[Photo by: Wyatt Clough]
Ahead of the impending release of Dead Reflection, Canadian post-hardcore heroes Silverstein are premiering their new song “Lost Positives” with AP. Check out the track below, as well as an extensive interview with Shane Told and Paul Marc Rousseau about the new album and their plans for Warped Tour.
You’re premiering “Lost Positives” with AP — what’s special about it?
Shane Told (vocals): With all the songs on the new record, this one definitely had the most changes; if you listen to the original demo, it’s a completely different song! It went through a lot of fine tuning, and it was the song we worked on the most. It’s also my favorite song on the record for a number of reasons. I like that it’s a bit different from what we’ve done in the past; it’s not something we’ve done much of before, and melodically it’s different. Rhythmically, the beat in the chorus is one we’ve not used so much, but it still has a hard-hitting riff, and some interesting verses. The song has a lot of parts, and I really like that about it; it’s a very exciting song for me, it has a lot of changes and I love the vibe of it.
Paul Marc Rousseau (guitar): “Lost Positives” was one of the more interesting creative processes on the record. It was the first song I wrote for the album, and I wrote it with Steve Brodsky of Cave In and Mutoid Man. In its original form, it was wild and very different — it was startling to everybody! If you write a really different song late in the process, it’s less jarring, but for it to be the first one, it was like, “Oh, my God — what record are we about to make?” It got left alone a bit, but at the 11th hour I got a little spooked and decided I wanted to rewrite bits of it. Whilst Shane was recording vocals, I went into a room alone and rewrote 50 percent of the song on the spot. It’s now my favorite track on the record, but I was keeping it on the backburner for a while because I wasn’t sure about it!
Dead Reflection sees Silverstein go through many different styles.: There are songs like “The Afterglow,” which leans heavily on pop, and songs such as “Retrograde,” which go a lot heavier. Were you consciously trying to write lots of different types of songs with this album?
TOLD: I don’t think it was conscious. With every record we’ve ever made, we don’t talk about what we’re trying to make; we write the songs, share ideas and that’s it. We’re always trying to make a song the best it can be. So with this record, yes, there’s a lot of diversity, but all our records have that, just maybe this one has it even more so. You mention “The Afterglow” being super-poppy — and it’s basically a pop-punk song! And there are songs like “Last Looks” which are very heavy; so there’s a lot of diversity. If you had to sum up the album in one song, “Lost Positives” would be a good attempt at that. We tried to keep the music interesting, and I really think the record is not boring or one dimensional.
ROUSSEAU: I hadn’t really thought about it too much. I think we were just trying to write good songs with substantive hooks. As we grow as musicians, we want to play stuff that makes sense to us now; so to me, I see all the songs on this record as poppy songs. I don’t think we were trying to make specifically heavy and light songs; it was more just a question of if the songs were good songs. And I think they all are. “Retrograde” and “The Afterglow” are two interesting ones to compare, because the verses do what they’re supposed to and then the choruses give you the melody when you want it, so I don’t look at them as being all that different, to be honest!
What was inspiring you when writing Dead Reflection?
TOLD: A little over a year ago now I went through a really rough time. I found myself in a really dark place. I literally found myself not giving a shit about what was going to happen to me. And when that happens and you start going down that road, it can be scary; it was scary how much I didn’t care. I think knowing that my band has always been there for me; knowing that we make a record every two years, like clockwork; knowing that I had to make a record — that’s what kept me going. It kept me from the self-destruction that I was heading toward, and I think it’s funny when you’re writing a record about writing a record that’s going to save you. It was a weird thing for me to have happen.
In the first track, “Last Looks,” the chorus line says, “Don’t die like me,” and it’s a bit of a foreshadowing over what ultimately could’ve happened to me, but it’s actually a reference to a soccer player called George Best. He played for Manchester United in the ‘60s, and he’s the reason why in England you need to be six months sober before they’ll give you a liver transplant. He had a liver transplant and kept drinking, and eventually he was about to die, and he called the press into his room and he said, “Don’t die like me,” as a warning. So that’s part of what was going on with me; I had the foresight at least to be like, “I’m heading down this path, and I need to pull myself out of it.” So that’s a big part of what the record is about; and it’s funny, because me writing about that made it not happen. The record tells the story of what could’ve happened to me if I wasn’t able to figure it out and find the light that was still there in my life. And it’s a cliché, but knowing that this band was there for me saved me.
