“Maybe for the first time ever, we are doing what we want and not worrying about it, and it’s changing how we view music as a whole”
Anberlin recently released a new EP called ‘Silverline’, their first new music since 2014’s ‘Lowborn’ and also since their reunion in 2018.
A collection of songs born out of simply enjoying being back in the same headspace together, it is a sign of things to come for the band as much as picking up where they left off. Experimenting with new creative pools whilst keeping the heartfelt, passionate and rousing core of what has made the band such a scene staple for the past two decades, it is as exciting as it is extraordinary.
To find out a bit more about how we reached this spot, we had a catch up with drummer Nathan Young…
How does it feel to have Anberlin back in your lives?
“We’re very thankful that being back in this way is fun and that we can have that fun on our terms. Being able to relive the old stuff but also feel the progression that’s all we ever wanted. We wanted people to understand where we are coming from and also want to continue on this journey with us in this way. So many bands have broken up, come back and done the whole thing, so we aren’t an exception in any way. But hopefully, the way we are playing and writing shows that this was such a shock to us as it was to anybody else. But maybe for the first time ever, we are doing what we want and not worrying about it, and it’s changing how we view music as a whole.”
You never know what the result of the conversations, practices, and jam sessions will be when you first step back into the world you had once built. What was it like for you guys? Was it like picking up where you left off, or did it feel different?
“It was such a strange thing. That feeling of deciding that we were doing it and that we were actually going to give it a go without knowing what it looked like. It’s an experience we had never felt before. I’m very thankful for the career we had already had and the things that it allowed us to do, but this was something completely different. Every time we did something, we were aware of how special it was to be able to do it whilst coming up. And it felt like by the end we had experienced everything we could as a band, so going aware for five years and coming back was the chance for something completely new to take place. Playing shows again, writing music again. We have all grown so much in those five years, so all of the new feelings we were having were incredibly unique.”
There’s also a case for you where people have a confident expectation when a band comes back. But you are the ones who have the power to change those expectations because you can be anything that you want to be and not be held back by your past…
“It’s so true. In your time, you work with some many different labels and producers and engineers and everybody in-between. But with this being the first time that we do everything our own way, we realise that we don’t have to do anything we don’t want to. For example, producing these new songs ourselves and not having anybody around us tell us what was right and wrong felt brand new and unique in ways we hadn’t felt before. It’s a cool thing to be able to write the playbook exactly how we see it, and being in a band before, we were always made to believe that we were always in that control. But you realise just how few of the calls you think you are making are actually down to you.”
In terms of the new songs you have worked on, you can feel the life that has been lived between the band’s two chapters. What were the things you felt you gained from writing Anberlin-based music in this way?
“When we first came back and played our first few shows, we didn’t really know what the plan was beyond doing a bit of touring. It was about seeing what happens. 2020 happened, and we had to get a bit more creative about what we wanted to do with livestreams and such. That’s when the conversation cropped up about if we wanted to do new music, and the result was that if the songs were there and it meant doing something cool, then we should explore it. We didn’t have to do that or talk about that. So we started messing around, and we were all very open to what could come out. Nothing was ever off the table when we would right, but this felt a bit different. It went from being just ideas to the real thing when we got into the studio. The emotions of feeling like we had something real, and that something feeling exciting. My biggest concern was that people were going to think that we tried to progress too far from what Anberlin was or that we had rehashed some old demos. I’m glad we were able to show that neither side of that was the case.”
The thing is that you have a group of people who will support you through thick and thin, and that’s something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Yet when you realise that there is over two decades of support for this band, it must make trying new things easier…
“We have thought about that so much. We have the best fans who have stayed with us for so long, and I always daydreamed of what they would think when they heard these songs. We know many of those fans by name and by face, they have become such close friends for us over the years. We feel our fans that have been around forever would like whatever we put out, but we wanted to make the whole experience exciting for them. For them to feel the emotion we were feeling whilst making them is so important to us. We wouldn’t be here doing this without them, so they deserve to feel like we aren’t breaking their trust.”
So what does it mean to be in a position like this where the band can once again be such a big part of your life but most importantly on these terms?
“If you had told me back when we broke up that what we are doing now would be our reality almost a decade later, it wouldn’t have felt real. It’s strange in a lot of ways. It’s a unique feeling and something that I never considered part of the mix of things that now make up my life. There are good and bad parts about it, to be honest, and the balance is difficult because it is not full-time. But getting together, hanging out, playing shows, they are reminders of how much of a blessing it is to be able to do this. We never thought we would play another show again, so I’m so thankful we can do what we do.”