In terms of modern working rock bands there’s a lot of household names that come up. But Canada’s Silverstein I find don’t get the recognition they deserve. They’ve been going hard full-time for over fifteen years together, and this edgy rock outfit have done exceedingly well over their lifetime. Currently signed to Rise Records and touring in support of their newest release Dead Reflections. I’ve been gifted the opportunity to talk to the vocalist Shane Told. A pleasant conversationalist and a rational thinker, he graciously offered his time and insight into how the band continues to run full-pelt after all these years, and they’ve no signs of slowing down.
How is the Get Free tour going so far with Tonight Alive?
Its been awesome! And a lot of fun. You know, we’re just kind of getting started but we’re starting out strong and we couldn’t ask for better audiences.
Had any fun moments yet? You should know now that us Aussies, we like to get down a little bit.
Oh man yeah we do and Tonight Alive definitely do. Actually the first day of tour was Cam’s birthday (T.A’s bassist). So straight off we went out for dinner and some pints. It was really good to get to know them, such a fun start, they’re a great band even though they are different to us musically, we all hold to that same standard of showmanship.
With Dead Reflections, it’s still got the slick emo, hardcore sound you guys have mastered, with that young freshness you hear from newer bands nowadays. But how does it represent you guys now? Have you changed or do you still stick to the same old, same old?
I think this record is quite a bit different. Our direction was a bit different, we worked with a brand new producer, a younger guy. Experienced with some lower tunings, kind of like what the younger bands are doing. I think we took that element and mixed in our sound and my voice. Then y’know, the natural progression for it kind of took over. We’re really proud of DR and the fans have really embraced it, as well as the critics. It’s kind of a feel good story, almost too good a feel good story because there’s almost nothing I can go back over. Its a controversy you know what I mean? Its a good record, what else is there to talk about? So it’s sort of a good problem I guess, but yeah we’re really proud of it and happy with the result.
Other bands may have tried to delve into whatever drama they have to find material, but with Silverstein its always been clean and simple, straight through, there’s no drama or Bullshit. And it’s so refreshing to hear that.
Yeah man we just kind of go about our business and try to craft the best songs we can. I think the big difference was we weren’t afraid to take some chances like we were on some of our past records. We weren’t afraid to jump out of our comfort zones before hand. Not to say we weren’t creative or pushing our limits, but we made some very safe decisions. Whereas this time we were able to go a little outside of what we naturally do.
Should bands still make some safe decisions when it comes to their songwriting or is it necessary to make risks? It sounds like you guys have been sticking to a formula, I mean you guy have pumped out an album every 2 years so you must have some kind of plan, you think it might be a good idea to take a risk or stick to what works?
Well, I think thats what we did with DR. There are songs on DR that we wouldn’t be capable of putting on the last records. Like 'Lost Positives', thats a very different song for us. We wouldn’t have been able to do that, and 'Last Looks' is another one. It shows our progression for us as a band. And then the most popular song is probably 'The Afterglow'. There's no screaming, there's no heavy chug parts, its a straight up pop song. We stopped and said “Can we do this? Is this Silverstein? Are we allowed to do this?” So we just said fuck it! Now we have it as a staple part of our setlist, people freak out when we play it live. I think we have made risks, we don’t have to make a Radiohead to take risks. For us to do a Radiohead record it’s not a risk, Its suicide! Furthermore, we don’t want to do that! That stuff isn’t what we’re setting out to do.
When it comes to live shows you guys really put it out there. I remember seeing your anniversary show for Discovering the Waterfront. You guys go hard! Not just in terms of how hard you play the show but the number of shows you guys do is crazy. You ever considered slowing down? You’re pumping out albums like no tomorrow, and playing around, what 200-300 shows a year? You ever sort of want to go “Hey, guys I need a break” or do you all just fire on all cylinders?