ROUSSEAU: When I sit down to make a Silverstein record, I tend to not listen to anything, because I find it gets too deep in my subconscious, and I end up stealing stuff without knowing it. So I don’t listen to other music— I just focus writing something new, and I wrote so many songs for this album. So I only really listen to myself. More generally speaking, I listen to a lot of hip-hop, though I don’t know if that has much impact on Silverstein. From a lyrical standpoint, this record is saying, “Get mad — that’s okay.” This record is about a journey that looks like it’s going to go wrong, but there are messages of hope in this album.
Silverstein are with Rise Records again for this album. How have they been to work with?
TOLD: They’re great — I’ve been friends with [founder] Craig Ericson for over 10 years now, and I remember after our first album came out and had some success, he contacted me and said, “Hey, you guys have a lot of old demos, right? We’d like to put those out!” And I said we couldn’t, because we were on Victory Records and that wouldn’t have been okay with them. But we kept in touch, and then when we were free agents again I called them up and said I’d got some solo stuff, and Craig said, “I love it! I want to sign it — but I want to sign Silverstein, too!” So we did: Rise signed both my solo stuff and the band, and they’ve been terrific to work with. The people at the label are so hardworking, and they really care about music and about our band. You can tell that by the bands they sign; Craig will sign his favourite punk bands, and the bands he liked when he was a kid. I really appreciate that attitude; because, yes, it’s a record label and they’re trying to turn a profit, but they really do give a fuck about putting out quality records.
ROUSSEAU: They’re very chill with us! Despite what YouTube commenters might want to believe, they have nothing to do with what we do in the studio; they’re very supportive of our creative decisions, and in all the important ways, they stay out of our way. It’s so strange the reputation Rise seems to have – everyone seems to think they control their artists, and that’s simply not true.
Paul Marc, you co-produced Dead Reflection — how was that?
ROUSSEAU: It was great — and a little accidental! I fell into this working relationship with Derek Hoffman, the other co-producer on the album. Just before recording, we’d worked on another record together, so literally the day that finished, we began making the Silverstein record. So I never really transitioned from producer to artist, and I kept the producer mindset during the whole process. It was cool to be able to zoom out on our recording process; I hadn’t been able to do that on previous records — I was fighting with producers about stuff that I wrote. But this time, I feel like I wrote better songs and we got more out of it because I was able to take that step back. In the past I’ve had really bad “demoitis”— I’d make a demo and hold onto it for six months and become really attached, and so any changes in arrangement that came felt foreign and I wanted to fight them. But to have the producer mentality of, “Is this best for the song?” really helped, and I’m proud of the way it came together.
Silverstein play Warped Tour imminently — how excited are you for that? Will you be playing new music?
TOLD: Yeah, we’ll be playing new songs. There’s the Warped Tour problem of only having 30 minutes, and the Silverstein problem of having eight albums! We must have well over 100 songs now, so it’s very difficult to pick what songs to play. We want to play the hits; there are people that come to Warped who don’t get to see us very often, or they might never have seen us before, so it’s important to play the popular songs, but we’ll definitely be playing one or two new ones. We’ll be switching it up, too; I see bands on Warped who play the same set every day, and if that was me I’d lose my mind! I’d be so bored. We’ll probably have 30 songs ready to go.
ROUSSEAU: I’m dreading the heat, because I’m not built for it! But Warped is fun, and when I think about Warped, every day I sweat and I get so mad, and I think, “Oh, my God — I can’t imagine doing this again,” but then a few months go by and you just remember the good times. There’s loads of good friends and good bands, so I’m really looking forward to it.
I think everything we’ve been playing from the new album has gone over really well live — better than any other new songs we’ve played in the past. There’s been more of an immediate connection. We tested the waters with “Ghost” last year, and as soon as we started playing that live, I thought it was our best song in the set in terms of crowd reaction, and I’m feeling equally confident about the rest of the album going into Warped!
