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|2008 Oscar Predictions
|The box office intake from this year’s five best picture nominees sits just north of $300 million, which is the second lowest tally from that group in two decades. While mainstream audiences were slow to embrace the top nominees — except breakout hit “Juno” — the quality from top to bottom is strong. Despite clear frontrunners in almost every major category, the night — led by host Jon Stewart — should be entertaining and exciting, proving why the Oscars are the only awards show left in which the awards actually mean something.|
At this point, it seems like “No Country For Old Men” has this award in the bag. After winning the top prize at the Directors, Screen Actors, Writers, and Producers Guild Awards, it clearly has the momentum and is the film to beat. Critical favorite “There Will Be Blood” and Golden Globe winner “Atonement” are runners-up, but they really don’t stand much of a chance.
The Pick: “No Country For Old Men”
For the fourth year in a row, the winner here is a shoe-in. Daniel Day-Lewis in “There Will Be Blood” was hauntingly explosive, showing why his rare on-screen appearances are so special. In spite of George Clooney’s best all-around performance and the always-entertaining Johnny Depp, this belongs to Day-Lewis hands down.
The Pick: Daniel Day-Lewis
No matter how much I liked “Juno” and its star turn by Ellen Page, this has become a two-person race between Julie Christie in “Away From Her” and Marion Cotillard in “La Vie En Rose.” Christie’s performance, which saw her character succumb to Alzheimer’s, has won the majority of the awards so far and should win this as well.
The Pick: Julie Christie
Best Supporting Actor
In any other year, Philip Seymour Hoffman would be a lock for his second Oscar win with “Charlie Wilson’s War.” However, Javier Bardem was simply superb in “No Country,” creating one of the most memorable villains in recent memory. Sorry friend-o, but this is Bardem’s award all the way.
The Pick: Javier Bardem
Best Supporting Actress
The murkiest category of the year, with three actresses having a legitimate shot at winning. Amy Ryan drew raves for her work in “Gone Baby Gone,” Cate Blanchett won the Globe for “I’m Not There,” and then 83-year-old Ruby Dee won the Screen Actors prize for “American Gangster.” The Academy loves Blanchett, as evidenced by her previous win for "The Aviator" and the two nods this year, so I give her the slight edge.
The Pick: Cate Blanchett
The Coen brothers did an exceptional job in adapting Cormac McCarthy’s beloved novel, “No Country For Old Men,” and in the process created the most engaging film of the year. They’ve practically won every single directing award already and should finally earn their first Best Director statue.
The Pick: Joel and Ethan Coen
Best Original Screenplay
While the Academy rarely awards its top prizes to comedies, stripper-turned-writer Diablo Cody’s script for “Juno” is too good to pass up. The wacky world and eccentric dialogue she created was wholly unique and the driving force behind the film, which charmed audiences all across the country.
The Pick: Diablo Cody
Best Adapted Screenplay
It should come as no surprise that this award goes to the Coen brothers as well. Seriously, if you haven’t already seen this film, what are you waiting for?
The Pick: Joel and Ethan Coen
Best Animated Feature: “Ratatouille”
Best Art Direction: “Sweeney Todd”
Best Cinematography: “There Will Be Blood”
Best Costume Design: “Atonement”
Best Documentary: “No End In Sight”
Best Film Editing: “No Country For Old Men”
Best Foreign Language Film: “The Counterfeiters”
Best Makeup: “La Vie En Rose”
Best Original Score: “Atonement”
Best Original Song: “Once”
Best Sound Editing: “Transformers”
Best Sound Mixing: “Transformers”
Best Visual Effects: “Transformers”
|Tags: Oscars, Academy Awards, Predictions, No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood
|Movie Review – Jumper
|Teleporting through the space-time continuum would be a pretty cool thing to do, and the idea makes for an appealing notion to base a movie around. However, in the sci-fi thriller “Jumper,” this amounts to little more than an afterthought as it becomes the latest victim in the style-over-substance ruse.|
The story follows David Rice (Hayden “Anakin” Christenson), who discovers at an early age he has the ability to “jump” to random places. With his “divine insight,” he decides to use this superpower to run away from home and get rich by robbing a bank. Eight years later, David reconnects with his childhood crush Millie (Rachel Bilson), only to be hunted down by Agent Roland (Samuel L. Jackson), one of the Paladins, who have vowed to kill all Jumpers. Meanwhile, Griffin (Jamie Bell), a rogue Jumper, helps David square off against the Paladins.
If you head into this film expecting logical answers, you’ll be sorely disappointed, since the writers never bother to explain what little of the plot there is. How one becomes a Jumper and what makes it even possible is left to the audience’s imagination. A few scattered answers are provided on the Paladin side, but who the Paladins are and why they hate the Jumpers so much is never satisfactorily examined.
These plot holes force director Doug Liman, the man behind such acclaimed films as “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity,” to use every trick he can think of to distract from the story’s shortcomings. The camera is constantly in a swirl of motion, making sure to show off all of the film’s settings. The visual effects are slickly produced, yet when all is said and done, there is little left to show for them in terms of action set pieces. It’s a telling sign of what the once highly touted Liman has been reduced to.
Liman doesn’t get a whole lot of help from the actors either. Christenson, who only got the part because Fox wanted someone with more “star power” than the actor originally cast, is neither good nor bad — he just is. On the other hand, the white-haired Jackson is never given enough time to sink his teeth into the part, and amounts to little more than a stereotypical villain. Bell is the only one who makes an impression, although his character eventually falls prey to the poor writing as well.
While “Jumper’s” flashy ad campaign tried to exhibit how it was going to be something different, it fails to live up to the hype. It’s not the disaster some critics have been pronouncing; it is simply a sub-par sci-fi romp. In the end, its few entertaining moments make it watchable — so long as you don’t think too hard about it.
The Verdict: C+ (78%)
|Tags: Jumper, Doug Liman, Hayden Christenson, Samuel Jackson, Movie, Review
|Sherwood Use Internet, Hard Work To Achieve Success
|In today’s technological age, it has become increasingly difficult to remember a time when music and the Internet weren’t drastically interwoven. In fact, it is now nearly impossible to break a band based solely on the conventional outlets of a record label and the radio.|
“At this point, a lot of bands have figured out that the first step is to be really visible on the Internet,” Sherwood keyboardist Mikey Leibovich told me before last week’s headlining show at Chain Reaction.
However, when you think about it, this new development didn’t start that long ago.
“We were kind of right there at the right time,” lead singer and bassist Nate Henry admitted.