To be completely honest, we’ve been doing this for so long, we’re really used to a schedule. We’re used to putting out an album and then touring that album everywhere there is to play until we’ve played pretty much everywhere there is to play, multiple times usually. And then we just go back and make another album. We’ve done 8 albums now, so we’ve done that cycle 8 times. We haven’t stopped or taken a break, haven’t gone on hiatus. Are there are times that it’s hard, yes. But, its always been hard, you know? I don’t know if it always gets harder, because sometimes it gets easier. You know what to expect. There's gonna be times where you’re burned out and you gotta go home for a couple of weeks to recover. But then sometimes you’re stuck at home and itching to get back out on the road. The give and take there has been from really chill to completely nuts. We’ve been touring for ages, 2018 will be out 15th year of full-time touring. Its pretty crazy for me, its blowing my mind right now thinking about it. I mean not much has changed in my life, sure I’ve grown up a bit and I’ve had relationships come and go and there’s been other milestones in my life. But for the most part the one consistency has been Silverstein. And I can say that about all of us, well except for Paul-Marc (Lead guitarist), since he started out with us as a guitar-tech and merch guy when he was 19 before he joined the band. He’s still been with us for the better part of 10 years. Its pretty crazy, but I don’t think we can have it any other way.
I know Paul’s sort of the new guy even still after all this time, but he’s got that experience of hanging with you guys. It’s amazing how you could take him in and have him fit like a glove as the new guitarist. Couldn’t ask for a better guy to do the job.
Yeah, well not many people know this, I’ve mentioned it a couple of times, but we had to fire Neil. And when we did we were in the process of writing what would have become This Is How The Wind Shifts. So I had been writing some songs like 'California', 'Massachusetts', Josh had the beginnings on 'To Live and To Lose'. Now we were getting there but we thought maybe we’d want to add another guitarist for the writing. We were going to add another guitarist anyway, so we had a short list of four or five guys who maybe we thought if it all went well we’d ask to join the band. And the first guy we tried out was Paul-Marc, because he lived in the same city as us. So he came down for a practice to kind of help us work on some material. And he was a friend too, so it was all cool. And then he said “Hey, I don’t wanna overstep my boundaries here, but I kinda wrote a Silverstein song.” And that song he brought forward was 'Stand Amid The Roar', the first track of the record. If I go back to the demo, it was just guitar and instruments, no vocals. But I was like, wow, not only is this what we’re like as a band but it’s got a new element. So over time he’s gotten more comfortable and he’s become a great addition to the band over these years, and a real privilege to work with.
So coming to Australia in May, but you’re touring with Comeback Kid, How long have you known those guys?
We’ve known Comeback Kid for well over ten years, the first tour we did with them was when we opened for Rise Against in 2007. We’ve been friends ever since. We were both label mates with Victory for a bit too, we’ve just always stayed in touch. We’ve always done festivals together, so when the opportunity came up we’ve just wanted to do it for so long, and it just worked out so well. The thing with Silverstein is that we’re so diverse. We can tour with bands like Tonight Alive who are a bit softer than us, and then Comeback Kid are a fair bit heavier than us, we’re a pretty good middle ground.
What’s the next step after the touring, World Domination or stick to the formula?
World domination would be pretty good, but we’re just gonna stick to dominating our own shows when we play them. That's all we’ve got our eyes set on, playing the best shows we can. We’ve really stepped up the production for the tour, give the people their moneys worth. Something to make it worthwhile for when And then I think we’ve got a lot of little things up our sleeves, maybe new music at some point. But for now we just feel great about DR and just wanna play these songs and get back out there.
Silverstein and Comeback Kid 2018 Australian and NZ Tour Dates
Monday May 14th – PERTH, Amplifier Bar 18+
Tuesday May 15th – ADELAIDE, Fowlers Live Lic/AA
Wednesday May 16th – MELBOURNE, 170 Russell 18+
Friday 18th May – SYDNEY, Manning Bar 18+
Saturday 19th May – NEWCASTLE, Cambridge Hotel 18+
Sunday 20th May – BRISBANE, The Triffid Lic/AA
Tuesday 22nd May – AUCKLAND, Whammy 18+
Wednesday 23rd May – WELLINGTON, Valhalla 18+
Tickets from Australia: https://tickets.destroyalllines.com/Default.aspx?Event=82159
New Zealand: http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/index.php?task=searchall&q=silverstein