One of the hardest things in my opinion about the music industry is getting your break in another country from your origin. We've seen it with your typical boy bands back in the early nineties (Backstreet Boys were HUGE in the uk before we even saw a single track) and a band that has surpassed the challenge is Silverstein. With no doubt, Silverstein is one of the biggest hitters in the music industry as a whole in Canada and they are making a name for themselves elsewhere.
I recently caught them on a small two and a half week tour in the US in New Haven, CT where Shane Told, the lead singer of Silverstein, told me that they were hitting places that they hadn't been in a while, out of the way places. They started off the tour in Burlington, Vermont where they hadn't been in four years and they hadn't played New Haven in over two years. They've worked extremely hard to reach the level of success they've reached and don't have any plans of stopping. They recently finished out their contract with Victory Records, the popular Chicago based label that is host to plenty a Warped Tour artist which Silverstein played all of this past summer and are looking for a new place to go. They are celebrating ten years as a band this year and have plenty of plans in the works. Read on for a little piece of Silverstein!
Being a Canadian band, how do you find your United States shows different from Canadian audiences?
Shane: You know, they don't differ too much, really. We're about the same size in terms of popularity in the US as we are in Canada. So, generally they're about the same. People will always ask are American fans different from Canadian fans. I don't find them to be very different. I think the biggest difference is like if you're playing in a small, real small town as compared to a big city. You know, when you play like New York or Toronto, they're both like kind of the same but if you play a really small city, like we've played a show in Wyoming and that was a lot different. You know the vibe and stuff.
How'd that go?
Shane: It was great. I mean people there were just really excited because they don't get very many bands coming thru so when they see a band, they really freak out where as like when you're in New York or Toronto, big cities, people have kind of already seen everything. They're a little more laid back.
Yeah. Last time I saw you guys was at Warped Tour in Montreal. I know they are starting to name some bands. Are there any chances of you guys playing again next summer?
Shane: I don't know. We don't know yet. We really enjoyed it this year and it would be cool, but, I didn't know they were starting to name bands already. That's really early. Generally, Warped tour has always had a really good eye for predicting kind of what's going to be big next summer so they try to lock in those bands early before they get too big. So that's probably what he's doing. You know its a great tour and they do a really great job with getting good bands and have kept it going for fifteen years now so its awesome. I'd love to be a part of it again but I can't speak yet on whether we will be playing it or not.
I know this tour has only just begun, it's only your third show but how has it been going so far?
Shane: It's been great. Again, we just kind of booked this just to play a few shows that we haven't played in a couple of years, like here and we played the Sierra Keys. We haven't been there in four years and Vermont it's been two years so just playing some places, just because a lot of people have been bugging us "When are you gonna come back?" So we didn't expect it to be the biggest tour but so far, the first few shows have been crazy and awesome so we're excited. It's fun sometimes to play them again, play these kinds of markets opposed to big huge ones, you know. It's fun to play the clubs.
What's your favorite part of touring?
Shane: I think my favorite part of touring is definitely the show part. You know, the hour or so that we're on stage playing. I'm not a huge fan of the rest of it. You know, like traveling around. It's cool but it's hard on you, missing your family and friends and girlfriends and that stuff is really hard. You know, sleeping in a bunk on a bus isn't always the easiest. You know, but at the end of the day I do enjoy the company of the other guys and we have a good time, we party and stuff. That part's fun too but my favorite part's definitely the actual show part. It's amazing how you can be having just a really bad day, you can be in a bad mood or whatever and the second you step on that stage, every one's there excited, singing every word. That can just really life you and really make just all the annoying things during your day go away, kind of make it all worth it.
Who are your major musical influences, maybe personally or as a band?
Shane: Well, our band, it's interesting because we all come from a lot of musical backgrounds like our guitar player Neil was a big metal head growing up and I kind of was too and then our bass player pretty much just listened to punk rock. Our guitar player is really into like ska and reggae. So, it's kind of all over the map. There are a few bands that sort of unified us together, made us kind of want to start this band. The Get Up kids were one band that kind of made us want to play this kind of music. Also a few other bands that are long broken up now like Mineral, Promise Ring, Lifetime. Grade is a local band from our hometown that was a big influence. Those were the bands that really like inspired us to start Silverstein.
I think the Get Up Kids actually played here last night.
Shane: Yeah they did! You're totally right. We were a little bummed. We were hoping we could see them on the road some date but unfortunately it didn't work out!
How did you guys go about the songwriting process?
Shane: Well we all definitely get to put our opinion in. I write all the words to stuff, but I also sometimes play guitar too. I kind of write a whole song, show everybody, but most of our songs are written, we just get in a room, someone has a riff or a part. We just jam it out and build on it, kind of till we're happy with the stuff and, you know we argue, debate on how the song should be. You know, it doesn't take us too long to write songs and we just do it.
If you weren't in Silverstein, what do you think you would be doing?
Shane: Well, I went to school for molecular biology and genetics. Yeah, at university of Guelph in Canada. Um, I'm pretty nerdy so I think I probably would have just stayed on that path and maybe I'd be trying to get my phD or maybe I've already got it by now actually and maybe doing some kind of research or you know something on the science or medical field.
What's the craziest thing a fan has ever given you?
Shane: Given me? I guess there hasn't been anything like too weird or creepy. One time I got this grim reaper thing that was made out of pipe cleaners which was kind of weird. I didn't know if the guy made it or if he bought it or whatever. But I was just like "ok". But in Japan, everywhere you go they give you stuff. Um, we got all kinds of weird, like gross food that you'd never eat. We got like all kinds of stuff with our names in Japanese on it which is pretty cool like socks, gloves, hand warmers and stuff. Japan's a really good place for people to play. They're friendly and they want to really be there for you.
That's wicked cool.
Are there any music plans fans can look forward to from you guys after this tour?
Shane: I guess we're at a bit of an interesting time for our band because we've done four records now and we've done our contract with Victory Records and we aren't sure where we're gonna go from here. We have a lot of options. One thing for sure is that we just really want to continue to make music and tour and do all kinds of things and now we're just excited. There's so much we can do now and so many paths we can take so it's a really exciting time for and I'm really excited about it. I think we're going to try doing some really special stuff in the new year, some special shows. I can't really get into it yet what we're going to do. Just some stuff we've never really done before to kind of celebrate us being a band for ten years now. We're hopefully going to release some video stuff, dvd footage that we've never done. There's just a lot of things we can do outside of the just the standard making records and touring that we really want to try.
And finally, what's your favorite treat?
Shane: Favorite tree? Bonzai! They're cute and small. My favorite treat..um, a travel treat. Do you know what that is? Look it up on urbandictionary.com. There will be a definition, check it out, it's dirty.
You can find their music here
and I want to say thank you to Hive Management for setting this up and to Shane Told!