The cheery pop-rock band formed back in 2002 while the founding members were attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, right around the time social networking sites like MySpace were booming and music downloading was skyrocketing. Since then, they have been able to combine their diligent resolve with the Internet’s vast resources to arrive at a recipe for success.
The group, which also includes guitarist/singer Dan Koch, drummer Joe Greenetz and guitarist Dave Provenzano, first garnered exposure on PureVolume, and the positive feedback from the Web site’s listeners led to their first self-booked tour. Around that time, they struck up a relationship with the management behind Long Beach’s SideCho Records, the sister label of The Militia Group, and soon had a one-record deal.
They released their debut full-length album Sing, But Keep Going in mid-2005, and it went on to sell over 20,000 copies. The band spent many months touring in support of the effort, including a stint on the Vans Warped Tour, and saw their status rise as a result. However, once the album ran its course and their contract with SideCho expired, the band’s position was up in the air.
“We were kind of in between a rock and a hard place,” Leibovich explained. “We didn’t really know exactly where the next step to go was.”
In the spring of 2006, Sherwood boldly decided to give away their recently recorded The Summer EP for free on absolutepunk.net. Thirty thousand downloads later, the band had numerous offers from a variety of labels. In the end, they made a surprising move by settling on the newly formed MySpace Records that October.
“We didn’t want to be on a traditional record label,” Henry said. “We figured the best company in the world that can do anything for a band is MySpace. They can work with a thousand companies, let alone they know every band because every band’s on MySpace.”
The band soon headed to San Francisco to record their sophomore album A Different Light with veteran producer Lou Giordano, whose resume included the likes of Sunny Day Real Estate and Taking Back Sunday. When the album was released in March 2007, it sold 4,000 copies during its first week in stores.
In sticking with their DIY attitude, Sherwood spent the remainder of the year on the road, supporting the record with three different tours for Relient K, Motion City Soundtrack and The Academy Is…
Now currently in the midst of their first ever headlining tour, the band is set to head overseas for a run of shows upon its conclusion. Then after a much deserved break, it will be time to gear up for album number three.
“We’re really kind of anxious to get off the road and start actually working on this next record,” Leibovich said, adding that there’s a good chance they might not be touring the States again this year. “We want the next album to start becoming a priority.”
“I think this record’s going to be the most involved record that we’ve ever had,” Henry added. “We’re going to have a lot more time, a lot more money, and we’re all going to have a lot more ideas.”
While there might be a lot riding on the outcome of the group’s next album, they also recognize that sometimes being in a band isn’t always about the music.
“I would like to take the band’s popularity and do something good with it besides music, like start some nonprofit agency or do something that’s more involved with helping people on a basic human need level,” Henry pointed out. “Music’s cool and music’s great, but eventually if that’s all you’re doing it for, I think that you become very shallow.”
In a genre usually known for its lighthearted and carefree habits, that outlook is further proof Sherwood are standing out among their peers.
“I think we’re all pretty tired of this scene we’re in, you know?” Henry confessed. “We’re all like mid 20s, pushing late 20s, and after awhile you’re like, ‘I’m not 19 years [old] anymore.’ You want to challenge yourself… Some things get better with age, and hopefully that’s what happens with us.”
|Tags: Sherwood, A Different Light, The Summer EP
|Movie Review – Persepolis
|“Persepolis” was one of the most critically acclaimed films from last year, picking up the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and numerous nominations during awards season. Its recognition might not be over either, as some believe it might pull off an upset on Oscar night and beat out “Ratatouille” for Best Animated Feature.|
Based on Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical graphic novel, the French film picks up in Iran in 1979 in the midst of the Islamic Revolution. The nine-year-old Marjane witnesses the tyrannical government’s rise to power and the harsh rules it imposes on its people, especially the women. Soon thereafter, the country is thrust into the long running Iran-Iraq War, which forces her to move to Austria for safety’s sake. It takes a while for her to fit in there, and a new series of problems aren’t far behind. Homesick, she moves back to Iran only to discover she can no longer take living in such an oppressed society.
Cut from the same cloth as last year’s Juno MacGuff (of the Oscar-nominated “Juno”), Marjane is a rebellious anti-heroine who never shies away from speaking her mind. Whether refusing to wear her mandated veil, lying to soldiers to get other people in trouble or listening to the forbidden music of Iron Maiden, she is a fish out of water searching for a place to belong.
In much the same way “Sin City” and “300” turned Frank Miller’s graphic novels into live action epics, “Persepolis” translates its unique source to a 2-D backdrop. While the animation isn’t intricately detailed, the way it presents itself shows great creativity. Jumping around in both time and setting, it almost insinuates a move from panel to panel. With its camera movements and shot selection, the film — told almost entirely in black and white — also displays a rogue imagination that refuses to pull punches.
While “Persepolis” does hit a few speed bumps along the way and lacks a strong ending, Marjane’s story is a remarkable one. The real life Satrapi, who served as writer and co-director, does quite a job of putting her experiences up on the big screen in her first film project. While it might not reach the high level of “Ratatouille” — which was, after all, the best reviewed wide release of the entire year — it still shows that animation isn’t solely for kids and fairy tales.
The Verdict: B (83%)
|Tags: Persepolis, Movie, Review
|Movie Review – Rambo
|In the latest token of 1980s nostalgia, Sylvester Stallone resurrects the “Rambo” franchise after a 20-year absence. Despite the immediate apprehension such an idea evokes, Stallone surprises by delivering a solidly gripping film.|
Stallone, now 61 years old, is as stout as ever as the disgruntled Vietnam veteran John Rambo, who has withdrawn to northern Thailand to live a quiet life of wrangling snakes and river boating. As Stallone demonstrated a year ago with “Rocky Balboa,” he has no problem reemerging back into the familiar archetype, and it feels a natural evolution to the character.
Since this is a “Rambo” movie, it doesn’t take long before the protagonist is engulfed by a world of conflict. A group of naïve missionaries approach him to lead them into war-ravaged Burma (now called Myanmar by the current government). With much reluctance and doubt that they will be able to change anything, he agrees. Once he drops them off, they are inevitably captured by the cruel army, forcing Rambo to lead a rescue mission with a ragtag group of mercenaries in tow.
Last year’s batch of war movies were often tedious and heavy-handed. With its primary objective to deliver an adrenaline rush, “Rambo” is neither. The second half is particularly action-packed, and, as several media outlets have brought to light, it contains the series’ highest body count by a wide margin. However, the violence isn’t glamorized. Instead it serves as a stark reminder of events similar to these occurring in today’s world.
