MUSIC INTERVIEW: Silverstein
Photo Credit: Wyatt Clough
It’s always a time for celebration when Silverstein release a new album, and it’s no different with their latest effort, Misery Made Me. We caught up with frontman Shane Told and got him to answer a few of our questions about the band’s recent release, which continues their streak of phenomenal records.
It’s been two years since the start of the pandemic, and since the last time we spoke to you. What toll did this period take on the band, if any; how did you cope with it?
Dude, it was fucking awful. There’s no way around it, there’s no way to sugar coat it. We were in the middle of our biggest tour ever, 20th anniversary tour, just put out a brand new album, and BOOM – we’re back at home. Literally stuck there for almost two years. Of course – we made adjustments, we learned a lot of new shit. We took on a ton of projects. Livestreams, mini movies, fake commercials, acting, twitch, virtual DJ sets, NFT’s, the metaverse… We did tons in addition to writing and recording. So we got out of this with some new skills. But it wasn’t easy.
Misery Made Me sounds like *the* quintessential Silverstein album. How did you approach writing for this album, after the success of A Beautiful Place to Drown?
Thank you! We believe it is too! I think the biggest difference between the albums was we were much more driven by our own personal internal turmoil this time around. Seriously, we had a lot going on inside that we needed to get out. The last record had a couple poppy … maybe even happy songs on it… that wasn’t happening this time. So it led to a darker, more experimental record. Angrier. A lot more screaming and it was more of a group effort. We were all in the studio living together in a bubble this time, so we felt much more like a unit.
One song stands out in particular: The Altar / Mary. How did this song, and its yin-yang nature, take shape?
Yeah this is the most crazy song we’ve ever recorded and we LOVE it. It stemmed from two very separate pieces. One was heavy and strange and the other was literally a synth driven song our sixth member Mike came up with. But lyrically they were so connected, and we wondered if they could be joined together as a sort of “megasong”. We were shocked at how well it worked. It’s cool, because on their own I think they are a little short and incomplete but they complete each other. They were a ton of fun to put together.
It’s always a pleasure to hear Paul Marc showcasing his vocals. Were there any parts that were supposed to be sung by him but were, ultimately, dropped?
He absolute kills it on The Altar! He writes a lot of stuff, and demos it, but generally speaking we love to use his voice for a different texture or a character change. And it was perfect in this song. He has such a different voice from mine, so they can really compliment each other. But nope, it was just The Altar this time.
As with your last album, Misery Made Me boasts quite a selection of featured artists. How did you settle on artists to have as features on your songs, compared to last time?
We pretty much just listen to the songs and think of who could make them better. Usually a few of us are on the exact same page with whose voice we hear. For example Andrew from Comeback Kid was so obvious and he absolutely killed it. Mike from Prada… same thing. I heard him on this bridge immediately. Trevor Daniel we got hooked up with because we have the same lawyer… very random, but his vibe was perfect for Cold Blood. Sometimes we think of someone and they are unavailable and we’ll just scrap the feature. We’re pretty picky haha.
nothing, nowhere.’s presence on this album might be surprising to some, particularly since, thanks to his trap influences, his music isn’t necessarily the most similar to that of Silverstein’s. What was it like to collaborate with him?
Well interestingly enough he’s a massive fan of ours and told me a story about his mom driving him to the record store to get our CD when our second album came out! So we became friends and this guy is just the real deal. He can do anything. He is just lightyears ahead of everyone else in his genre. And such a nice dude too. He killed the part and I thought the song was absolutely perfect for him.
There’s a dash of experimentation on Misery Made Me, particularly with the synths in The Altar / Mary and the modulation found in Slow Motion. Can fans expect to hear more of these types of sounds in the future?
We were a lot more down to experiment this time around. In the past we were maybe a bit tied to old punk/hardcore unwritten rules about what you’re “allowed” to do. We said “fuck that” we will do what the song needs, what the album needs. I think that was very liberating, so who really knows about the future. We are still going to playing guitar and screaming and whacking the drums as hard as we can. But some of the textural stuff is my favourite thing about this album.
Finally, which of the songs on this album are each of you most looking forward to playing live?
Die Alone. People are going to kill each other.
Silverstein‘s new album Misery Made Me is out now via UNFD, available to stream or purchase HERE.
See Silverstein live at Slam Dunk Festival next month.