The front man of the Canadian post-hardcore outfit Silverstein has never quite experienced the true meaning of “time off” when it comes to his music. In fact, Shane Told, who has fronted Silverstein since they first started playing almost a decade ago, says he’s always touring or about to tour and can’t imagine life any other way. “I think if we toured like a normal band and then started doing this, we’d probably go crazy. It’s a weird life. I’m just constantly waiting for the next tour. I’ve never been at home not knowing the next time I was going to leave. That’s never happened,” he explains.
In keeping with the band’s strong affinity for constantly taking their music to different cities, Told spoke to The Aquarian on the phone from Florida just hours before a gig. Over the last month, the band has been touring in support of its fourth delivery, A Shipwreck In The Sand, and is set to join other headlining acts on the second day of Bamboozle. Nearly ten years on, Silverstein has seen a lot, and Told opened up about the good times, the bad times, and about how the quintet keeps up its creativity in an effort to keep moving forward.
Rumor has it you guys don’t like being labeled as a screamo band. Is that true?
I can’t speak for the other four members of my band but I’m not going to say I love it—I don’t really care, I don’t know. The genre has—since I was a kid, listening to screamo 10 years ago or more—the definition has definitely changed. That’s kind of why the term bothers us. It’s like anything—when I was a kid, emo was kind of hardcore punk rock music. There was nothing mainstream about it, and then Dashboard Confessional came out, and The Ataris came out, and people started labeling them emo, and it got big in the mainstream and it’s bastardised by the media calling bands emo or screamo when they’re really not.
You guys are turning 10 next year. Did you think you would make it this far when you started out?
God no. When we started the band we didn’t even know if we would ever play a show or go on tour. We never thought about that stuff. We started the band just for fun, as a side project, for something to do. It wasn’t any more than that, but it’s been a wild ride.
What do you think has been the key to your success, because a decade is a pretty decent amount of time to survive?
It’s been a very slow progression. It hasn’t been an overnight success. It hasn’t been one song blowing up on the radio, or all this press, that never really happened. If you looked at a graph it would be a straight line at 45 degrees. That’s how our success has been.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?
We didn’t know anything about the music industry when we started. We didn’t know even really what a producer did, or a booking agent, or anything like that. We were just dumb kids and we thought, ‘Okay, you make a demo and you get signed like in the movies, and once you’re signed then you don’t have to worry about anything, you’re taken care of.’
We realized at an early point in our career that if you want to do something right, you should do it yourselves, and trust yourself to do it. So we were self-managed for the first 100,000 to 150,000 records we sold. And we learned a lot through that.