Interview – Silverstein’s Shane Told

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silverstein interview

On Friday 14th December, Silverstein will play Le National in Montreal as part of their 15-year anniversary tour of When Broken Is Easily Fixed. The band shared that this tour will see the band playing two sets. One set will be dedicated to the 2003 album When Broken Is Easily Fixed, and another set of their greatest hits.

We caught up with frontman Shane Told ahead of their return to the city to find out how life is like for this legendary Canadian rock band.

Hi Shane! This is Maxime from Montreal Rocks! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us while you’re on the road. You’re currently in the middle of your North American Tour, how is it going so far?

The tour is amazing! We’ve almost finished the tour, we just have a few more days left… Montreal is the second to last venue we’re playing, so it’s good. We’re running like a fine-oiled machine at this point.

This tour is celebrating the 15-year anniversary of your album “When Broken is Easily Fixed”, 2 years after celebrating the 10th anniversary of “Discovering the Waterfront”. How important are these anniversary tours for you and for your relationship with the fans?

You know it’s cool, I think when we started doing these, we were really focusing on our music and the stuff we were doing currently. I think there was a fear we were taken away from all the great music we were making you know… and that’s fine, whether it’s in 2016 with “I Am Alive in Everything I Touch”, which is a record which was really celebrated or whether it’s our newest record “Dead Reflection” you know, which is I think the best record we’ve ever made… You know, I think we were scared we were somehow taking away from that, but now we realize that it’s important for us to celebrate our legacy and celebrate the things we’ve done that have had so much impact on people and embrace that. So, you know, I think the Discovering the Waterfront tour was such a great experience that once we realized that, we were really excited to be doing this one, to celebrate something a little bit older now and something that paved the way for our career even more.

Would you say it’s a way for you to reconnect with your earlier fans?

I think in some cases, I mean a lot of the fans haven’t gone anywhere. You know, I look at the crowd and I see the same familiar faces that have been coming to our shows for fifteen years. Some people are coming out that maybe haven’t been coming around in the last few years, maybe they’re a little bit older and they had a career, they got married, they had kids, whatever and they said “oh my god, they’re playing this album, I have to be there!” or “ I was listening to it in my car, three times a week or whatever a few years ago” so I definitely think that this is a cool thing in some cases but for the most part I think our fans are just excited about everything we’ve been doing.

On this tour, you’re with Hawthorne Heights, As Cities Burn, and Capstan. How is the behind the scenes with these bands?

Oh, they’re great! I mean, we didn’t know As Cities Burn or Capstan before the tour, we only knew them musically and you know, we know they’re great bands but of course there’s a lot more to touring than just great bands. They turned out to be some of the sweetest people, they’re some of the nicest guys that really really care about their fans coming out to the show, and just about the way they do things that’s really really great. Hawthorne Heights, of course, some of our oldest friends… we did our first tour with them back in 2004 so you know, we’ve known them for 14 years, so it’s really great to reconnect with them again as well.

Last year, you released your eighth album “Dead Reflection”, after 17 years as a band. How do you keep that drive and passion in the writing process and touring, cause it feels like you’re always doing something and never actually stopped during the past 17 years?

No! I mean, you just answered your own question. We don’t stop! We never stop! We decided in 2002 that we would all gonna drop out of school, we were gonna quit our jobs, we were gonna take a run at this thing, we got signed to Victory records and here we are 16 years later, we haven’t taken a break yet: we’ve either been touring, or we’ve been writing or we’ve been recording the record, literally constantly for 16 years. The biggest break we’ve had is like a 2 or 3-week break… that’s the only break so… no hiatus, no stopping at all, so with that drive and that work ethic we instilled in ourselves, I think at this point, we don’t know how to do it any other way. It’s just the way we are and the way we do it. It’s ingrained.

With the latest album that came out about a year ago, I wanted to ask you: do you still write the songs the same way you used back in the day or if you tend to censor yourself on particular topics?

We definitely don’t. I think, especially going back, and listening to the first album, and learning how to play it again and re-learning our songs, playing them again… a lot of them don’t really make sense [laughs] it was kind of like just an exercise and youth energy, and we were just writing based entirely on feel and emotion, not based on “oh this is how we write a song and this is where you put a verse where you put a chorus and a bridge”…. It was just like “oh this part feels right here” so in some way that made the record unique and the record what it was and what it still is… Of course, over the years, you know… after writing seven albums, we figured it out a little bit and figured out that it’s okay to repeat things [laughs] and you know, I think now with the last few albums, we’ve all become real songwriters, and I think that when looking back at that, we shake our heads a little bit but at the same time, there’s a certain magic there that I think you can’t replicate without that, you know. In some ways it’s ignorance cause we didn’t know what we were doing and just that exuberance that you have when you’re young…

Is there a song, in particular, you’re the proudest of in the way it impacted people?

