Silverstein

Interview: Shane Told of Silverstein

This past week I was able to sit down with lead vocalist of Silverstein, Shane Told, and discuss the process that the band went through for the REDUX: The First Ten Years retrospective release. The band is self-releasing the record and it will be available everywhere music is sold on April 12, 2019.

I’m here with Shane Told of Silverstein, who just announced a unique retrospective called “REDUX : The First Ten Years.” Tell me a little bit about this project and why you felt the time was right to take this on?

We just spent 3 months on the road celebrating the 15-year anniversary of our first record, and in preparing for that we had to go back to the album and really pore over it to re-learn the parts. In doing that we realized that record needed an update and it was going to take more than just a remaster or something. So we started thinking a little bit more about it and thought doing a full re-record would be really cool for our fans. Then we thought it might be a little more fun to do some stuff from other albums too. They also could use a little update sonically, but the biggest thing I think was just who we are now. During those early years we were really green and had no idea what we were doing. So we picked 12 of our favorites, and songs we thought we could really help sonically with new technology and also having a lot more know-how in what we’re doing both with recording and performing.

I understand that this is a completely independent product(label-wise), but did you work with any producers on any of these re-recordings?

Yes we worked with Sam Guiana. It was cool because he is from our area and a bit younger than us so he actually grew up listening to these albums. We thought that him as a fan and also a great producer both technically and musically would be the perfect fit. He cares about these songs and the original recordings just like our fans do so he had some great ideas and opinions on how to preserve the magic that was there but still make it sound updated and in some ways into what our band has evolved into.

What stood out to each of you as you revisited these songs that are so cherished by your longtime fans?

There’s a real innocence on the songs, especially from the first album. You can hear it in my voice. I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m scared… but at the same time it was as real as anything could ever be. We channeled that into something special that I think resonated with fans because it was different. But, I think technically I wasn’t a good singer yet, we weren’t good players, and we knew zero about recording. So we took those songs and we recreated them much better, but I think something came back to me a bit in the booth that reconnected with those old feelings. And I think people are still going to hear that magic.

What are you most proud of while hearing these new interpretations on your early songs?
I think mostly how my voice has developed. I didn’t know how to scream back then. I just kind of yelled until it hurt and that was what it was. I didn’t really know how to express my voice when I was singing either. It just kind of was one dynamic. So hearing the updated “Bleeds No More” is going to be a real trip for the old fans.

How do you think your fans will react once they hear these new versions? Do you consider these new versions to be the “complete and finished” product of these tracks, or will you leave that distinction open to interpretation?

I think people are going to really like these because we truly did them justice. We didn’t try to make them WAY heavy or faster or anything. It’s just an honest re-recording and a sonic update. The performances and tones are so much better. But we didn’t add unnecessary additional instrumentation or anything. It was tempting to add harmonies or lead guitar or put in a “cooler” drum fill because maybe that’s what we would do now, but we didn’t want to. It didn’t feel right and this wasn’t the time to be self indulgent. The only thing we did was do “Still Dreaming” acoustic because so many people asked over the years and it seemed like a nice way to break up this LP.

What are the touring plans to support this record? Judging by the reaction to the WBIEF15 tour, will there be other opportunities to revisit some of your most beloved albums?

This year is going to be a little quieter than most for us on the live front but we will be doing some touring. Most of the year we will be spending working on new music. I think having that balance between celebrating the old and also pushing forward towards new ground is important. Our last album was probably our best received by our fans ever. So as much as our fans love to celebrate the milestones with us, they’re also dying for a new album.

Tell me a little bit more about how you went about designing the merch options for this project. Are you pleased with the options and how they turned out?

I’m stoked on it! We wanted something that sort of worked to celebrate the essence of the first 4 albums but wasn’t an exact duplicate. So the “icon” idea happened and it was cool because we did 4 special types of vinyl each going with each icon representing each album. And the patches we did are really cool too. We’ve always been a band that’s spent probably way too much time and effort and concern on our album artwork to make it work just right with the feel of the concept and lyrics and everything. Something like this is different because it’s a new take. But we have gotten really great feedback on this and pretty much sold out of everything, so that’s a good sign!

How has the social media interactions between you and your fans been since this announcement? Anything specific that stood out by some people’s reactions?

Haha, some people are losing their minds over this! And I think the fact that this isn’t just another re-mastered thing where you can barely tell the difference is what makes people the most excited. I’d be super stoked if some of my favorite bands from the 90’s went back and re-recorded stuff because so many of those records were poorly recorded due to low budgets. One fan sent literally just a bunch of nonsensical gibberish in a message because he was so excited. Haha, it was amazing.

What would in your eyes make this new album a success?

Well the “new album” of old songs is exactly what’s advertised and nothing more and nothing less. All I want is fans to think we did justice to the new recordings. Of course the original recordings aren’t going anywhere and will always exist but I think this update is well needed and fans will really enjoy these songs and put them on their playlists. They will sound great beside other modern recordings whereas before I’m not sure that was true.

Has this process of re-recording your older songs sparked any ideas for future songs for the next album?

I’d be lying if I said our old albums aren’t one of our biggest influences. Going back and re-learning some songs and remembering a certain chord or lead I played sometimes sparks something creatively that could lead to a song on the next album. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. We push forward and continually want to make better and better music. Our fans seem to think so too. But perhaps the reason is because we’ve let our past show us the way sometimes when other bands try to actively ignore it. We are who we are and those old songs and albums can’t be removed from existence. But – we can re-record them so they sound better. Haha

Adam Grundy Adam Grundy is a contributor at chorus.fm. He can also be found at @paythetab on Twitter and on Facebook.