Guitarist Christian McAlhaney discusses Anberlinís latest album Vital, major label troubles, the past and future of Acceptance, and reuniting with producer Aaron Sprinkle.
"I can probably say that this will be our last record on Universal. It was great, but major labels are always struggling. Theyíre polishing the brass on the Titanic. We had a good run, for sure, but there was always the risk of getting the major label rigmarole. Itís always about the profit. Itís always about the top dollar and whatís happening now, which is why every label is signing a bunch of bands that sound like Mumford & Sons. We released a super heavy rock record, but whatever. Theyíve been good to us and breathed some good life into our career."
Guitarist Jack Antonoff talks about the bandís big Grammy night, playing larger venues, the status of Steel Train and whatís next for fun.
"Thereís a lot of stuff weíve done this year and weíve gotten really good at just shutting off. Thereís some things that are too big to even think about, and you get to the point in your head where all you can think about while youíre up there is when you used to do really small shows. Now itís the Grammys, but itís still the same thing. The environment is the same. Itís the same emotions. I play guitar the same way, Nate sings the same way, so itís really important in those moments to treat it no different than like playing a club show."
Composer Nathan Johnson talks about creating Looperís score, his nontraditional approach to recording and arranging instruments, his musical background, and working with his cousin, director Rian Johnson.
"I love jumping around between genres, but there is something about my aesthetic sensibility that always draws me to unique instruments and nontraditional approaches to things. Even when weíre using an orchestra or traditional instruments, Iím exploring different ways to play them or different ways to record them."
Vocalist Dan Reynolds talks about making the bandís first full-length Night Visions, the difficulty selecting the tracks and finding inspiration in dreams.
"You know when you have a dream you wake up with and itís so real it takes you 20 minutes to understand reality again? I swear I have those dreams all the time. Very often, especially on a good number of songs on this album, I ended up using nightmares I had had or recurring dreams."
Stephen Christian talks about the fragmented process of making The Quiet Life, getting back to a family vibe, the instability of being a musician and what to expect on Anberlinís next album.
"Anchor & Braille is why I got into music in the first place. Do what you love and love what you do. Write for the sake of music. Donít write for anyone else, just write to write. At the end of the day, youíre the one who has to live the rest of your life within those records. Everybody else will buy it and like it, or hate it or whatever the case may be. Theyíll find a new band, but you are going to be living with these records for the rest of your life. Just to feel free and liberating in the writing process and the performing process, thatís what Anchor & Braille has taught me, to live comfortably within the music that you write."
Florence Welch chats about resolving what was started on Lungs with Ceremonials, singing to give something reverence and whatís it like to be a semi-celebrity.
"I like writing songs that feel like they could have been written at any point in time, but then itís good to mix up mundane with the big stuff. Iím obsessed with the idea that just to sing something is to give something reverence. To me, itís not the typical idea of what is revered or what is sacred. To sing about something completely mundane, you give it this power... You can make a shrine of anything."
Mike Shinoda discusses the detailed process behind Living Things, building songs out of Legos, and bridging the gap between the old and new styles of the band.
"Minutes to Midnight was like taking a step outside the house, A Thousand Suns was just running off and leaving. With the new record, with Living Things, I feel like we had come back from those experiences and it felt comfortable with our band. We felt comfortable with ourselves. When I brought in demos that had that Linkin Park flavor again, the guys were excited about developing those and doing their things with them. Thatís kind of how this album came together. We made an effort to bridge the gap between the old and the new styles of the band, and even pull that into the future."
Frontman Tim Skipper discusses why House of Heroes new record Cold Hard Want comes from a desperate place, trying to write massive-sounding moments and staying true to who you are.
"Weíd love to do this full time. Weíd love to be the most successful band in the world, I donít think anybody wouldnít love that, but if we have to do that at the expense of making compromise after compromise and not being true to who we are, then itís not worth it to us. Thatís us making peace with we gave it our best. If it works, awesome. If it doesnít, awesome. Weíve got seriously a lifetime full of stories in the 10 years weíve been House of Heroes, and thatís fine. Iíll take that any day."
Frontman Justin Pierre discusses the different ideas the band pursued when writing Go, being obsessed with mortality and how his dark past continues to play a role in his lyrics.
