Silverstein have been quite active since the release of their ‘Rescue’ album late last year, including a very well received mini album ‘Short Songs,’ which features covers and original version of punk hardcore jams. Plus and appearance on the latest ‘Punk Goes Pop’ release with an outstanding version of Kayne West’s Runaway. As they gear up to play all of this new music around Australia for their June tour, KYS caught up with front man Shane Told to see why the band has been so busy.
So what is going on in your world at the moment my man?
Well we’re getting ready to come and see you guys in Australia which is always a great time for us, going down there for us is like a half tour, half vacation, so it’s a good feeling. Sometimes, especially this year, we’ve been touring so much, we just did a big US tour supporting August Burns Red and just did a European headliner, and it’s summer time here now right, we’re used to snow and now it’s beautiful weather so normally if we have to leave for tour everyone’s is like "ohhhh we’ve been touring all year, we need a break" but when it comes to Australia we’re stoked. So yeah, things have been busy.
Well you guys have been busy, especially on the releases side of things. We’ll talk about all of them but let’s start with the last official album, ‘Rescue,’ which has been out for a little while now, are you happy with how it has been received?
Yeah, I think it’s our best full length, and to be able to say that a year after it has come out is a good feeling. We spent a lot of time on that record, we demoed the whole record and went back and changed the songs around, we did way more work on it than we had done for any of our other full lengths and I think that paid off. When we play live, the songs we play off of ‘Rescue’ get some of the best receptions so I think it’s a strong record. It’s maybe one where we will play these for years to come and recording this songs was just a great experience, working with Roadrunner for the first time down there and other labels all over the world, it was just a great experience. When we released that record we sort of felt rejuvenated as a band, that might be why we have been so busy since that record came out.
Now that you have had time to reflect on the album, is the final result what you were aiming for when you started?
It is, it totally is, we wanted a record that, like our record before ‘Shipwreck In The Sand,’ it told a story which is exactly what we wanted to do, we wanted a record that would tell a story, but with ‘Rescue’ we wanted a record that was going to tell twelve stories. I think that is exactly what the record did, it’s very up and down, it’s a very dynamic record which we set out to do so I think it takes a journey of its own and it’s sort of the journey of our career in a way. I haven’t actually thrown it on and cranked it up in the car lately or anything but it is what we set out for it to be.
You also released ‘Short Songs’ recently, what brought that record about?
Well before we were going to release ‘Rescue,’ we have this thing here and I’m one hundred per cent sure you guys don’t celebrate this in Australia, but in America and Canada we have Record Store Day which is for independent record stores and a lot of bands will do special releases to promote independent record stores.
Yeah we do have that down here.
You have that? I know a girl down there who works at an independent record store and she said you didn’t celebrate it?
Not all of them do, it’s still catching on.
Well anyway, we wanted to do a release for that so we did a seven inch which had The Artist from ‘Rescue’ on one side and on the other side we wanted to do some punk rock/hardcore cover songs. The problem was, it was a seven inch record and you only fit about four minutes of music on one side of a record so we said okay, we don’t want to do just one cover song, we want to do a couple but they have to be shorter, so I came up with the idea well shit, let’s do these three songs because they are all really short but they are good songs, so we covered a Kid Dynamite song, a Propaghandi song and an American Nightmare cover. So we did these three songs, they were all short, and we had a fucking blast recording them, and then we went out on tour and we just started playing them because they are like a minute long, the crowd doesn’t get bored when they don’t know a song so it was a great reaction. After a little while we decided we should do more and someone has the idea to write our own songs under a minute and a half. At first we thought maybe with our style of music maybe it would be too hard, but we thought we’d try so we did and we were stoked. We wrote those eleven songs in two weeks and they were all great and we could have written another eleven so it was a real passion project for us and something that we didn’t really care about what the fans or media thought about it, although the media has been really behind it, but we thought we don’t care and we are just going to do this record. Our labels were like "sure I guess we’ll put this out" they didn’t really know what to think about it when we told them the idea but its been out now for a few months and its done great, its actually done really well in Australia.
When you listen to the record it sounds like you guys were having fun with it.
I think it does kinda come through a little bit. When we do a record we fucking agonise over perfect guitar parts and microphones and we’ll go over everything so much that when it is actually time to record the part it takes the fun out of it, but with this is what like "yup, distortion, Marshall, crank it up, done" and that is what the record was, just two guitars left and right boom, that’s the guitar tone on the record. That’s what we wanted out of it and I think that made the record a little bit more special, for us for sure, but special in general.
Speaking of cover songs, you guys also covered Kanye West’s Runaway for the latest ‘Punk Goes Pop’ release, what made you choose that particular song?
We’ve done ‘Punk Goes…’ stuff before, Fearless Records do it, Fearless Records are a great label, and we had a lot of success with the Apologise cover that we did, so they kind of came to us and said we thought you guys had the best song on the last comp and we want you to be the main spot on this next one, so they sent us a short list of some songs that they wanted us to do, to us they were all really lame. Apologise I thought was a great song, and it was a little inside joke for us because we were on tour one time and we all had it in ours heads and it was a guilty pleasure for us, but some of the songs they wanted us to do we really weren’t feeling. So we were almost at the point where we weren’t gonna do the compilation at all and then Bill said "the last Kanye record has a bunch of cool songs and this song could maybe be really cool" and it’s really long, so we thought it was different and something we like that we could put a cool spin on, so we had the guy from Down With Webster, who are a Canadian, actually a pretty big band in Canada, sort of rap, hard to explain, a rap band but they have rap that’s not in the Limp Bizkit kind of way. We thought we could put a cool spin on it and he wrote his own verse, relating what Kanye sings about to the punk rock band world of touring. So the song came out really special, and we didn’t want to do it like all of those other bands, it’s so formulaic, so contrived but expected, we didn’t want just chug chug chug, scream scream scream, sing the chorus, we just really didn’t want that, so we did something different, I used a vocoder at the end, that’s me singing, a lot of people don’t even know what that is, but it’s me singing the part and we wanted to use different sounds so that was a fun thing to record, much different from ‘Short Songs.’
I’m glad you guys decided to go with the full nine minute version.
Yeah, they tried to talk us out of that too. They wanted us to do a radio edit and we said no so I think they were pissed off at that so that’s why they stuck us at the end of the play list. We got out of it what we wanted and had fun with it.
So what can people expect from this upcoming Australian tour compared to the last time you guys were down?
Well we have a lot more stuff out now, obviously the ‘Short Songs’ record and the ‘Rescue’ record so we’re gonna play a bunch of stuff off those, and kinda celebrating our career as a thirteen year career band as that it what we are. We’re not gonna have any hamster balls over the crowd or any crazy production because that’s not what we are, we’re just gonna get up there and it’s gonna be a real show with us playing our songs and I really hope the audience reacts to it the way that they want to react and that’s that. It’s not like we’re gonna get up there and re-invent the live show or music, we’re just gonna get up there and celebrate what we have done, it’s gonna be a long show, there will be some songs people won’t be expecting and all the songs they will expect so we’ll do what we wanna do.