An Interview with Silverstein: Rediscovering The Waterfront

Within recent years, we’ve started to see many nostalgically influential albums turn 10 years old. From a personal standpoint, it’s pretty crazy to see how quickly time can fly, especially within the blink of an eye for the musicians who’ve crafted together some of most boldly genuine songs that have not only shaped our angst-ridden, teenage years, but also who we’ve grown up to become today.

This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Silverstein’s iconic post-hardcore masterpiece, Discovering The Waterfront. While stand-alone singles like “Smile In Your Sleep” and “My Heroine” definitely received a lot of extensive airplay in my younger years, resonating deep cuts like “Defend You” and “Call It Karma” truly captured the heartfelt intensity and brutal honesty that is conveyed through their humbling, emotive hardcore roots. While the band continued to stay consistent over time, there is no doubt that the impact of Discovering The Waterfront still holds true after all of these years.

Just moments before the band got on stage at the London Music Hall in Ontario to begin the first night of the Discovering The Waterfront 10-Year Anniversary Tour, I had the chance to talk with leading frontman, Shane Told, about the things he is looking forward to the most about this tour, the celebration of Discovering The Waterfront, and also some deep insight on the release of their forthcoming eighth studio album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch.

Tonight, you’ll be starting up your 10-year anniversary tour for Discovering The Waterfront in Ontario. What will you be looking forward to the most?

It feels good, we’re ready to get it started up. To be honest, if you’re going to ask me what I am looking forward to the most today, I think it is just to know that we can pull off the first show and it’s all done. There’s been a lot of work and a lot of preparation getting everything ready for this tour. It feels good, I am excited that it’s all here now. You know, we’re just a couple of hours from being on stage and playing the jams.

With the many list of 10-year tours and reunions that I’ve seen live recently, I’d like to think of these kinds of tours as celebrating the past. While you were practicing and rehearsing for this upcoming tour, did these songs off of Discovering The Waterfront still feel as fresh and exciting as they did when you first started working on the record?

You know, yeah, and actually, in some cases, maybe even fresher. We play quite a few of these songs in our regular… kind-of setlist. But there’s a few of them—three or four of these songs—that we haven’t played in years, and playing some of those again, it was actually really fun. Some of them, I was like, “Man, this song is actually pretty good.” So it was cool to look back on it, you know?

I think it’s going to be cool when we’re going to be on stage playing these songs. A lot of people will remember where we were 10 years ago when we first started working on these songs, so it will just be a real nostalgic event for everybody. I think it could get pretty emotional for some people and for us too. And you know… you’re right, I think “celebration” is the right word. That’s totally why we’re doing it—to celebrate our most popular album and also to kind of just give back to the fans and thank them for 10 years of… well, 15 years as a band and 10 years of support for this album.

We’ve seen many albums turn 10 years old this year. For example, Senses Fail just went on tour in support of Let It Enfold You last year. Underoath put out Reinveting The Exit 10 years ago last year, and also Say Anything with Is A Real Boy. With the memorable list of albums that just turned 10 years old recently, how does Discovering The Waterfront compare or even stand out, considering what bands were blowing up and getting huge in the scene back then?

            Yeah, I think you definitely named a bunch of classic records in our world and in our “scene,” or whatever you want to call it. And I think our record would be ranked up there right on par, you know?

We’ve continued to do this because we’ve been a full-time band for the last 10 years and it’s been a good ride for us. We’ve stayed together—you know, some of those bands you mentioned, like Underoath, is broken up. But I think our record still holds up and I think it’s case in point that we’re doing this tour and having… A lot of the shows are already sold out and in some really big venues and people are already excited about it. I think the proof is the pudding right there.

How long has tour been in the works?

            Actually, how this all came about basically when we were doing… Well, in 2013, our first record, When Broken Is Easily Fixed, had come out 10 years prior and we wanted to do something to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of that. We talked about doing a “mini-tour” or doing something along those lines, but the timing was just not really right for that.

