After another successful stint on the 2017 installment of Vans Warped Tour, Silverstein front man Shane Told and staffer Joshua Austin had a chat about the band’s new album, their 17+ year career, and the pressure being a lead singer.
Told: It is a super personal record about the last year and a half of my life, which was the darkest time I’ve ever been through. It basically got to the point where I stopped caring about what was going to happen to me, and that scared me on some level. There was a strange self awareness I had, watching things going down a very bad path, but I just didn’t have any strength to stop it. Once we started writing this record, and I was able to find not only did I start to realize exactly what was happening, I also started caring about the record so much, about the band so much, and it helped pull me out of that dark place.
Was there a specific moment, or moments, the band knew this was the direction you needed to head in?
Told: Definitely. He is our chief songwriter now, and brought in his own sound which was influenced by us because we was a fan of us first. So it’s a cool little circle there, which makes him pretty in tune with what direction we should be going both from the inside and from the outside. We really do feel like our last three records are our three best, even better than Discovering the Waterfront and I think that that’s a pretty cool thing to honestly say that 17 years into this band, we are making the best music of our career.
Told: Thanks for noticing that. I think a little of both. Derek Hoffman (producer) definitely was hands on and really intense and serious and he pushed me really hard. He was a big factor. But I think we have just slowly becoming more and more confident over each record, and more sure of ourselves and less scared to take risks.
I’m not sure “Lost Positives” could have been on This Is How The Wind Shifts because I don’t think we were ready to go there yet. I don’t know if our fans were ready either. But we did it, writing a song that the melody of the chorus literally starts on a major 7th, and has a dance beat and is also tuned down to B and has a synthy almost piano melody in it. 2003 Silverstein wouldn’t be able to do that, 2013 Silverstein probably not. But a handful of years later I think we’ve opened up our minds and the results are really spectacular.
Told: It was definitely just the darkness I went through. I also was having an extremely hard time focusing on writing too, and that was frustrating, so I booked an airBNB right by the studio for the entire time we were working on the record. I had none of my shit, just my guitar and a shitload of books. No TV, and no distractions.
You’d think that would make me instantly creative but at first it actually just made me even more uncomfortable and more self aware of my own pain. But once I forced myself to just write what came out of me was really honest and real and great. And it was painful, but ultimately the love I have for this record and for Silverstein forced me to get my shit together. And I’ve never been happier now.
Told: Well they are all concept albums, but the “story” albums like Shipwreck and TIHTWS are WAY easier to write. I take myself and my personal feelings out of the equation and it’s really really easy. I wrote Dead Reflection because I had to and I Am Alive was basically all the turmoil I faced over the first 15 years of the band, so those records took a lot out of me.
Told: I think we work really really hard on every record and take it seriously and also realize you have to put in the time. A lot of bands records get worse and worse and they just keep shitting them out and it’s like they stopped caring. The fire is gone. We try to outdo ourselves every time but we also really try to make an honest and natural step forward every time too, so our fans aren’t like “WTF happened”. Also, we don’t shit talk or stop playing our old music. We embrace our legacy and our past albums while still try to make better ones. Some bands say, “oh that song sucks, we aren’t going to play it anymore” well if it sucks now, it probably sucked back then and also what about all the fans who want to hear it? Their opinion is more important than yours is anyways.
Told: “Lost Positives” for sure is a favorite. We all dig “Mirrorbox” and “Whiplash”. I think live all those ones, and also “The Afterglow” because that song is just really different for us and has so much energy on the recording. Live it’s going to have even more, and that will be really sick.
Told: Yeah, I definitely had a rough go, man. I was never suicidal though and I never thought about that, it was more just a self destructive thing and just doing everything I could to take my mind off the pain and basically self sabotage myself. But hearing about guys like Chris and Chester… and even Prince – I’m not sure if they know if his OD was on purpose, but those are majorly successful guys with insane talent, they have all the money in the world, and still they can’t bear the thought of living another day in this world… it’s so heartbreaking and sad, and as rough as it was for me, I knew eventually I may be able to be happy again, and now I am happier than ever. Happier than I ever thought was possible. I encourage anyone, front man or not, to please open up the communication here with loved ones and get help because I know it’s possible to pull yourself out, and when people commit suicide it is just so destructive to the people code to them. So please if you’re going through a hard time, do something.
Told: Canada/Germany/UK and a few US dates are announced, next year we’re playing everywhere else. We have more music videos coming out, and maybe even some other coooool stuff, who knows!