Anberlin have always been very welcome in Australia, we have let them know this by kindly providing them with sold out crowds at virtually every gig they play. Now at the end of the cycle for their sixth record ‘Dark Is A Way, Light Is A Place,’ the band are returning to our shores for ‘An Evening With Anberlin,’ a tour that promises to showcase the band’s brilliant live show and span their large catalogue. Drummer Nathan Young was nice enough to have a chat about the tour, the album and life for Anberlin.
In 2012 Anberlin would have been together for ten years, what are your thoughts on that achievement?
It really is crazy to think about that, ten years is such a long time, I was actually talking about this to someone the other day, so many bands that we started with and have taken us on tour or we have taken on tour they have all come and gone for whatever reasons so we feel super thankful and blessed to still be doing this. In a sense it flew by, we have made so many great friends and so many good memories so for us we feel so accomplished, we have toured a ton and worked a ton, and to be at this point it really is a big accomplishment for all of us, it’s all we ever wanted was to do this and have people care and the fact that ten years later people have cared so much is huge deal so its a really big deal for us.
After five records how do you keep things interesting for yourselves and your fans and keep the creative juices flowing?
I feel like as we all progress as musicians and as friends, things changed a lot from the first record to this record, like the writing process, but we all just feed off each other with different ideas and inspiration so at this point there are so many ideas and visions that when we started talking about this next record everyone has such a vision because you learn so much from mistakes and things you’ve done so that you have an idea of what you want, and we are all throwing around tons of stuff so it’s like one big pool of brainstorming.
You mentioned that the writing process has changed, in what way?
The first few records our guitar player Joey wrote pretty much the majority of it and at that point we were still trying to decide what we wanted to be and what we wanted to sound like, but at this point more people are writing now and we want to push ourselves. We don’t want to just have another record that you know, it would be easy to just do another record, we could crank out records all the time but we don’t want to do that, we don’t want to be like “well this sounds like an Anberlin song so this is what we want to do,” so for this record, even more so, its been a more calculated decision that we don’t want to alienate fans or completely change our sound but we do want to push ourselves. Being ten years as a band and this being our sixth album we can’t put out what we did last time, we can’t put out our second record part two, it has to be something different so we’re all pushing each other and not settling, and still all along sounding like Anberlin but hopefully a different Anberlin to what anyone has ever heard.
Is there any chance that audiences might hear new material on the upcoming Australian tour?
Yea we actually recently talked about trying to play a song while we are over there but it will depend how it all pans out at practice, we do have five albums so we will have a lot of material but if it works out then we will play a new song for sure.
As the tour is titled ‘An Evening With Anberlin’ should fans be expecting a more intimate setting or a retrospective of sorts?
Yea for sure, that was our goal, when we were talking about going back to Australia it just made sense, we have never done this anywhere, never even tried it so we wanted it to be something different, I think this is our seventh time over in Australia so we didn’t want it to be the same thing and we wanted to show you that you mean something to us. We have always kinda said Australia is our second home and it has always been one of our favourite places to be so we wanted to do something different and unique and hopefully it feels like a big family and shows that we are trying to do something different than just a normal show.
Considering touring, recording and the fact that you guys are a lot older now as opposed to when you first started how do you balance your work and family lifestyles?
We used to tour ten months out of the year or something crazy but at this point, and since we have been doing it for so long, that just isn’t smart, you don;t want to over-saturate and continue to play, you know, if we were to constantly tour it just wouldn’t be special anymore, people would be like “oh, cool, we’ve seen Anberlin like three time already this year” so no one would care anymore. I think even for our careers it works out because we all have families now and most of us are married and we want to spend time with our families and we wanna be able to, well we don’t want it to be this thing where we are on tour and we are miserable or we are in the studio and we are bummed because we haven’t seen our families much so we are trying to find the right balance of being on tour and being at home and so far these last few years have been really good and I think we will continue this same direction and path. It really does have to be a balance though because if someone has to go home for something then we will all be super sensitive of that because the thing is this is a career and we have been working so hard at it but when you step back you realise that what is going to be around forever is family and the people that you love so it’s like the band’s career is only gonna go so far so family has to be ahead of it but the band is right up there, we all take it really seriously and we all work hard at it. We don’t just randomly cancel stuff for something dumb we take it really seriously and it’s important to us because we feel so grateful to be where we’re at, and we have made heaps of sacrifices to get here, there have been times where someone is really tired and wants to go home but this is a commitment that we work at and have strived hard for.
Considering the current state of the music industry, do you think it is better to be on a major label, like you are, or are there more benefits in being independent?
The thing is at the time that we started playing music the music was at a really weird place, in the grand scheme of the music industry it was almost like an anomaly, bands were making so much money that it was stupid and records were so big and that’s what we were seeing happen everywhere so that bands at that time thought it was normal but I don’t think it was normal I think that was a very random thing that happened in the industry so things are really different now, a major label is not what it was five or ten years ago, it used to be that if you signed to a major you were set for life and people were making millions but that is not the case at all an ymore, it’s almost like the major label is the opposite of what you want. We have had a great experience on Universal and they are a great label who have helped us in a lot of ways but if you are a band starting out now the goal should not be to get onto a major label by any many, the goal should be to work as hard as you can and do something different, everyone thinks you can just follow the same path and expect something different but that is just not the case. You know, sign to a major label, get big on the radio and then just blow up, that just doesn’t happen anymore so I think that what will make you big is by touring and working hard.
What new music have you heard recently that has your attention?
I think there are a few bands that are really doing different stuff and pushing themselves. I’m actually not that big of a fan of theirs but I think they did something different, Mumford and Sons. I’m also really into Grizzly Bear and they are not huge over here but they do well. There are just a handful of bands like that who are doing their own thing and standing out which I think is cool.
Do you draw inspiration from these types of bands or mainly from bands who branch out and do something different?
Absolutely, I think that this next record, people will see something a lot different from the Anberlin they see usually, just because we can’t do the same thing. I think we’re gonna try and tap into a lot of stuff people wouldn’t expect. We’re trying to think outside of the box, I actually have a side project that I’m doing and that helps influence the stuff in Anberlin. I think we’re gonna come up with a lot of stuff that people have never seen us do.