"Through the last couple of years Iíve noticed this shift with all of my friends getting married and growing up. People are having kids, parents are becoming grandparents, people are dying. I hadnít really noticed that being drunk or whatever for so many years. Then suddenly it was like, 'Whoa, I graduated high school almost 20 years ago. Thatís crazy. What happened? This is really fast.' I think Iíve just really been obsessed with that throughout the writing of this record in particular, so almost every song has some form of that in it, in one way or another."
Vocalist/guitarist Nanna BryndŪs Hilmarsdůttir talks about the bandís debut album My Head is an Animal, her love of storytelling and the Icelandic music scene.
"A lot of Icelandic people at first when they heard of us were like, 'Oh, this is an American band.' They didnít know we were Icelandic. Weíre not very Icelandic, but I donít really know what would be typical Icelandic."
Guitarist Eli Maiman chats about recording the bandís major label debut, whatís it like releasing a record on your own, and the up and coming Cincinnati music scene.
"When youíre in a band, things move real, real slow for a real long time. For us, there was one catalyzing event, which was putting out the 'Anna Sun' video. Since then, things have moved exponentially faster... That ended up being the best business card we could ever have."
Frontman Aaron Weiss talks about the unique concept behind Ten Stories, the influence of faith on his lyrics, and mewithoutYouís past/future.
"Something about selling tickets or CDís to hear someone sing about 'God' seems pretty off-point to me now. This has always been a muddled region to me, and I've always been conflicted about it. Itís only been recently that Iíve been able to stop trying to reconcile the two, and say plainly that I enjoy playing music for my own sake, for selfish reasons, and that as far as I know it has nothing at all to do with God. Iím not proud of the state Iím in, not proud of my ego-motivations or desire for approval. But it is a relief to not feel the need to pretend to be something Iím not, to parade myself as any kind of teacher or as righteous or holy in any way. I do want to be those things, but the more I examine my own thoughts, the further I feel from the ideals Iíve long been preaching about."
Guitarist Mike Kennerty chats about the different cohesion behind the bandís latest record Kids in the Street, having to restart things with every release and maintaining passion for music.
"Pop radio is literally just pop music now. Thereís no guitars to be found, so we kind of saw that coming. Itís a different place and we made a different record. Itís not like a singles record, itís actually a record. That was our concentration from when we were recording. We knew we were making a fucking record. Fuck the normal system of singles and all that stuff. Obviously, itís going to get worked by the label, but we wanted to make something we were proud of as a record, first and foremost, and we did that."
Keyboardist Joe Lester talks about the direction Silversun Pickups took on new album Neck of the Woods, its psychological underpinnings, writing longer songs and why thereís no bonus to being on a major label.
"With Dangerbird, thereís, like, eight people that work there. Itís six blocks from my house, so if thereís a problem I can just walk down and talk to them about it. I canít really imagine a better situation for wanting to put out a record and then go about doing it. Why the fuck would we go with a major label? Our record isnít going to sell 800,000 copies in the first week, and weíd just get buried by whatever the next crappy pop band is. We have everything we need from a small label. Itís not like thereís these crazy deals you hear about, like R.E.M. getting $90 million for 16 records or something ridiculous. They donít even do that anymore, so we couldnít even be assholes and take a bunch of money. Thatís not even there, so what do they have to offer?"
Greg Laswell discusses his latest album Landline, the desire to break away from writing sad songs, marriage with Ingrid Michaelson and not having a career backup plan.
"In interviews people ask me, 'What advice would you give to another singer-songwriter, or another artist, or whatever?' Itís always if you have a plan B, then thatís a pretty good indicator you should probably go ahead and skip to that and do that instead. It really does take a lot. It takes everything you have to do this sort of thing. I never really had one. It was always music or bust. It allows you to have those huge, catastrophic failures, but you donít have the choice of walking away from it. You have to get back up and you have to keep trying. Whereas if you do have another option, itís after those failures that youíre going to go to whatís next on your list. It was always in my plan to either be a producer, or score for films and television, or actually be a singer and play live shows. It was always in music. There was never any other thing I was going to try to do."