Nevertheless, whatever type of message it is trying to purport often gets lost amidst the wash of blood. While it tries to delve into reasons about why we fight and when, if ever, it is okay to adopt such extreme measures, in the end it simply comes across as supporting the age-old adage that violence only begets more violence.
For an exciting and intense thrill ride, “Rambo” fulfills its purpose. Combined with its rather open-ended conclusion, I even wouldn’t mind seeing the story continued at some future point. On the other hand, for those who like something deeper or more profound, there’s a little something called the Academy Awards. Go watch one of those nominees instead. This is, after all, Stallone we’re talking about.
The Verdict: B (84%)
|Tags: Rambo, Sylvester Stallone, Movie, Review
|A Look Back At 2007’s Best Films
|In the face of the impeding writer’s strike, Academy Award nominations were released last week. With emphasis on both solemn and contemplative fare, “No Country For Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” led the pack with eight nominations apiece.|
As with every year, there were several notable omissions. Gems such as “Sunshine” and “Zodiac” went ignored, “Eastern Promises” and “Into The Wild” were underrepresented and a late questionable call disqualified Jonny Greenwood’s superb score for “There Will Be Blood.” Meanwhile, the overrated “Atonement” racked up seven nods, while the abysmal “Norbit” can somehow call itself an Academy Award nominee, picking up one for Best Makeup.
Out of the films which did garner nominations, here are those I enjoyed the most:
“3:10 To Yuma”
2 Oscars, including Best Original Score
Christian Bale and Russell Crowe excel as men on either side of the law, and Ben Foster is a scene-stealer as Crowe’s ruthless right hand man. The story focuses on its characters yet manages to deliver plenty of action, proving all hope is not lost for this once great genre. The best western since 1992’s “Unforgiven.”
“The Bourne Ultimatum”
3 Oscars, including Best Editing
Matt Damon returned for a third outing as superspy Jason Bourne, and it matched the high bar of its predecessors. The action scenes are superbly staged, another adept display from director Paul Greengrass (“United 93”), and the film exhibits an unusual amount of smarts for a Hollywood blockbuster.
4 Oscars – Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay
Not only was it the breakout hit of the year, it was also the year’s best comedy. Buoyed by a star-making turn from Ellen Page, the story’s real charm lies in the script from rookie screenwriter Diablo Cody, made up of wildly inventive dialogue and wholly amusing characters.
7 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director
A character-driven, legal thriller centering on a man caught in a moral crisis. Tony Gilroy’s sophisticated screenplay is brought to life by one of the best casts of the year — George Clooney has never been better, and Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton excel in support.
“No Country For Old Men”
8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography
The Coen brothers’ strongest outing to date turned out to be the best of the entire year. Highlighted by an impressive cast, including the phenomenal Javier Bardem, it is impeccably written and executed. How much you like the film hinges on its unconventional ending, which has generated a significant amount of debate among viewers.
1 Oscar – Best Original Song (“Falling Slowly”)
The stirring Irish musical incorporates songs naturally into its storytelling style. The indie soundtrack is stellar, and first time actors Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová deliver heartfelt performances in a down-to-earth movie devoid of Hollywood conventions.
5 Oscars, including Best Animated Feature, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score
Pixar bounces back from 2006’s disappointing “Cars” with one of their best yet. Directed by Brad Bird (“The Incredibles”), it is cute and full of humor, yet unafraid to tackle existential themes for older audiences.
3 Oscars, including Best Visual Effects
A widely entertaining popcorn extravaganza with some of the best visual effects ever seen in a film, it is director Michael Bay’s (“The Rock”) most accomplished work. It also features plenty of humor, especially from budding star Shia LaBeouf.
“Sicko,” “Sweeney Todd” and “There Will Be Blood.”
|Tags: Best, Films, 2007, Academy Awards, Oscars
|Most Anticipated Of 2008 - Film
|01. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull|
02. The Dark Knight
06. The Happening
07. Bond 22
08. Iron Man
09. The Incredible Hulk
11. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
12. Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
13. Star Trek
14. The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian
15. Burn After Reading
Be Kind Rewind
Body Of Lies
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
The X-Files 2
|Tags: 2008, Most Anticipated, Film, Movies
|Most Anticipated Of 2008 - Music
|01. Brand New (Fingers Crossed!)|
02. New Found Glory
05. Jack’s Mannequin
07. Green Day
09. Story Of The Year
11. Death Cab For Cutie
13. Dashboard Confessional
14. The Format
15. Taking Back Sunday
Anchor & Braille
Between The Trees
ALSO HOLDING OUT FOR…
Fall Out Boy
|Tags: Most Anticipated, 2008
|Best Of 2007 - Film
|Even though there weren’t any films quite as good as my top two from last year — Pan’s Labyrinth and Letters From Iwo Jima — it was still a very solid year. I averaged at least one trip to the theater a week, catching 56 films over the course of the year (a new personal record!).|
There’s still several I have yet to watch, but my favorites thus far are as follows:
1. No Country For Old Men
2. The Bourne Ultimatum
5. 3:10 To Yuma
8. Michael Clayton
10. Live Free Or Die Hard
12. There Will Be Blood
13. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street
15. American Gangster
17. Knocked Up
18. Gone Baby Gone
19. Eastern Promises
20. Spider-Man 3
21. Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
22. Charlie Wilson's War
23. The Devil Came On Horseback
28 Weeks Later
Away From Her
The Brave One
Dan In Real Life
I Am Legend
Reign Over Me
The Simpsons Movie
01. Wild Hogs
02. Dead Silence
04. The Last Mimzy
05. The Number 23
07. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry
09. Rush Hour 3
10. Smokin' Aces
|Tags: 2007, Best Of, Film, Movies
|Best Of 2007 - Music
|Last year was a very good year for music, with four of my top five bands releasing new music. It also put quite a dent in my bank account, as I attended 30 concerts and bought around 150 CDs...and that's just for those released in '07!|
So without further adieu, here's my picks for 2007's Cream Of The Crop:
