After 15 years, Silverstein
has become a staple on the post-hardcore scene. Named after children’s author Shel Silverstein, the Ontario fivesome had a breakthrough with 2005’s Discovering the Waterfront
, an accessible album that cracked the Billboard 200 the first week of its release. Songs such as “My Dagger Versus Your Sword” and “Already Dead” have pop melodies at their core while tracks such as “Smile Your Sleep” feature a balance of screaming and singing. Bassist Billy Hamilton recently phoned to talk about the band’s current tour that celebrates the album’s tenth anniversary.
What has it been like to go back to Discovering the Waterfront?
It’s been really great. There are four or five songs on that record that have been staples in our set the entire time. Revisiting the other seven songs has been the most rewarding. It’s interesting to think about where we were at the time. Some of them have strange structures. It’s been fun to revisit and have that portal into the past.
It was initially seen as a musical departure for the band. Did you think of it like that at the time?
I don’t think so. We never really discussed that at all. The previous album, When Broken is Easily Fixed,
was very disjointed. Some of those songs were three years old. We took demos we had from self-released EPs and wrote a couple more songs and called it a record. Discovering the Waterfront
was the first time we could put together a whole album as a complete album. We tracked the drums at Capitol studios. I think it was the first complete thing we were able to do.
You recorded it with Cameron Webb. What did he bring to the album?
He’s most known for producing Motorhead. He produced the last five or six Motorhead records. He’s also done some cool California hardcore and more obscure emo records. He did a record with this band Park that we really liked. He did a record with Ignite and we thought it was the band’s best record. When we were trying to figure out where to record, we had met with big producers. We met with David Bendeth who has done Paramore. He’s a huge name now. He had done Breaking Benjamin at the time. We didn’t know if we needed to work with a big radio producer. We got into the stages of talking with him and it all fell apart. We were on tour in the UK with Underoath and the British band the Hurt Process. The Hurt Process had recorded with him and they really liked him. It all fell together quickly and it meshed really well. It was really unexpected.
Was it the first time you used strings?
Having a violin was a really early thing for the band. A friends’ sister played on our self-released EPs. There was a point when we signed to Victory that we thought about getting a full-time violin player. There were old hardcore emo bands that had violin. [The band] Fortress had a violin. Even those early Jimmy Eat World albums like Clarity
have strings. That was a big influence on us.
You put the album out on Victory. Did you have a good relationship with the label?
Absolutely. When we met with [owner] Tony [Brummel], we got a phone call from him out of nowhere. We were friends with Grade, who were on Victory. They put in a good word for us. The next thing you knew, he flew out to Toronto. He was very involved with the band. He was very hands on and a big supporter. When we were recording the album, he was our best friend.
When you first joined the band, did you think it would be around 15 years later?
No. I didn’t even think we’d be around 10 years after Discovering the Waterfront
. When we started the band, we all had bands that were more popular. Silverstein was a side thing. Eventually, Silverstein started playing more shows and those other bands fell apart. People started going to school and they had other bands that were going. It just took precedence.
You have a new album coming in May. What can you tell us about it?
We had planned the timing for it to be ready before this tour. A lot of the bands go on the nostalgic anniversary tour and it’s a big boost then they go away for a year to make a new record and then no one is paying attention. We did it over the course of the fall and wrapped before Christmas. It won’t be out until May after our European tour. We’ll be touring for the rest of the year in support of it. We’re all super stoked on it. It’s our favorite record. We’re really happy with how the songs turned out. The songs are all awesome. It’s the logical progression.
Did you do anything different with it?
It’s nothing drastic. There are cool sonic things. There’s a concept and a theme that goes through all the record. I don’t want to spoil it too much. Every song has sonic Easter egg. That was a cool thing for us to do. We tried some new things with sounds and tones in the studio. There’s a dueling drum part. If people are familiar with our last record, This is How the Wind Shifts
, this is a step forward from there but not too far off from Discovering the Waterfront
, especially now that we’ve revisited these songs and there’s more influence from that album on the new one.
So you’ll play Waterfront in its entirety?
We come out and play almost a full set I’d say. We play a good 10 songs and then we finish the set with the entirety of Discovering the Waterfront.
Silverstein, Beartooth, Hands Like Houses, My Iron Lung, Major League, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, House of Blues, 308 Euclid Ave., 216-523-2583. Tickets: $18 ADV, $22 DOS, houseofblues.com.