Anberlin Interview

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2009 at 4:27 am

Please Keep in mind this interview took place over the summer at Warped Tour.

Here is my interview I conducted with Stephen of Anberlin.

You guys are huge supporters of To Right Love On Her Arms. How did you get inovlved with that?

I’ve been friends with Jamie since we were like 19 years old. We used to surf together in Melbourne, Florida. Actually, he used to hit on my girlfriend all the time so one day, I finally broke up with her. But I wanted to keep him around so we became really good friends. Then, working at Hurley, he started To Write Love. Man, we wanted absolutely everything in our power to push and propel him to where he needed to be. I feel depression is not only relevant in culture and society and media and everything else, but it’s relevant to our lyrics and the things some of our band members have gone through. So we definitely wanted to put everything we had and so we took him out on his first tour while headlining for Cities. We allowed him to speak about To Write Love during the shows. We’ve always been very humanitarian-minded and when it came To Write Love, we knew it would be a perfect opportunity for us two forces to come together.

In an interview with Hurley you said Cities Feels Incomplete can you elaborate on what you meant?

There are a couple of different things. I mean, I think everyone is the biggest critic of their own work. No matter what. If you’re a painter, a dancer or whatever, it is what you’re due as an artistic medium. You always look at it and go, I could have done it better and this person did do it better and now, I need to step up my game. When I look back, I think we made some errors like The Haunting should have been on the record and Alexmathyia shouldn’t have been or that there should have been a better written chorus. I think the artwork was a little lacking. Personally, I think there were some things that we could have done better. I didn’t have anybody to criticize my lyrics before I put them out unlike the new album I do. I feel like I could have done little things to make the best album it possibly could have been. It just felt very incomplete to me.

You guys covered a Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Depeche Mode and The Smiths on Lost Songs. What was it like for you to cover them? I imagine it was an honor.

Oh, I mean. Dude, when they came and approaches us about doing Bob Dylan, we were like, how… how can you ever cover a legend? Same thing with the Smiths. They’re my favorite band in the world. We’re very picky about who we cover. We’re really big into the 80’s and then when Bob Dylan came along, it was a privilege for us.

What was it like working with Neal Avron on the new album?

I mean, in your life, you get very minimal chances to meet a genius and Neal Avron is a genius. He’s left and right brained. He thinks of art and of science and mathematical principals like at the same time while listening to a song. He’s by far the best producer I’ve ever met, worked with and ever seen. Unbelievable, man. It was an experience of a lifetime.

You worked with Aaron Sprinkle on the first two albums. From what you just said I can take you noticed a big difference in the production value?

Well, Aaron Sprinkle is mainly a musician. Aaron Sprinkle is a genius at music but, as far as producing, I feel like it’s hard to separate yourself from being a producer and a musician at the same time. I mean, it comes from two different sources. I feel like Neal is very much separated. He was never in a big band where Aaron Sprinkle is a musician and wants the music to be perfect. I think Neal Avron has the ability to take a step back and listen to the album as a whole and be separate from the music and say, this is what’s going to be the best for the record but not what’s going to be best for a musician to listen to.

You guys recently switched labels was it easy going from Tooth And Nail to Universal?

Actually, no. we love Tooth and Nail. That’s where our heart is. That’s where our passion is. They’re some of the best friends, we’ve ever met. It was unbelievable. But now that they’re on Universal and taking a step back, we now made the right decision. They are treating us like gold. They are sweethearts and just good people and I’m really excited to be working with them.

Some bands that make the jump from indies to bigger labels kind of get pushed aside do you guys have any fear like oh, this might happen to us?

Oh, absolutely. I think going on a major label is more of a challenge. It’s actually a bigger risk to go on a major than it is to stay with an indie. So I mean, yeah, bands get dropped all the time, bands dissolve, bands and albums that they recorded get shelved and it’s never heard of again. So yeah, absolutely, that kind of stuff goes on.

You Guys re-recorded A Feel Good Drag was there any reason you decided on this song as opposed to another?

I mean, I just feel like A Feel Good Drag never got the time of day. It never saw the light of day. It was like song #9 or way late on the record. Never take friendship personal. It was one of those songs we didn’t want to let it go. We didn’t want to see it disappear so we were going to just use it. Besides, then it made the record and then the record label loved it so they wanted to push the song. We were stoked, man.

I assume this is going to be the first single?

Yes, I think the drop date is around August 20th.