01. Linkin Park – Minutes To Midnight
02. Fall Out Boy – Infinity On High
03. Jimmy Eat World – Chase This Light
04. Yellowcard – Paper Walls
05. Anberlin – Cities
06. The Rocket Summer – Do You Feel
07. Straylight Run – The Needles The Space
08. Thrice – The Alchemy Index: Vols. I & II – Fire & Water
09. Paramore – Riot!
10. Say Anything – In Defense Of The Genre
11. Relient K – Five Score And Seven Years Ago
12. New Found Glory – From The Screen To Your Stereo Part II
13. Dashboard Confessional – The Shade Of Poison Trees
14. Angels & Airwaves – I-Empire
15. Chevelle – Vena Sera
16. Lovedrug – Everything Starts Where It Ends
17. Motion City Soundtrack – Even If It Kills Me
18. Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
19. Sherwood – A Different Light
20. MxPx – Secret Weapon
21. Dustin Kensrue – Please Come Home
22. Alter Bridge – Blackbird
23. Radiohead – In Rainbows
24. The Spill Canvas – No Really, I’m Fine
25. The Academy Is… – Santi
Against Me! – New Wave
All Time Low – So Wrong, It's Right
The Almost – Southern Weather
Amber Pacific – Truth In Sincerity
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Armor For Sleep – Smile For Them
Band Of Horses – Cease To Begin
Brighten – King Vs Queen
Bright Eyes – Cassadaga
Cary Brothers – Who You Are
The Cinematics – A Strange Education
Circa Survive – On Letting Go
Stacy*Clark – Apples And Oranges
The Dear Hunter – Act II: The Meaning Of, & All Things Regarding Ms. Leading
A Dream Too Late – Intermission To The Moon
Eisley – Combinations
Evans Blue – The Pursuit Begins When This Portrayal Of Life Ends
The Fold – Secrets Keep You Safe
Four Year Strong – Rise Or Die Trying
The Frames – The Cost
The Graduate – Anhedonia
Jonny Greenwood – There Will Be Blood Soundtrack
The Less – Loud Machines
Lifehouse – Who We Are
Mae – Singularity
Maroon 5 – It Won't Be Soon Before Long.
Mêlée – Devils & Angels
Once – Soundtrack
OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud
Project 86 – Rival Factions
Raining & OK – The Devil On Your Shoulder
The Receiving End Of Sirens – The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi
Relient K – Let It Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer
Saves The Day – Under The Boards
The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
Sound The Alarm – Stay Inside
The Starting Line – Direction
Tokyo Rose – The Promise In Compromise
The Used – Lies For The Liars
We The Kings – We The Kings
01. Holiday Parade – This Is My Year
02. We Shot The Moon – The Polar Bear & Cougar
03. The Morning Light – The Sounds Of Love
04. The Dangerous Summer – If You Could Only Keep Me Alive
05. Blindside – The Black Rose
06. Typhoid Mary – Take Shelter
07. The Reign Of Kindo – The Reign Of Kindo
08. John Mayer – The Village Sessions
09. The Classic Crime – Acoustic EP: Seattle Sessions
10. Jon Foreman – Fall
|Tags: 2007, Best Of, Music
|Movie Review – There Will Be Blood
|Despite what the title suggests, “There Will Be Blood” is not a horror film, nor is there much bloodshed onscreen. Instead, it is the story of a man who loses his soul when he is consumed by his own selfishness and unquenchable greed.|
We are first introduced to Daniel Plainview, brought to life by the great Daniel Day-Lewis, at the dawn of the 20th century. He is in California looking to strike it big in the booming oil business, and during the opening 15 minutes — mesmerizingly told sans dialogue — he succeeds.
Then over the course of the next two hours, Plainview decomposes in front of our eyes. We see him continually backstab everyone in his life and commit heinous acts, all while refusing to live for anyone but himself. In spite of this depravity, his journey is fascinating as it unfolds, and there are even brief moments where you begin to like him. However, the film’s main downfall is that it never makes a purpose behind his collapse clear.
Paul Thomas Anderson, the brilliant director behind “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia,” fails to establish a lesson or moral truism to accompany the bleak tale. On the one hand, it wants to be a cautionary story in much the same way as “Citizen Kane,” yet it continually shrouds itself in vagueness, which impedes the development of a thesis.
Plainview’s inner destruction — which culminates during the conclusion — seems to be his desired outcome all along, almost to the point where he wishes to end up alone and waste away with his vapid wealth. Perhaps that he is never held responsible for his evil deeds is what is most disturbing, leaving us wondering if it can be considered punishment when he reaps what he desires.
You almost have to look to Jonny Greenwood’s dark score for any answers, which is superbly unsettling in its own right. Mirroring the rot and decay of Plainview’s moral sinews, it often communicates his state of mind better than the actions onscreen. The work of Greenwood — the famed guitarist of Radiohead — beautifully serves as its own story within the larger picture and delivers an unforgettable impact.
While “There Will Be Blood” is a radical departure for Anderson, he is unable to fully encapsulate the boldness of the change, which was loosely inspired by Upton Sinclair’s novel “Oil!” On the other hand, Day-Lewis’ performance is nothing short of masterful. His powerhouse display, combined with the high respect he has from the Academy, is sure to position him as a frontrunner in this year’s Best Actor race. Nevertheless, the lack of a discernable message prevents the film itself from being the masterpiece it could have been.
The Verdict: B+ (87%)
|Tags: There Will Be Blood, Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Thomas Anderson, Movie, Review
|Anberlin’s Stephen Christian Talks Upcoming Record, Side Projects
|“I think there’s a moment in everyone’s life where it’s this do or die moment,” Anberlin's Stephen Christian acknowledged, minutes after another terrific performance at Anaheim’s House Of Blues on Dec. 3.|
“You have this one chance. Do you jump off the train and try to save the day? Do you go out and create some art you don’t think anybody’s ever seen before? Do you quit your day job and go back into television or producing movies? Who knows when that moment is for you? But you have to decide.”
For Anberlin that time is now.
With long, shaggy hair and a stern face, some might suspect Christian to be shy and soft-spoken. In fact, the singer is quite the opposite. Charismatic and outgoing, he radiates a contagious energy to those around him, making it easy to see why Anberlin’s future is so bright.
The band, which also features guitarists Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, bassist Deon Rexroat and drummer Nathan Young, is currently nearing the end of their two-month tour supporting Motion City Soundtrack and former labelmates Mae. Then after a break for the holidays, they will be entering the studio with around 20 songs to record for their fourth record and first for Universal Republic.
“Lyrically, it’s going to be more like Cities than the other two,” Christian explained. “As far as sonically, I think it’s going to be a cross between ‘Dismantle. Repair.’ and ‘Paperthin Hymn’… Not too intricate that you get lose it, that you get lost, but a little more…epic.”
If it continues to explore the growth Cities demonstrated — one of 2007’s best — there is no telling what could be in store for fans. However, he is quick to point out it will sound like a natural progression.
