Interview: Shane Told – Silverstein

Posted: by The Editor

Silverstein have been writing, touring, and releasing music for twenty years, taking no hiatuses. Their newest album, A Beautiful Place to Drown, is a powerful addition to the band’s discography. While the record has its recognizable, classic Silverstein sounds, there are a lot of fresh ideas and practices mixed in as well. I got the opportunity to talk to vocalist Shane Told about the making of this new album, and the longevity of the band.

We first talked about about the legacy of Silverstein, and what it’s been like to dedicate twenty years to music.

“It doesn’t feel like a job. More success meant more time and resources to put in, and now we’re in it a hundred percent,” Shane said. “It’s taken over our lives, but it isn’t a sacrifice because we get so much from it in return. I think that bands stop performing because they feel the result isn’t worth the work, and it can definitely be challenging, but I believe in the balance it presents.”

The level of determination Told displayed was impressive. He spoke with a certainty of purpose that I’ve often heard from artists, but seldom felt assured by. 

Something about the new album that I really enjoyed was the amount of features on it. Usually I feel like records lose something in cohesion when there’s too much collaboration, but each of the guests’ parts felt natural to the mood of the songs, especially Caleb Shomo’s feature on “Burn It Down.”

“It’s been a few records since we decided to have guest vocals, and I think that collaborative balance is needed for our music. We were really lucky to get such great artists on the album,” Shane said. “They were our first choices, really. They all totally understood us and our creative direction, and each of them had their own unique space to fit into.”

Connecting the past era of the band to the current state of A Beautiful Place to Drown, I mentioned that the group has always been known for their blend of huge, catchy hooks delivered with more aggressive vocals and heavier instrumentation, but that the new record seemed to go beyond the old tricks. I asked if there was any significant progression that led to this evolution in sound.

Laughing over my use of the term “old tricks,” Told responded, “Well, stylistically, those old tricks have come and gone. New styles become popular or are discovered, and we believe the best way to stay ahead of that is to just write great songs. Put the structure before the trends. Looking at specific songs off A Beautiful Place, even the first single had a different textural approach to it, but at the core, it’s still Silverstein.”

I interjected here to say that my favorite of the new songs, “All On Me,” seemed to exhibit the most experimentation. 

“We originally wrote that song on synth, which was interesting to start with. We took a chance and included a saxophone solo, and I think it gave the song the tone it really needed. The sax was kind of a happy medium for an unexpected instrument that didn’t feel ridiculous to include,” Shane said. “When you’re on your ninth record and you’ve been at it for twenty years, it’s really cool to still be able to do something new and have it work out so well!”

With being on the road and writing for so long, I wanted to know if there were any other personal endeavors that Told was invested in, and if we could expect another twenty years of Silverstein.

“The band and I are comfortable with the pace we’ve set over the last two decades. If that ever felt laborious, I’m sure that would change our minds, but we’ve clicked so well together as musicians that we feel like this is the path we’re meant to follow,” Shane said. “I feel like there’s a moment where something switches on in you and you realize, looking back: this is what I’m going to be known for, so I’d better take it seriously and work hard at it. If I’m not giving this my all, I’m doing myself, and everyone it affects a disservice.”

Make sure you check out Silverstein’s new record, A Beautiful Place to Drown, on UNFD, and see them on their 20th Anniversary Tour with Four Year Strong and I, The Mighty.


Luciano Ferrara | @LucianoRFerrara

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