So, what we decided to do was, we recorded “Smashing To Pieces,” the first track on that, we re-recorded the song and we gave it away to our fans for free. And that was kind of like, “Here you go… here’s our 10-year celebration of that.” And we started thinking about, “Oh, well, Discovering The Waterfront is our ‘most popular’ album and our ‘most loved’ album. Maybe we should think about doing something else because that’s going to be coming up in two years.”

When we thought about it, it made a lot of sense to do this tour at this time, you know, right after finishing recording a new album. Our last album has been out for two years now, so it made a lot of sense to do this at the end of the “record cycle.” You know, have a little celebration and also be able to let everyone know that we have this album coming out in May and be able to play some new songs for people. So timing-wise, it just worked out really well.

I know you actually released a cover of Lifetime’s “Rodeo Clown” on the reissue of Discovering The Waterfront. Any chance you will break out this cover on any of the East Coast dates on this tour?

            Oh, I see… Are you one of “Jersey’s Best Dancers” there? (laughs) Yeah, you know what’s funny about that is we were practicing for the tour; we practiced all of the songs and somebody hit me up on Twitter and was like, “What about ‘Rodeo Clown’?” And I was like, “Holy shit, I forgot that was like, on the record as a bonus track on the reissue.” So, we haven’t practiced that one yet—we’re planning on doing it. But maybe once the tour goes on, maybe we’ll see if we can squeeze it on some of the shows on the East Coast. Yeah, like maybe around Philly or in New York, maybe it would be appropriate to do it.

You just announced that you’re planning to release your eighth studio album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, in May. What are you looking forward to about putting out this record the most?

            Well, first of all, the record came out just great. It’s exactly the kind of record that we want it to be. I think every song is in the exact right spot. And I think this record is different enough, progressing forward, but still, people are going to know that it’s a Silverstein record, so we’re just really excited about it.

It just feels really good to be making some of the best music in our career, you know, 15 years into it. I think that’s rare; I think that we’re really proud we can continue to do that. I just wish that May would get here already so the record can come out, man.

Musically and lyrically, how does this new record compare to your last studio effort, This Is How The Wind Shifts? Were there a lot of different concepts and ideas you had in mind for this release specifically when you first began the writing process?

            Well, in some ways yes and some ways no. I’d say that with the last record, it was a collection of short stories and they were all very much about other people and other things, and it was very fictional… the way I wrote it. There was only really one song that you could kind of say was “autobiographical,” whereas this record is completely autobiographical. It’s a lot more personal, it’s a lot more where it hits for me. To me, I think it’s a lot more of a “sad” record and it’s just a record that has a lot of… I don’t know, it’s just really hard to put the right words together. Especially since like, this is one of the first interviews where I’ve talked about it.

It’s hard to piece it all [together], you know? It started out as, “Okay, I’m going to write this record and I am going to take myself out of the equation and I am just going to write these songs.” And the more and more I wrote, the more I found that there were these pieces of me and in my life just kind of creeping into it. And by the end of it, I was like, “Well, I guess I am really putting myself out there this time.” So, for me it became a really personal record and at the same time, you know, it’s a very sad record. It has a lot of emotion into it and I don’t know… I mean, I can’t wait for everyone to hear it because I think the record came out awesome, but for me, it definitely hit some nerves.

That really just goes to show how much of a powerful tool music can be to kind of help vent out things and also let go of everything and eventually things will make sense.

            You’re right man, it’s wild. Sometimes, I’ll write something down and kind of not realize I felt that way until I wrote it down, you know what I mean? It’s really interesting how writing, and music, and art, can give you this expression you never knew you really had in you.

I definitely do agree, that is very, very truthful and honest to put it in that way.
Yeah well, you know, the world and society is like… everyone is always… you’re taught at a younger age to “watch your manners”—and you’re supposed to put things kind of where you’re not supposed to “show your hand,” you know? Everyone is supposed to walk around society with this sort of stoic face… Like, if someone smiles at someone, it’s like, “Why are you smiling at me? That’s weird.” Like, well, that’s life—that’s how people are supposed to really feel. So, I think that is so important about having art in your life; you know, it really is the “realness” coming out of people.


Silverstein will be playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Feb. 20 and at Webster Hall in Manhattan on Feb. 21. Silverstein’s eighth studio album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, will be released May 19 through Rise Records. For more information, go to