“We haven’t changed at all,” he pointed out. “Nobody’s going to be like, ‘Who’s this?’… It’s going to be very, very distinctive.”
After working with Aaron Sprinkle, who Christian regards as “almost like a sixth member,” on their previous three records, the band will be collaborating with a different producer this time around. Although his identity can’t officially be revealed quite yet, suffice it to say he has worked with plenty of big bands and is more than capable of taking Anberlin to that next level.
In the meantime, last month saw the release of the b-sides/rarities album Lost Songs, which should be able to tide fans over until the summer when their new effort is scheduled to drop. In the end though, the release wasn’t something the band was entirely pleased with.
“It was contractual. We didn’t want to do it at all,” confessed Christian, chiming in that he personally has never purchased a b-sides record. Tooth & Nail Records originally wanted to put out a Greatest Hits release, which the band was adamantly against, before finally consenting to the current 18-song collection.
“I love my fans too much,” Christian said. “I don’t want to slop something together just to make some money for Tooth & Nail, me or whoever.”
All of this came in the wake as Tooth & Nail’s major label partner, Virgin Records, questionably opted against upgrading Anberlin to their roster. This was a setback for the band, and Christian described the feeling as though they were “trying to slaughter our careers. We worked this hard and suddenly [they] put the nail in the coffin.”
The band eventually settled on Universal Republic, who coincidentally had been pursuing them before Cities was even released. Unfortunately, once they were finally off Tooth & Nail, they received a less than stellar reaction from their former label.
“It felt like they didn’t care anymore. It’s sad,” Christian admitted. “As soon as we left, they were more invested in the money that could be made instead of the lives that they could have touched.”
While he stated “some of my best friends in the entire industry are at Tooth & Nail Records,” he also recognized that, in the end, it is a business.
“With Tooth & Nail, I believe that there’s a glass ceiling. You can go so far and then you kind of have to stay there,” Christian pointed out. “There comes a chance when you have to step out on a limb, go out and see what the rest of the world has for you.”
For Christian, that doesn’t solely include Anberlin. Over the last year, he has been working on a side project under the name Anchor & Braille, with some help from Copeland’s Aaron Marsh.
“These are songs, either lyrically or sonically, which felt like they weren’t in the vein of Anberlin,” he explained. “I think Anberlin is more of like Foo Fighters/Jimmy Eat World fast rock, stuff like that, whereas Anchor & Braille is very much like Sigur Rós/Ryan Adam-ish… I’m not comparing myself to them, just that kind of genre.”
While a few of these songs are circulating around the internet, the official release won’t come out until Anberlin’s latest offering is complete, which is currently Christian’s primary focus. “Until then, I don’t want to get my head in the clouds.”
Besides music, he has also completed work on his first book, entitled The Orphaned Anything’s. Nevertheless, he is hesitant to call himself a writer, preferring the term “tryer” instead.
“We have a lot of down time on the road, so instead of playing video games all the time, I try to pick up writing and stuff like that.”
The book, set for release early next year, is centered around the line “there’s more to living than being alive,” which was incorporated into the song “Alexithymia” on Cities. Christian described the story as the “monotony of life and trying to get out of the sludge and the cyclical world that we put ourselves into… It’s about turning your life around and going, ‘You know what? There has to be something more than just this.’”
Meanwhile, the band finds it exciting to be among the recent uprising of Christians in the mainstream marketplace, which this year has included the likes of Paramore and OneRepublic.
“It’s cool because we can set a lot of different examples for not only the listeners but other bands. We can go, ‘You know what? You really don’t have to do this and participate in the stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll.’”
While the band isn’t a huge fan of the “Christian band” label, the lyrics aren’t afraid to touch on spiritual or philosophical issues.
“I don’t sit down to avoid the word ‘God,’ avoid the word ‘Jesus’ or something like that. That’s never my intention,” Christian explained.
“If I could have any goal in lyrics, it would be to teach a life lesson. Whether out of failures or out of successes. Out of life or death or hate or whatever it is, to hopefully better people’s lives. I don’t want every song to be, ‘Girl, I want to hold your hand cause you’re pretty,’ and I don’t want every song to be like, ‘Well, the third law of thermodynamics states that everything is in the process of decay’... I want a medium where I can relate to that, I can absorb that and I can apply that to my life.”
It’s this sort of attitude which already has the band considering their career a success. No matter how their major label debut performs, it has encouraged them to dream big and give it their best shot.
“And what if it flops?” Christian questioned. “Let’s say we only sell 10,000 of the next record. You know what? I’ve had some of the best years of my life. This has been so much fun. I’ve gotten to tour with amazing bands and live out dreams that I never thought in a million years would be possible. So it’s like why not take the risk?”
Come this time next year, it’s likely fans will be glad they did.
For more information, visit www.anberlin.com, www.anchorandbraille.com or modesty.blogspot.com.
|Tags: Anberlin, Stephen Christian
|Anberlin Interview - 12.03.07
|This is an interview I had the privilege of conducting with Anberlin singer Stephen Christian following their set at Anaheim’s House Of Blues.|
How’s the tour been going? Has it been a lot of fun so far?
A lot of fun. This is one of the coolest tours. I like all the bands. I’ve gotten to know the guys in Metro Station real well. Mae, we’re former labelmates with from Tooth & Nail, and they’ve gone on to bigger and better things. Then Motion City is just awesome. They’ve been doing this for years. They know the formula and they’re just so good at it. So Motion City’s just great guys. A couple of them are really outgoing, so we hang out a lot. Some of them are into Kid Robot, which is like a Japanese toy store, and they take me around and go like "this is cool," just to hang out. But yeah, good guys. Really nice guys.
You guys just had the b-sides/rarities album come out a couple weeks ago. How did that come about?
You know what, it was contractual. We didn’t want to do it at all. I’ve never bought a b-side record in my life and felt like it was almost a rip-off. I love my fans too much. I don’t want to slop something together just to make some money for Tooth & Nail, for me or whoever. So to be honest, I hated it. I hated the idea. It actually started out as a Greatest Hits, and we were like "Dude, whatever. We’re not over. We’re not done with."
Yeah, Tooth & Nail seems to do that a lot.
