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One year ago, almost to the day, I was sitting in my car outside the Granada Theater, trying desperately to get over my nervousness. It was my first interview ever for Hybrid Magazine and it was with Stephen Christian, the lead singer of Anberlin. Well, this year I got the chance to sit down with Stephen again. This time a little less nervous, a little more experienced and a little different side of Anberlin:

Hybrid Magazine: The music in Cities is different than Blueprints & Friendship, which is sometimes common for a band's third album. Do you feel this was the next step in the natural progression of Anberlin?

Stephen: Yes, and I think on many different levels: sonically and lyrically. This one is a much more meaningful record. I think this is the best one we've written so far.

HM: The third album also tends to be a turning point for band in the sense of labels, because the typical contract would be ending. Mae went major after three, so are there plans of Anberlin going major after this?

Stephen: We don't know yet, we haven't decided. I mean Underoath stayed after their contract was up. It's a big debate, we haven't made a decision. There are other offers on the table. Obviously, we love Tooth & Nail, we love the passion, and we love the drive, the friendship. We're trying to weigh out the positives right now.

HM: I noticed that your tour happens to end within a few days of the Tooth & Nail Tour starting. Were two tours just going to be too much?

Stephen: We felt like it was pretty redundant, because of the fact that we've been on every Tooth & Nail Tour ever. This year we felt like we needed to get out of the United States. To get right on the T&N Tour after ours would be suicidal. We need a little break.

HM: From the DVD I noticed that the brains behind the operation seem to be split between you and Joey (bass, backup vocals). Naturally with bands people would assume that it's one person and naturally people would assume it's you. Has it always been a joint effort?

Stephen: Joey doesn't really have a lot of input on the lyrics and such. It just happens that the DVD made it look like that. It was more, any moment of confrontation, "oo tape it." It did make it more fun and interesting. And I am happy; because Joey doesn't get a lot of recognition for what he does do. He more just becomes a [giver of] positive criticism for me.

HM: You have all these thoughts and ideas both collectively and your own. But they obviously can't all make it on the album. What happens to the others?

Stephen: We had four songs that didn't make the cut on this one. We put one, "Haunting", on our iTunes for the pre-release. And one on the Special Edition. So they appear in different locations, like comps and stuff. We release the Special Edition right off the bat, let our audience decide. Either have the DVD or we made the other as cheap as possible, so everyone could get it.

HM: How has the industry accepted the third album? Any better than Friendship?

Stephen: Absolutely better. Sales, news, and opportunities across the board have been amazing. I'm very excited about how it's turned out. People have just embraced it with open arms. We were the only band ever from T&N to play a Late Show, which was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

HM: Is there anything in Anberlin's future that you're excited about?

Stephen: Right after we get home from Canada, we fly out to Sweden to start doing a video for "Godspeed." That will be in coordination with hopefully trying to get a song on the radio. So we'll see if that works out.

In a year, Stephen hadn't really changed. He was still so nice and kind and easy to talk to. Minus the bad weather it was just as amazing as the year before. This is a very exciting time for Anberlin, it's almost a make it or break it turning point. Can they get on the radio? Can they get on MTV? From what I've seen of their incredible music, I have no doubt that they will go as high as they want. Cities is an experience, just as their concert was. I encourage everyone to check it out.

-Rachel Fredrickson

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