From the early Victory Records days and their much-loved sophomore album ‘Discovering The Waterfront’, to the more recent, concept driven days of ‘A Shipwreck In The Sand’ and ‘This Is How The Wind Shifts’, Silverstein have been a pretty consistent band. They’ve also been damn busy. 2015 marks 15 years since the group picked up some instruments and thought, “hey, let’s try this band gig out”. 2015 also marks the 10-year anniversary of the aforementioned ‘Discovering The Waterfront’. Oh, and speaking of albums, the band is dropping their eighth studio LP ‘I Am Alive In Everything I Touch’ later this May, just in time for an Australian tour with Dream On, Dreamer and local upstarts Young Lions. Before Silverstein hit our shores, we chatted with rhythm guitarist Josh Bradford about the upcoming tour, the new album, and on outliving their peers.
Hey there Josh, how are you?
I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing alright thanks. What are you up to?
I’m just chilling on my couch at home. It’s a bit of a dreary day in Toronto, so I’m just staying in, just relaxing.
Ah, same here dude. It’s getting pretty cold over here in Australia.
Ah, no (laughs).
Yeah, it sucks. So, with the upcoming tour, have you checked out either of the support bands yet?
Absolutely. We have a bit of history with Dream On, Dreamer already. We did a European tour with them last year and I know of Young Lions because Zach is in both bands. I don’t know the other guys, but I know their music and I love Zach [Britt, vocals], so it’ll be awesome to watch them play each night.
So, 15 years as a band and the ten-year anniversary of ‘Discovering The Waterfront’, a new album’s coming out, and it’s been about two years since you were here last. It looks like a lot of things seemed to have aligned for you guys with this tour, do you think that’ll make this tour even more special?
I definitely do. We’ve been having a great time on tour. We just did America and Canada, celebrating the 15 years and the tenth anniversary of ‘Discovering The Waterfront’. Those shows were incredible, probably some of the best headline shows we’ve ever done. So we’re really excited to bring it overseas for you guys. It’s always a pleasure to be in Australia. It never feels like we can be there enough, and as you said, everything seems to be lining up more than usual to make it more than special.
Good to hear dude. Do you plan to play the album front to back, or is the plan to interject old and new material between those songs?
I don’t want to give too much away. But we think it’s right to perform the album as a whole unit, front to back. We’ll mix in other songs to get you warmed up first though.
Oh, sick! Do you look at ticket sales before the shows when you head out for tour, or does that sort of thing not bother you?
I get the reports sent to my email, so I do see them. I don’t try to let it affect me day to day. There’s no rhyme or reason to how shows sell out. Sometimes they sell really quickly, then shimmer off, then pick right up before the show. You’d go crazy trying to analyse something like that I think. I just skim through to see how it’s going, maybe put a Tweet out there to help push individual shows. Though it never really matters as we nearly always have a good show.
Well I guess that’s the most important thing – playing a good show, regardless of ticket sales.
Yeah man. This tour has been crazy through North America. It sold out in places we never thought it would, so we’ve knocked it out of the park – it’s been a real home run [laughs].
You guys have toured Australia quite a lot over the years…
I’m gonna say it’s our fourth, or at least our fifth time. We did shows with Behind Crimson Eyes and Prom Queen, we did a Boys Of Summer with The Amity Affliction and The Getaway Plan, then came back and did another Boys Of Summer with Set Your Goals. So it has to at least be our fifth…but we’ve done Soundwave a couple times too. So it’s more times than I can remember.
Wow, I didn’t realise it was that many. Is there a favourite memory or a favourite place you have of Australia?
Maybe the first time we visited Byron Bay. We played the Rec Center there, and the show was awesome, and just being there really reassured every feeling I had towards it. We went up to the lighthouse there and looked out over the sun setting on the water. It’s probably one of the most perfect places I’ve been to, and I hope to retire there someday (laughs). So that’s one experience I’ve shared with your country.
Byron Bay is gorgeous, that’s for sure. Much like the past couple records, this one is also a concept record, and I was wondering if you prefer the extra layer of creativity and detail that a concept record can provide to fans and to yourselves?
Oh, I agree. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make things fit together and flow. Music has such depth to it, and it’s fun to add another element to it to make it a more special experience for the listener.
I’m with you on that one. I really dig concept records myself. Apart from Shane’s (Told, vocals) details about it being about the four different chapters; the four different place, the four different cities – can you give me any more details about what themes the record will encompass?
I don’t want to say too much, but basically, it follows the idea of a journey. A journey that’s starts and ends in the same place. Like leaving home, going on some great journey, and returning with all of these experiences under your belt. It’s about cycles, and the passing of time, the journey of life, and the mini-journeys in life.
Considering all of the touring the band does, I think that suits you guys really well.
[Laughs]. Absolutely. I think a lot of people can relate to that on a day-to-day basis.
You’ve been in the band since the very start. Has it been interesting to see the change and growth in your musical ability and your guitar playing from being in the band for so long?
Absolutely. I think it’s a slow, gradual build all-along. When I look back at the older stuff, I really…had an interesting idea of the guitarists role in the band and how a guitar should sound, and I wrote some interesting things. But I can see the growth over the period of time doing this. I can tackle things with more ease now. Like with a little bit of practice, I can pick up something a bit quicker now. As we all write different things in the band, someone will always present me with something that takes me an extra minute to wrap my head around, to wrap my fingers around. I can feel a little challenged about something, but I can always overcome those challenges and progress as a musician along the way.
This is a big question, so bear with me man. The first Hawthorne Heights album, ‘The Silence In Black And White’ had a second disc on it with videos and ads for other Victory Records bands, and ‘Smile In Your Sleep’ was included on it. Now in 2015, so many of those bands aren’t together anymore, are on hiatus, or aren’t anywhere as big as they used to be. So what’s it like to still be here from the “scene” days, to still be touring and being consistent after so long?
Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. We’ve seen a lot of our contemporaries fall by the way side. We’ve seen bands much more loved and successful than us break up. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. Success in this industry seems to be about being in the right place at the right time over and over and then linking them up day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year.
But it feels good to still be doing this, you know. To be playing some of the best shows of our career, and having the most fun of our lives. We feel very grateful and we don’t take any of it for granted. So I feel extremely privileged and I smile every day for it (laughs).
Well, after 15 years you’d want to still love it and I’m glad you do. I think we’ll have to leave it there so you can get onto the next interviewer man.
Awesome, it’s been a pleasure, thank you.
Same here Josh, thank you for your time, and I wish you nothing but the best for the tour and any shows in between then.
Thank you so much my friend, bye.
‘I Am Alive In Everything I Touch’ is out May 19th through Rise Records.
Catch the band touring Australia this May.