Yeah, dude. They’re good. I was like "Okay, can we please do a b-sides?" So we finally convinced them, and I was like "Do we mind if we do 18 songs and a DVD? We have all this footage from throughout the years." And they’re like "Yeah, yeah. That sounds great, that sounds great." Then a month before it was released, it got chopped down to 12 songs and no DVD. We were like "You got to be kidding me." We’re off the label, so it feels like they don’t really care. At moments it feels like they almost don’t care about us or our fans. We finally had to take the DVD and chop it up into seven webisodes and put it on youtube. So it’s youtube.com/anberlin, and there’s seven of them. I just uploaded one a couple hours ago, so I think there’s only two left to complete the seven. That was supposed to go with the b-sides record.
With it, we finally got them back up from 12 to 18 songs because we were just so furious. We were like "You can’t rip us off. We still have ties with you guys. We still want to push these records that you put out for us." I don’t know. It just felt like they didn’t care anymore. It’s sad. As soon as we left, they were more invested in the money that could be made instead of the lives that they could have touched. So it was sad. But anyway, b-sides is just a collection of stuff that didn’t get on records. It’s stuff that if you were an avid fan, you would already have.
Yeah. I already had about half of it.
See. That drives me nuts. I don’t expect, and I hope you don’t, to pay like 10 dollars to get these songs that were just slapped together. You already have the best ones. Whatever you have were the best ones.
Do you now regret any of them not making the records?
I mean yeah. I wish I could go back in time and on Cities I really wouldn’t want a few songs. I would want "Haunting" on, just because I had no idea of the response. That was one of those songs that I wrote and was like "I don’t think people are going to like this." I just felt like it didn’t fit the mood, and I felt like we shouldn’t have put "Mathematics" on Cities. I love the song. I absolutely love the song. I think it’s dark and tells an awesome story, but I think people just didn’t get it and don’t like it. I don’t know. So we shouldn’t have put that one on. I don’t really like "Alexithymia," and there’s one other one I was thinking about the other day that I wish I didn’t put on. I’m trying to think, doggone it… "Mathematics"… Anyway, those two. And "Alexithymia" seems to be a curse for us. Every time we try to play it live, something goes wrong. It was a bad song, so we stopped.
You guys are going to be working on some new stuff and recording pretty soon, right?
Yeah. We’re already at 10 songs. Hopefully, we’re going to take off the holiday after this tour’s done, go back into the studio probably February 1 and work with an awesome producer named [can’t be officially announced yet].
Yeah. We’re actually going to meet him tomorrow for the first time. The contract’s not signed, but he’s already fully committed. We’re going to hang out with him tomorrow, give him the idea for the overall picture and show him the first 10 demos. We’ll keep writing through the holidays and hopefully when we walk into the studio Februrary 1, we’ll have like 20 songs together.
Now you guys have only worked with Aaron Sprinkle before, right?
Oh yeah, absolutely. I mean we never really had the opportunity to work with any other producers, not that we would have. I love Aaron Sprinkle. He’s just an amazing guy, and we all talked about maybe going back on the fourth record to him — not for old times but just because he’s almost like a sixth member. He’s that entwined. I know [our new producer] is going to do an amazing job. Me and him have had incredible conversations and he’s just a solid, solid dude so far. He’s a very songs-oriented producer, and I’ve never had that. Aaron Sprinkle is a music mastermind genius, but his first main career wasn’t a producer. [Our new producer] worked with [artist] in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Then he stretched out on his own and did some fabulous stuff. So we’re just excited to work with him.
That’s cool to hear. What kind of stylistic direction are you guys taking with the new stuff?
It’s still all over the place. I don’t think that we can all settle on one thing. The one thing I can say is that Christian now being in the band from Acceptance brings back a lot of the riff stuff from "Readyfuels" and "Feel Good Drag." That kind of like heavy, riff stuff. So I think that’s really going to push Joey to take what Christian writes and make it his own. Make it Anberlin’s. So it’s going to be really cool to see. I think the direction that I’m kind of aiming at lyrically is going to be more like Cities than any of the other two. As far as sonically, I think it’s going to be a cross between "Dismantle. Repair." and "Paperthin Hymn." Kind of right there. Like not too intricate that you lose it, that you get lost, but a little more like…
Like epic sounding, kind of.
Yeah, epic. I guess that’s what I mean. Anberlin — we haven’t changed at all. Nobody’s going to be like, "Who’s this?" "Oh, it’s Anberlin." I mean, duh… There’s no way. It’s going to be very, very distinctive.
You guys are also on Universal for this one. What made you decide to go to them?
I think several factors really. With Tooth & Nail, I believe that there’s a glass ceiling. It’s like you can go so far and then you kind of have to stay there. The thing is that when we assessed on staying at Tooth & Nail, we could have had another five-year career. Everything’s stable. We just sell to this market that they have a niche in. But I think there’s a moment in everyone’s life where it’s this do or die moment. You have this one chance. I mean do you jump off the train and try to save the day? Do you go out and create some art that you don’t think anybody’s ever seen before? Do you quit your day job and go back into television or producing movies? Who knows when that moment is for you? But you kind of have to decide. I think that for us, this was like here’s Universal, who’s just begging for the opportunity. I’m talking like hounding my manager everyday since before Cities came out. We were like "Wow. These guys really want us. Why not take the risk?" And what if it flops? Let’s say we only sell 10,000 of the next record. You know what? I’ve had some of the best years of my life. I’ve had so much fun. I’ve got to tour with some amazing bands and live out dreams that I never thought in a million years would be possible. So it’s like why not just take the risk?
On top of that, we wanted to do like a Tooth & Nail/Virgin thing, as far as a major and a development. We wanted Tooth & Nail to stay with us because we love the people there, but Virgin just wouldn’t have us. Here’s all these other major labels just hounding and then they were just like "Hey listen, there’s no singles on Cities." Universal said, "I want to buy it. There’s five deep on that CD. We’ll buy it." And Virgin was like "No. Not only are we not going to push it, but we’re not going to sell it." It was just kind of like "Dude, are you trying to slaughter our careers? We’ve worked this hard and suddenly you just put the nail in the coffin." So we love Tooth & Nail. I love their passion. Some of my best friends in the entire industry are at Tooth & Nail Records — in life, not just in music — but there comes a chance when you have to step out on a limb, go out and see what the rest of the world has for you.
That’s kind of weird because Virgin just had a lot of success with The Almost.
Yeah, they did.
So that’s kind of weird that they didn’t like you guys.
I agree. I think they also had a lot of… I mean Underoath sold awesome. If Underoath would have wanted to have been on the radio, they could have. They would have been huge. I don’t know. They just have a lot of integrity. So they just went with other bands.
Now Christian is from Acceptance, and when they made the jump to the majors, they weren’t met with the best of results. Has he been able to bring any advice to the situation?
