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
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
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
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
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.
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