Anberlin's guitarist, Christian McAlhaney, agreed to answer a couple of questions about their recently started tour with Circa Survive and Foxy Shazam, their newest record Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place, future plans for Anberlin, and several other topics. Check it out after the jump.
Dark Is The Way, Light Is a Place was just released a few months ago. How do you think the reception has been to the album?
It's been amazing. Across the board, from mass media to fans, the response has been very positive.
One big thing about the album is that many of the songs have somewhat repetitive lyrics. Is that something that just happened, or was it kind of planned for that sort of feel to the songs?
Thats a better question for Stephen, as he is the primary lyric and melody writer. It definitely wasn't discussed or planned out as a band.
You guys have been around for a long time, releasing five full length albums on different labels. Has the process behind writing and recording the album changed as time goes on?
I can only speak for the albums that I've been involved with, which have been New Surrender and Dark Is The Way. Those albums have mostly been a collaboration of ideas from almost every member of the band, the majority coming from Joey, Stephen, and I. I've heard, that before I joined, the majority of the writing was done between Joey and Stephen. The recording process changes from producer to producer, depending on their producing style and how they like to go about things and get things done.
Have you reached a point which the band is comfortable with the style of music and feel you have found your niche?
I think being comfortable in anything in life can be a dangerous thing. As artists I don't think you should ever be "comfortable". I think you constantly be pushing yourself, trying new things, searching out new music, and evolving. The face of music is constantly changing, and there are a lot of artists in a lot of different genres doing new and amazing things. I think sticking to a "sound" and finding your "niche" can cause your songs to sound dated. You never want to put the same album out twice.
What is your favorite Anberlin record?
Dark Is The Way because it's the newest and freshest in my mind. I was burrowed so deeply in the whole process of writing and recording it takes a while to dig your way out and separate yourself from it. Also, the process of this record was as close to my ideal of five guys being completely open and honest and really coming together creatively towards a very specified goal. Ask me the same question six months from now and the answer might be different.
Do you believe that some times illegal downloading may actually be helpful to the band?
It's hard to admit that anything good can come from people stealing something from me, but at the moment I do think that there is a cherry on top of the turd of illegal downloading. I don't think people realize how much the deck is stacked against rock bands these days. People aren't buying records, no one listens to the radio, music television is dead, and, obviously, because of the economy, concert tickets have dropped. I think that all of these factors are forcing bands to be smarter in there business and more creative with their music. You can't just pull out your old tricks and expect the same results. I also think that the internet has made it easier for bands to reach everyone on the planet with an internet connection and take their business globally.
You guys are about to go on tour with Circa Survive and Foxy Shazam. How did this tour come together?
We've talked to Circa for a few years about touring and the timing just never really worked out. I think either our Circa or our booking agent mentioned Foxy and we all really liked the idea.
The tour is fairly short, lasting only about two weeks, only staying on the east side of the US. Why was this decided on?
Good question. I think its mostly because we are going overseas for about a month, which is a long time, in late Feb. and we requested some time off before that tour.
Is there a plan to play any songs that either haven’t been played before or have been played very rarely?
I think we'll mostly be playing songs that we played on our fall tour with Civil Twilight and Crash Kings. The holidays made it difficult for us to practice and put a new set list together.
Do you prefer to play in larger, arena like settings or smaller, more intimate venues and why?
I like both. Playing in the larger venues means that we're playing in front of a lot of new people, if we are opening for a larger act, or a lot of new fans, if we are headlining, which means that our fan base is growing. I also like the intimacy of smaller venues, the intensity, the heat, everybody sweating all over everybody else.
What does Anberlin have in store for us all in 2011 and beyond?
Lots of touring all over the world and eventually another record.
I thank Christian for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer these questions. The band is incredible live, and is definitely worth seeing on their upcoming tours. All the tour dates and other information is on Anberlin's website here.