Oh absolutely. I think he was a great balance of like "Hey, here’s what labels are going to do. Here’s what they’re probably going to say." But actually in the end, Christian was quite — I can’t put words in his mouth — but I think he was quite surprised at how supportive Universal was, and how they were like "Listen. This isn’t going to happen." He was like "Wow. I didn’t even know because I didn’t even tell them that." They were already saying "Listen. This isn’t going to happen. It’s not like if you sell under this then you’re gone. We’re not going to drop the ball. We’re not going to leave you hanging." So that was really like okay, calming us down. So that was really cool.
In addition to Anberlin, you have your side project Anchor & Braille. Can you describe that a little bit?
It’s just songs that I’ve sat down and wrote that I knew Anberlin couldn’t portray or translate. There’s a couple songs, like 4 or 5, that Anberlin has taken and made their own, but these are songs that either lyrically or sonically felt like I don’t think these are in the vein of Anberlin. I think Anberlin is more of like Foo Fighters/Jimmy Eat World fast rock — stuff like that — whereas Anchor & Braille is very much like Sigur Rós, Ryan Adam-ish. Just kind of more in that vein and stuff like that. I’m not comparing myself to them. I’m just saying that kind of genre-ish.
Now when is that supposed to come out?
You know what? We have no idea. I think that my manager agreed with the label on this that Anberlin has to be the primary focus until Anberlin drops the record. Then we can all focus on Anchor & Braille. Until then, I don’t want to get my head in the clouds.
You’re also something of a writer and have your first novel coming out next year. What’s the deal with that?
I don’t know if I’m a writer. Is there a pseudo-writer out there? I’m a tryer. I don’t know. We have a lot of down time on the road, so instead of playing video games all the time, I try to pick up writing and stuff like that. I don’t know if it’s a short story or a novella, it depends on how it’s bound I guess, but it’s going to come out in February/March of next year is the tentative date. It’s called The Orphaned Anything’s. I don’t have a lot of press for it or anything like that, but I do have myspace.com/theorphanedanythings.
Yeah. I read the first chapter. It was pretty sweet.
Hey, thank you. Thanks very much.
So what’s the plot of the book?
I think the plot is kind of like… Well, actually the line "There’s more to living than being alive" was in the book and was almost translated over into a song. You’ll hear a lot of lyrics off Cities from stuff in the book. It’s about the monotony of life and trying to get out of the sludge and the cyclical world that we put ourselves into. Such as this girl emailed me the other day at Modesty, and she was just saying how she looks back — she’s 25 now — and she’s at a desk job. She’s not married yet but she still has this boyfriend, and one morning she just woke up and was like "What am I doing? This was never what I wanted to do." I told her that there was a quote that says, "The road to hell is a slow and gradual one." I’m not saying she’s going to hell by any means, but I’m saying that I think you make real small justifications and you let little details go. It’s just little things. "Well, I don’t really need to do this." Or "I can put off college until next year." Or "I would take this film job but it doesn’t pay nearly as well as this job at Kmart." After a while, in three or four years, you’ve made all these justifications. Here you are in the thick of life, and you’re just like "This is not who I wanted to become." So I guess that’s what it’s about — about self revelation, turning your life around and going "You know what? There has to be something more than just this."
Now over the last several years, there’s been a huge uprising of Christians in the mainstream music market. Back in the day, it was like P.O.D. and Switchfoot, and then this year it’s been Paramore and OneRepublic. How exciting is it to be right in the middle of that?
It’s great. I think for most of us, we don’t go in there and go "I’m a Christian, so I should get into a band and try to save the world." I think for most of us, it’s almost a calling. Like a burden. Like "Hey, this is what I really want to do with my life." It’s cool because we can set a lot of different examples for not only the listeners but other bands. We can go "You know what? You really don’t have to do this and participate in the stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll." I think you can see the seeds of that were planted with like maybe MxPx, P.O.D. or Switchfoot. I think you can kind of see them now whereas a lot of bands are getting behind a lot of causes. You never saw Guns ‘N Roses doing a charity event, believing in an organization or funding a well in Africa. But now you see everything from Fall Out Boy to Cute Is What We Aim For to Paramore to Thrice. Everyone takes up a cause. It’s just unreal. All these people trying to be a positive light, and it’s really cool seeing the fruits of that coming out of our scene.
Do you have any theory why you’ve seen the mainstream respond to this so well?
What do you mean? I’m sorry.
Like have you seen any reason why the mainstream is more accepting of Christians and "Christian Music," and are more responsive to it now than they were back in the day?
Well, I think it’s just desensitization. I think when the first bands came out, everybody was like "Christians in a band! Christians in a band!" But now you have everything from U2 to Paramore to Copeland. You can’t even name the amount of bands that have Christian members in them. I just think it’s like the… How do I explain this in better words?... It’s just not a big deal anymore. It’s just over. No one talks about it anymore. It’s just like "Oh, okay. Big deal." There’s tons of people in it. I think that over time, people have just gradually become like "Oh, uh-huh. Good deal."
The band has written its fair share of love songs, but you aren’t afraid to delve into those deeper issues, be it spiritual of philosophical stuff. Is there a favorite area you like to write about and do you find it difficult to balance both aspects?
No. If I could have any goal in lyrics, it would be to teach a life lesson. Whether out of failures or out of successes. Out of life or death or hate or whatever it is, to hopefully better people’s lives. I don’t want every song to be "Girl, I want to hold your hand ‘cause you’re pretty," and I don’t want every song to be like "Well, the third law of thermodynamics states that everything is in the process of decay." What? I don’t want to hear that. I want a medium where I can relate to that, I can absorb that and I can apply that to my life. I think that’s the area I love the most.
What is your approach and philosophy to writing lyrics, and how are you able to incorporate your faith without it coming off as preachy or something like that?
Well, I don’t sit down to avoid the word "God," avoid the word "Jesus" or something like that. That’s never my intention. I know this is going to sound creepy, or whatever you want to call it, but a lot of times when I sit down to the music, it already talks to me. In other words, if you have this fast paced song, like "Dududududududu," you’re not going to be like [Sings] "Girl, your eyes are blue, yeah, and so is the sky." So it already kind of gives you like a "Well, this is the direction where it’s going in my head." Then I usually journal. I try to journal everyday, it doesn’t work out so well, but I keep this little black notebook with me. If lines or something inspires me, whether out of a book, a film, or just life or someone says something — like my grandfather was the one who told me "Never take friendship personal." I was like "Wow." It stuck with me for like a year. I hated that quote because it was like "Dude, that’s just sad." But then when you have people completely turn their back on you and despise you, it’s kind of like "Ah, yeah. At moments it feels like that. You can never take friendship personal." It’s little things like that. So when I sit down to hear the song, I’ll flip through my journal — the front is where I do like my "Write One Today" — and I’ll flip it over where it’s all lyrics, one-lines or something like that. Usually when I hear the chorus, I can translate some of those words into that chorus, and then I start to write the song around that. Then I go to the pre-chorus. Then I go to the verses — start with one then two.
