Some bands have enough trouble finding the time to record an album every few years, other bands find themselves too busy to even tour those albums. But one Canadian band has found the time to do just about everything except relax. Burlington Ontario’s Silverstein have been around for over 15 years and have mastered the art of keeping busy. So what’s changed for the band in this time?
We didn’t succumb to this age of backing tracks and fake music, we don’t do that, it’s still as authentic as it used to be, just better performed.
“The live shows have definitely gotten better, and we play with more conviction now,” says guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau. “We didn’t succumb to this age of backing tracks and fake music, we don’t do that, it’s still as authentic as it used to be, just better performed.”
One issue, however, has become making a set list. “It’s become basically impossible, every album we have 10 more songs to chose from, but the set stays 60 to 75 minutes long. We agonize over it every tour and there’s some songs we just can’t not play.” Rousseau colourfully described the process like a medical procedure: “You block the whole process out of your mind, and when you look back on it all you remember is that it was bad, but it’s done now.”
In 2015 alone, the band accomplished several feats including a 38-date 10th anniversary tour for their sophomore album Discovering The Waterfront, the release of their eighth album I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, taking part in the Vans Warped Tour, a tour with Senses Fail and launching the Stay Warm Festival in Toronto.
“We started planning the anniversary tour almost two years in advance, while recording This Is How The Wind Shifts” said Rousseau. When asked if the band had any plans to do the same for their follow up Arrivals & Departures in 2017 Rousseau was apprehensive saying “It’s a long shot to say the least, to do it right would be pretty disruptive to our schedule. We’ll do something, just not a tour.”
The band’s latest album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, is a concept album tying each song on the album to a different city.
“We’ve been touring for a very long time, we have loved ones die and get married while we’re half-way across the world, we have fights with our significant others when we’re somewhere else, it’s rare that some significant milestone happens when we’re around to see it,” said Rousseau about the choice. “Nothing is centred in one city and you attach these spheres of emotion that live in each of these cities.”
“Starting and ending the album in Toronto was a pretty on-the-nose way of saying this journey is a full circle, with your body or mind.”
The band went the extra mile to include sound clips from each city on the record, enlisting the help of family and friends to accomplish the task. “We thought it would be really cool if there was this Easter egg that also gave the album an organic life that we couldn’t control.”
The last accomplishment of 2015 was the band’s Stay Warm Festival in Toronto, that featured artists like Cancer Bats, Beartooth, Seaway, Capsize and more.
“It had the potential to be an absolute logistical nightmare, but it ran smoothly and it was awesome to see so many people come out in the cold weather,” said Rousseau. “We want to make it bigger and better next year, and I’ll have a lot of funny ideas to pull off this year.”
Skaters and vegetarians are a big part of the punk scene, we thought PETA and Skate4Cancer would be a perfect fit.
“It’s definitely on our mind,” said Rousseau. “When you see someone like Donald Trump say a bunch of garbage all the time, saying he wants to murder all the poor people or whatever he wants to do, it makes all of us think we’ve got to step our game up, that’s not acceptable.”
“Rob (Skate4Cancer) has done a great job of turning something horrible into something positive,” continued Rousseau. “We were fortunate to be able to give him space to come on the tour to help the charity but he deserves all the credit.”
“Skaters and vegetarians are a big part of the punk scene, we thought PETA and Skate4Cancer would be a perfect fit.”
The band is one of the headliners of their hometown’s Sound Of Music festival this summer, but they haven’t even had time to process it yet.
“We’re really excited to play, but we’ve got so much happening between now and then, it’s tough to think about,” admitted Rousseau.
It’s another big year for the band, with their current cross-Canadian tour, overseas dates and another Stay Warm festival already on the plan, it doesn’t look like Silverstein will be slowing down any time soon.