Shane, what’s the overriding message you want fans to take away from Dead Reflection?
TOLD: Going through the last year of my life, I’ve learned so much about myself, and at a relatively old age I think that’s been really productive for me. Despite going through these dark times, I’ve ended up in a place where I’ve never been happier — I’ve never felt more confident and alive. That’s a great message to pass on to people; it doesn’t matter whether you’re a teenager or in your 30s — you can find that happiness, and sometimes you have to go through hell to find it. That’s what this record is about. The element of hope has always been in our band; we want to preach positivity, it’s just that sometimes you have to go through darkness to get there. At the core, that’s what Dead Reflection is about.
Dead Reflection is due out July 14 via Rise Records. Preorder here.
06/16 - Seattle, WA @ Centurylink Field North Lot *
06/17 - Salem, OR @ Oregon State Fairgrounds *
06/21 - Albuquerque, NM @ Balloon Fiesta Park *
06/22 - Phoenix, AZ @ Fear Farm Festival Grounds *
06/23 - Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Hotel *
06/24 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Utah State Fairpark *
06/25 - Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center *
06/27 - Nashville, TN @ The Fairgrounds Nashville *
06/28 - Metaire, LA @ The Shrine On Airline *
06/29 - Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre *
06/30 - Orlando, FL @ Tinker Field *
07/01 - St. Petersburg, FL @ Vinoy Park *
07/02 - West Palm Beach, FL @ Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre *
07/04 - Wilmington, NC @ Legion Stadium *
07/06 - Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion Charlotte *
07/07 - Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion *
07/08 - Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health At Jones Beach Theater *
07/09 - Hartford, CT @ Xfinity Theatre *
07/10 - Scranton, PA @ The Pavilion At Montage Mountain *
07/11 - Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater *
07/12 - Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center *
07/13 - Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake PAC *
07/14 - Burgettstown, PA @ Keybank Pavilion *
07/15 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center *
07/16 - Columbia, MD @ Merriweather Post Pavilion *
07/18 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center *
07/19 - Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center *
07/20 - Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center *
07/21 - Auburn Hills, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills *
07/22 - Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater *
07/23 - Shakopee, MN @ Canterbury Park *
07/24 - Milwaukee, WI @ Henry Maier Festival Park *
07/26 - Maryland Heights, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre *
07/27 - Bonner Springs, KS @ Providence Medical Center Amphitheater *
07/28 - Dallas, TX @ Starplex Pavilion *
07/29 - San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center *
07/30 - Houston, TX @ NRG Park *
08/01 - Las Cruces, NM @ New Mexico State University Intramural Field *
08/04 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre *
08/05 - San Diego, CA @ Qualcomm Stadium *
08/06 - Pomona, CA @ Fairplex Pomona *
09/29 - Köln, DE @ Gebäude 9 ^
09/30 - Münster, DE @ Gleis 22 ^
10/01 - Bremen, DE @ Tower ^
10/02 - Hamburg, DE @ Logo ^
10/04 - Hannover, DE @ Chez Heinz ^
10/05 - Berlin, DE @ Cassiopeia ^
10/06 - Leipzig, DE @ Naumanns ^
10/07 - Dresden, DE @ Puschkin ^
10/08 - Dortmund, DE @ FZW ^
10/10 - Wiesbaden, DE @ Schlachthof ^
10/11 - Trier, DE @ Mergener Hof ^
10/12 - Würzburg, DE @ Café Cairo ^
10/13 - Erlangen, DE @ E-Werk ^
10/14 - München, DE @ Kranhalle ^
12/08 - Southampton, UK @ Talking Heads
12/09 - Brighton, UK @ The Haunt
12/10 - Cardiff, UK @ The Globe
12/12 - Glasgow, UK @ G2
12/13 - Newcastle, UK @ Think Tank
12/14 - Manchester, UK @ Sound Control
12/15 - Huddersfield, UK @ The Parish
12/16 - London, UK @ Garage
* Vans Warped Tour
^ w/ Trash Boat
What do you think of Silverstein’s “Lost Positives”? Let us know in the comments!