Last week, the music community was a little shaken up with the passing of Casey Calvert [guitarist for Hawthorne Heights]. Were you able to get to know him at all?
It killed me. It crushed me. I can tell you the time, the place, even the city we were in. Minnesota. It was right in the afternoon. I had just walked in the bus after coming in from the mall, and one of my friends from Bayside called me. I just didn’t move. We had been on tour with Hawthorne Heights three times, and Casey — ask anybody who has ever toured with them — was the first one to get off the bus, the first one to hang out with you and the first one to hang out in the backroom. He was just hilarious. Always a kid at heart. Like we would go and find these Kid Robot toys together — those same ones — and stuff like that. He was just the greatest guy. It was so funny because I had just gotten a new phone and, no offense to the rest of the Hawthorne Heights guys, but his was the only number I put right away in my phone. I knew that if I was going to talk to one of them — talk or see where they’re at in the country, like most bands do. Like "Where are you at today?" "Oh, Minnesota." Or wherever. — He was the first one I put in my phone. And I had just gotten the phone like days before. I think everybody’s going to have their own "Casey story." For us, I don’t think anyone else treated the band better, the other bands on tour, even our staff or anything like that. He was definitely the nicest, most friendly, most outgoing guy in Hawthorne Heights, and maybe in the entire music business.
I read your blog from time to time — I try to keep updated on it — and you seem to be pretty knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects. With the New Year approaching, what do you see as the big issues facing not only the music industry aspect but also our country as a whole?
Wow. I mean obviously the elections are coming up. I think that’s one area I’m definitely going to tackle as soon as I process it out and get more data. As far as politics is concerned, I really wish we had an election where you don’t have to choose from the lesser evil. Why can’t you choose for someone that you love and are proud of to have in there? I’m not saying I’m going to enact it, but I’d love a third party, or something like that, so we have a little more of an option. A little more of a choice as far as who we put to represent the most powerful country in the world to go out there, who’s going to take me and you and everybody, go to a different country and speak before thousands of people. It’s just scary. It’s like why we do we have to choose between I hate him and I hate him less, so I’m going to vote for him? I wish it was different. I wish there were two awesome candidates, and you’re biting your nails at the last second at the polls with who you’re going to vote for. So it’s just a concern that is going to face us next year, since we do elect a president in ’08.
As far as the music scene, I think people are, in the next two years — I’d say definitely within the next three years — are going to have to come to terms with themselves and start to either justify, admit or change as far as downloading music illegally. In the beginning, I think we all had the attitude of "Down with the man. Down with the big corporations. If I burn this CD, what does it matter? It’s one CD." Well, now it’s to the point where some people are suggesting that if you’ve sold one CD, there’s three out there that have been burned. That’s great for the consumer, but the problem is that in the end, it’s going to eat them. You’re taking money away from the corporations, which takes money away from the bands, which means they can’t sign as many bands, which means the local band that you start or this other guy starts is not going to get signed. Instead of me being able to sign 30 bands because we’re Tooth & Nail or some indie label or major — I don’t care who you are — we can’t sign 30, we can only sign 10 now because that’s all I have the budget for. So I think that that’s really going to have to be addressed very shortly. With the consumers, it’s like a reality check.
There was a really cool label in the late ‘90s called Deep Elm. They put out a lot of really cool bands like Mineral and Appleseed Cast — a lot of bands like that. I just read an interview where he said the year that burning CDs became — not okay, but you had the accessibility to buy a machine that burns — his sales dropped 50 percent. And that’s why he’s declaring bankruptcy now. He’s like "I’m the little guy. I’m the small guy. I was the one fighting for the consumer, signing these real indie cred bands. I’m not trying to sell them out or anything like that." But he’s like "If I’m closing my doors, it’s going to work its way up." Now it’s going to go to the bigger indies, then it’s going to the massive indies like Vagrant and Tooth & Nail, and then it’s going to climb its way to the majors. I think it’s just crazy. Like when is it going to stop? We have definitely seen it. Our contract, the way that we signed it with Universal, has encompassed so much more of our life besides just our CDs. Now we have to branch out and give them a part of merchandising and live shows…
Part of that 360 thing.
Oh, yeah. And you know what? The consumer doesn’t care. 360 doesn’t mean anything less to them. I just know that at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to suffer, and then we have to work twice as hard. It’s not that any one of us are rich. None of us own a house. I just moved out probably four months ago. I just bought my first car last year in October. This was before Universal, so it wasn’t like we signed and got a million dollars. This is after saving up for all these years. It’s like if this is what’s happening to us, and we’re one of the bigger bands on Tooth & Nail, then what about the little guys? They’re still living with their parents. They’re meagerly getting by. Well, this is going to eat them alive. Now they’re going to have to go get day jobs because their CD can’t get pushed as much, or they may just get dropped. Like before, I think if you don’t sell 15,000 or more than you’re dropped. But now what’s it going to be? 50,000? We can’t afford it. They just can’t afford it.
Do you see bands moving towards self-releasing it on their own?
I mean maybe but… Well? That’s really hard. Sure it’s easy to do. You can all stick it up on iTunes or whatever. You’re going to maintain the audience you have. Let’s say you’re like The Barenaked Ladies or whatever. They did that. I think 3 Doors Down did that, I believe. What happens is you maintain the fan base and then it slowly starts to dwindle and dwindle, like it did for 3 Doors Down and Barenaked Ladies. So you can self-release it, but your album sales are going to slowly dwindle. You can’t be a starting band and self-release it. You’ll gain no new fans. No one will hear of you. iTunes is going to put you out. Best Buy won’t carry you. So sure, you can do it. You can make decent money. But unless you were already selling 10 million records, you’re not going to survive. So something’s going to have to change. I don’t know what it is. I have no suggestions. I really, really don’t.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I think we covered pretty much everything. Maybe the end of the world even. There’s nothing we haven’t, so this was awesome.
|Tags: Anberlin, Anchor & Braille, The Orphaned Anything's, Stephen Christian, Interview