Has anything changed from the way it was on Never Take Friendship Personal to now?

I think it’s just Neal Avron. The guitars are just thick and heavy and just dirty and huge. I Vocally, we took a minimalist approach. Almost like punk rock, you know? Just like a raspy and intense passion instead of clean auto-tune. It’s not clean anymore. It’s a very dirty song.

This album seems more guitar heavy based on the one song posted on Myspace. Would you say this is more of Christians influence now that hes in the band?

I think so. You have two amazing guitarists and two amazing writers in one band. I mean, I don’t want to say it’s guitar heavy where it’s like they do great big solos all the time. I mean, rhythmically and sonically and the way they worked off each other to write these songs. Absolutely, it’s guitar.

Whats the deal with Anchor And Braile. Is it coming out this year?

I always promise the guys no matter what, it’s Anberlin first and foremost in my life. Like it’s not going to be me wanting my side ventures to get into the all mighty steamroller known as Anberlin. I would rather take a backseat with Anchor and Braile and allow Anerbline to do what it’s going to do and then bring Anchor and Braile out. I’m not going to be one of those guys who makes it a money/market venture or make Anberlin take a backseat or push them aside and go do my thing. I want to make sure Anberlin is number one and I want to prove the guys that it is by waiting as long as to put out Anchor and Braile before the Anberlin time is stopped.

You are an incredible artist yourself. What was it like working with Aaron Marsh?

Aaron Marsh is beautiful. He is a songwriter at heart. He has a particular style that- dude, I’m a huge fan of Copeland. So working with Aaron Marsh one on one and becoming his friend and just hanging out and listening to how he takes my four chord progression and makes it into this beautiful song, it was just awe inspiring. He is probably one of my top 3 favorite musicians of all time. He is just an incredible songwriter/producer. He has this ear that can hear already the song in its final stages even before you’re writing it. That’s how good he is.

The Things inspire you to write for Anberlin. Did they Inspire you to write for Anchor And Braile?

I think Anchor and Braile is very much different. Anchor and Braile is more of a Ryan Adam kind of side of things, where it’s more like I think Anberlin talks about themes. You know, like we have a song on Myspace, called Disappear which you heard and it’s about homelessness. It’s a theme about that to fight homelessness, I think this is more resolute moments in time. It’s very much moments of my life, you know, when you just expound on none idea or principal or theme. Anberlin is all about epic, huge, great ideas like fin or dance dance christita paffgan, these huge epics. If you want fast-paced energy, that’s Anberlin going to drive 90 miles an hour? That’s Anberlin going to sip on virgin Pina Coladas? That’s Anchor and Braile.

The first three albums have ended on high notes like ballads. Can we expect one or more on this album?

Yeah, this one’s called Miserable. It’s the last song. It’s a Latin term. Actually, I can’t pronounce it but it’s like another 7 minute song and it’s all over the place and so sporadic. The theme of the song is the end of the world like everything is coming to a sudden end. It’s the soundtrack to the end of the world and it sounds like it, too.

Out of everything you’ve done with Anberlin and Anchor And Braile what song have you been most proud of?

Man, I think the one I always come back to is not necessarily one I would show to a fan who is starting to listen to our music. For me personally, the one that I always come to seems to be dance dance christa pafgan. I just love it. It’s like a feel good song to me. It’s like the song you want to play when you’re riding down the streets of New York City.

Personally my favorite is Fin I think its a beautiful song.

I thought it was way too personal for people to like. It’s very much about specifics in my life that I was just like; people aren’t going to like it.

I Know Wikipedia is alot of Bs but I read you guys are trying to get a song on Rockband. Any truth to this?

I don’t know. I mean, whatever, who knows. We’re not going out and calling Rockband and asking whether I think any band would be stoked to get a song on there.

If They approached you for a single or an album would you guys let them use it?

Sure, absolutely. I think any band would love it. I mean, I own it. So, it’s fun and it’s good times.

On the new record I noticed you have a bunch of different inspirations for the writing process. Like You mentioned the war and a friend who was recently diagnosed with a disease I believe. Can you elaborate on what other topics inspired you?

Again, like there’s homelessness. There was a song about an airplane crash and what goes through the head the moments before you die. Standing up for your beliefs is like the first song and it’s called resistance. I think again, it’s an overall, huge theme. I think this one is very existential, like all about other people. It’s all about giving and lending a hand and making sure this world is a better place from when you get here and from when you leave.


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