing to hear how people’s minds were blown, that song was all we heard about on release day.We never intended to play this song live, but the people have spoken and we are going to have to figure that out. It’s a banger.
How do you go about creating a setlist with so many albums?
It’s so hard. We look back at the first couple of records and we played all those songs live because then it were the only songs we had. But now, when we make a new record, it’s almost a little bit sad because we know there is no way that we are going to be able to play all of them live. We cycle some of them in and out and try to do it, but at the end of the day we only have so long on stage and we must have about 120 songs, maybe more. So it is a really difficult decision, we try to do it a little bit different every tour and sometimes bring back songs that we haven’t played in a while. We have also been doing a few medleys where we play a piece of 10 songs in 7 minutes, which has been pretty fun. To give people a taste. I saw Eminem in Detroit and he almost only did parts of his songs, because in hip-hop, songs are often 5 or 6 minutes long and you can’t do a show for 5 hours. So when I saw that, I thought maybe there’s some way we can do that. I don’t know if it’s the perfect solution, but at least it is a solution.
Now that touring has started again and you still have your podcast, do you even sleep?
The Silverstein podcast was my thing, my idea, I really wanted us to bring some of the conversations that we had into the public because some of them are very interesting and I think it was a great way to promote the new album and let people know the ins and outs of it. I have produced and recorded it myself. Once we started it, it was really cool how much stuff and information came out and we really pulled back the curtain. We didn’t edit anything out, we didn’t hold any information back. But to answer your question about sleeping, it has been a lot of work, recording it, producing it, editing it and mixing and mastering it. It’s been a lot. But I think it has been something that’s been really compelling and fans are going to enjoy it for years to come to. Because we spent 11 hours about this one album, when do you hear a band do that.
What are some of the key elements that you have seen change in the scene over the course of the years?
That’s a good question, we have seen it all. We have seen the trends come and go and we have seen bands come and go. The bands that hang around, they are the ones that are really honest about their music. From a really early time in our band, it was very important for us to treat everybody with kindness and respect and not burn any bridges. At the same time, not try to latch on to these lame trends that have popped up over the years. There were always a few bands that fell victim to that. Things have changed, bands are better than they have ever been. All these things are incredible. The music coming out now is the best ever, music is peaking right now and the sky is the limit. With everybody spending all their time writing the past two years, it has led to some incredible art and now we are hearing them, we are hearing the fruit of the labor, it is all coming out now.
Are there some things that you still have on your bucket list?
There have been a few things that have happened over the past years that we are really proud of. We got nominated in Canada for a Juno for Rock Album Of The Year. That’s our version of the Grammys. We have been getting a bunch of radio play for Ultraviolet. It is in the top 30 right now on US Rock charts. There are also tons of countries that we want to explore. We enjoy every step of the way and we pride ourselves on being real and we are enjoying the ride. It’s taken us places that we never imagined and it’s still going.