Going on fifteen years strong with no signs of slowing down yet, Silverstein are proving more than ever that punk isn’t dead. Shane Told speaks to us about their new breakthrough record and just how they’ve managed to stay on top throughout the years.
Celebrating their fifteenth anniversary together as a band with chart-debuting album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch under their belt, Shane says that everything just feels so good right now.
‘To be able to play to sold out shows everywhere in the world and have so many people still so excited about our band…it just feels so good to know that we’ve made an impact on people where all these years later people are so enthusiastic about it.’
It’s this perfect symbiosis between fan-enthusiasm, band work ethic and a great band relationship that has contributed to their longevity, which Shane says comes down to having ‘a lot of mutual respect for each other as people, as human beings and of course as musicians’.
From this solid foundation to where they are now since their inception, a whole new generation has grown up in Silverstein’s wake, and it’s not surprising to note that people are still gravitating towards their music and finding something very real and resonating within it.
‘Our 10th anniversary tour of Discovering The Waterfront was amazing because a lot of the people coming out were people who’ve been with us from the beginning who were more our age, but there were also people who were like twelve and thirteen-years-old who would’ve been in diapers when the record came out! It’s just cool to have this new generation find something in our music that they can latch onto and love.
‘It’s something that I’m really proud of and I think it’s the coolest thing. It’s really special.’
When asked about how they continue write music that is true to themselves as artists in what could be seen as a “generational culture shift” in the music industry in general, with a mainstream progression away from the “punkier” sounds, Shane put it simply by saying, ‘One thing we’ve never tried to do is force it. With every album we do, we just get in a room and we start working on the music.
‘If you can strip a song down to chorus and a melody and it’s a great song, it doesn’t matter what style of music you’re playing, and that’s something we’ve always focused on.
‘We just consistently write the best songs we can and we put the songs first, and we’ve done a really good job of trying not to follow any trends over the years. We’ve seen the trends come and go and I think we’ve realised it’s good to stay away from that and build our own sound as a natural progression rather than trying to force anything along the way.’
With what Shane also describes as an ‘organic’ process is clearly evident in I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, featuring more poignant tracks like Late on 6th, to more full-throttle tracks like Face of the Earth, with raw vulnerability permeating throughout the record.
‘Vulnerable is a great word because I feel like I really put myself out there with some of the things I said and some of the pictures I tried to paint, and also not painting myself in the greatest of lights in certain situations; being able to admit some faults in my past and even in my present and how sometimes it’s difficult to grow and to change and become better along the way. I think that vulnerability is a big thing with the record, and also just being human and making mistakes and having to live with it is a big part of the record too.
‘Every great album or great song that people latch onto, there’s always an element of truth and emotion in art, absolutely. And I think there’s always a bit of pain and I think the more real that pain is and the better you can express it, then the more you’re going to make an impact for someone else.’
From this place of honesty and reflection, the record also takes a look at the band’s roots, with the city of Toronto a standout feature acting as bookends to the album.
‘We’ve been together for so long and we have this history. When we were writing this album while also at the same time planning some tours and celebrating these anniversaries, it was hard to ignore our past.
‘One thing that kept creeping into my writing was thinking about past tour stories, memories and relationships and everything that I’ve had over the last fifteen years, and I started thinking about how a lot of it is based on different cities that we’ve been in and played in. I had the idea to kind of make this album a journey and have each song represent a different city.
‘Having the album start and end in Toronto sort of represents the tour, but it also represents a personal journey of myself. When you do something like we’ve done for this long, you start with a certain place and you grow as a person, and then end up where you were physically before in the same city – but how have you grown, how have you changed and what have you overcome or not overcome? I think the album is a discussion about that.
‘So it’s a very personal album, it’s a very real album for me – I talk about very real places and experiences so it’s a lot different from the last records in terms of that.’
With what sounds like blood, sweat and tears being poured into this band’s work, it’s no wonder that Silverstein are continuing to take the world by storm, winning new fans over with their real, honest-to-goodness music.
With a full tour schedule up ahead, you can catch Silverstein on the Vans Warped Tour as well as a European tour later in the year with Boys Set Fire and Great Collapse.