Absolutely. I think every day, you know, people come up to me and tell me that I’ve saved their lives. You know, with my words, which is an amazing thing to hear. It’s never just one song you know, it’s amazing how different songs connect with different people. Even sometimes the same song will connect in a different way. I think the song “Call It Karma” has a lot of meaning to me and also does to a lot of people, it’s a lot of honesty with that, the idea of moving on, move away from things and go to a better place, and you know, the amount of people that struggled with drug addiction that told me “My Heroine” helped them… It’s pretty amazing too, despite that song not being about drugs at all, people taking it and making it their own, that’s something that I think is really powerful. That’s the great thing about music, is that once we write it, once we put it out, and it’s out there, it doesn’t belong to us anymore. It belongs to everybody, and it’s as much the fans as it is ours, so people are allowed to take whatever they need from it.

As you mentioned earlier, you’re now almost done with the tour, do you have a favourite song you enjoy playing live? From that album or from the greatest hits you also perform during this tour?

I think from the record “When Broken is Easily Fixed”, we’ve really been enjoying playing the song “I Wish I Could Forget You”, and it’s a deep cut, it’s track 9 on the record, and it’s a song that appeared on the first demo we ever made and I think it was like the second or third song we put together or ever wrote… so it’s pretty cool that it’s one we still enjoy so much playing, it’s kinda strange but that song always got me going and you know 18 years after we’ve written it, it still does so that’s pretty cool. I think from the greatest hits, I think our song “The Afterglow”, is a pleasure to play every night, it got so much energy and people just enjoy it so much that I can’t help but love it, so… yeah, those are the two I’d pick.

Back in 2016, you released a solo EP under the name River Oaks, how important was that for you and can we expect another EP or eventually a solo album?

Well you know, I’m the lead singer of Silverstein and I sing, play guitar on stage, play guitar in the studio but you know for me as a musician I’ve always missed playing guitar, writing my own songs, so that’s where River Oaks came from, I just wanted to do something on my own, by myself. So I wrote those three songs and I put them out on a listen 7-inch EP and it came out really well so… I think, the reason it’s been almost three years since that came out and I haven’t done any more is just time. I’ve been really busy with Silverstein, I’ve been really busy with my podcast Lead Singer Syndrome, so that stuff took a lot of time, and I’m a pretty slow writer too… [laughs] you know, I usually write about four Silverstein songs per album, that’s usually my jams, so if you figure we put an album out every two years and I write four songs… then I only write two songs a year so if I have to write a 1-song album, it will take me about six years! So I think I’m on pace right now for that, so I take my time. I’m a perfectionist and you’ll definitely be hearing more from my solo project, no question.

That’s great news to hear! This year marked the end of Warped Tour. You mentioned in an interview earlier this year that since 1997, you either performed or went to Warped Tour as a fan, so how do you feel about the end of Warped Tour?

You know, it’s sad, it’s the end of an era, and for me like you mentioned, attending since I was 16 years old, and then being there every summer sometimes the whole summer, it’s got a lot of meaning to me and it holds a lot of weight in my life, so for it to be over and gone, yeah I don’t know… I guess it brings up emotions just like anything you know, it’s just tough, but at the same time I think you have to look back at the good memories and think about what’s next, and I hope that either Kevin Lyman or the Warped Tour production people or somebody in that group tries to keep something going that has that same essence that Warped Tour embodied because Warped Tour was a really special tour, it wasn’t just a festival, it wasn’t just another show, it wasn’t just another tour… it had a lot of real special elements that I think we can’t just replicate. That being said, all good things must come to an end, so you know, we’ll keep on going, and there’s plenty of things to do in the summertime, that’s for sure!

Definitely! You guys tend to release documentaries with Rise Records to mark big steps in your career such as the release of a new record or even one regarding the 10-year anniversary tour of “Discovering the Waterfront”. Do you have a similar documentary planned for this special tour as well?

You know I don’t know about a documentary for the tour. I think it’s a long thing you know, hiring a camera crew and having someone to go around, taking the interviews and everybody wants some kinda documentary that ends up like a reality TV show or something you know, and as much as we’ve all grown to love reality TV, and as much as we love giving our fans inside look of what we’re doing, we just can’t do it all the time. It’s just something that we can’t do all the time, it’s too much so I think some if this documentaries we’ve done have been great, most of it has been really great, but I think we want to keep it special and not do it for every little single thing we do.

You guys have pretty much released an album every two years since When Broken is Easily Fixed. Can we expect a new record in 2019? Do you already have something in the works?

Well you know… yeah, we put out a record every two years since 2003. Like clock-work, ’03, ’05, ’07, ’09, ’11, ’13, ’15, ’17, and we put out some out some stuff in between as well… However, I don’t know if we’re going to get it out in 2019. We ended up extending this tour, this “When Broken Is Easily Fixed” tour because it was selling so well that the promoters were begging us to play more shows so in January, we’re going across Canada and we’re playing some other cities in the States for that, and by the time we’re done with that, we’ve got another tour in the works. I’m not sure we’re gonna be able to write and record a record and put it out by the time 2019 rolls around, but we’re certainly going to put out another album as soon as we can and we are working like I said, we never stop, so…

I’m looking forward to it then! Thanks a lot of for your time!

Thank you!

I really look forward seeing you in Montreal, I haven’t missed a single show during the past five years, and this time you’re actually coming the day after my birthday so it’s the perfect gift for me.

Awesome man, happy early birthday, I’ll see you in Montreal! Take care!

Interview – Maxime Le Huidoux

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