INTERVIEW: Silverstein

Published in The Music (WA, QLD, NSW) and on, Apr-May 2015



Celebrating the tenth anniversary of their second album, Silverstein drummer Paul Koehler tells Daniel Cribb its release not only changed their lives, but an entire scene.

Canadian post-punk/emo outfit Silverstein may be eight albums into their career and showing no signs of slowing down, but had it not been for the almost perfect storm surrounding the release of their second album, Discovering The Waterfront, back in 2005, the band mightn’t have made it this far. “We’d never done anything like that,” drummer Paul Koehler admits of the album.

With some of the band still teenagers at that point, Silverstein wrote the classic album in a basement, but, unlike their debut album, When Broken Is Easily Fixed, they then flew to California to record in the world class studios they lived out of at the time. “I remember wrapping the recording, immediately flying back home, jumping back in the van and on tour with Fall Out Boy. And it was just when they were starting to really take off.

“It was just a totally different experience and we were kind of in this bubble; we didn’t realise how important this was going to become. I think not realising that made it a lot less stressful. So we were just kind of young, naive kids just having fun, you know?”

You’ll often hear of bands looking back at music and lyrics from their teens and cringing at some of it, but when Silverstein went back to revisit the songs from Discovering The Waterfront for a worldwide anniversary tour, that wasn’t the case. “We love everything that we’ve done and most of the songs we wrote – we’ve recorded over a hundred of them now and most of them we love. There’s nothing we despise and that’s why we still like playing them and it’s fun to rotate the set and play different stuff every time.”

Not wanting the tour to transform them into a nostalgia act, they ensured it also tied in with the release of a new album.  “I’d say it’s a continuation of [2013’s This Is How the Wind Shifts], but it’s a lot darker; the songwriting has yet again expanded,” Koehler explains of their eighth studio album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch.

“The riffs are more intricate, and the heavy parts are heavier and the melodic parts are more melodic, so it’s really pulled in every direction. We’re just really excited about it. I think it’s absolutely some of our best songs that we’ve ever written.”

The expansion of sound can be attributed in part to guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau, who signed up in 2012. “We knew we that wanted to have a new album recorded before [the tour] because it was all about looking forward while celebrating the past… I think we became very self-aware of what we have done. And I think it’s just good.

“As an artist you can get lost – especially if you get a couple records in – and you’re just looking ahead. It’s nice to kind of look around you and see why you’ve gotten to where you are today and what an important part of what your success is.”