Stephen Christian - Anberlin

March 18, 2006

Tell me a little bit about Anberlin.

We formed in 2003 and in 2003 we got signed. We wrote our record, recorded our record, put out our record, and went on our first tour all in 2003. We were just a whole bunch of guys from central Florida all in different local bands. We wanted to move on seriously. Five of us headed out and here we are today three and a half years later.

Everything has been working out for you guys.

Right, yeah. It really has. It's been like a rollercoaster with obviously ups and downs. Fortunately for us more ups than downs.

You played a show with Atreyu and Hawthorne Heights in L.A. back in February. How did that go?

It went really, really good. We had never played with Atreyu and those guys are really nice. Right after that we went on a tour with Hawthorne Heights and we've been out on tour with them now twice. We've been out with them on the Take Action tour and then just now they did a run and we got to go out with them. It was a lot of fun.

Atreyu is a really good band. I've seen them perform. How is the Tooth And Nail tour going?

Really good. This is only day three but we're all really excited to be hanging out with the Emery guys. They're just some of our best friends as far as bands go. They're just some of our best friends.

I just did an interview with Josh.

Oh, he's the greatest.

You guys have a new record out called Never Take Friendship Personal. Tell me a little about it.

It was recorded with Aaron Sprinkle up in Seattle, WA and I'm so proud of it. There are a lot of variations. You can hear a lot of '80s influences. We don't stray a lot from our first record but definitely you can hear the maturity and it was really interesting that our producer, Aaron Sprinkle, who did both our first and second records had never seen us live on our first record. It was very polished and very pretty. On our second record he had seen us a couple of times and knew what we wanted to do. There was a lot more energy, a lot more power, and a lot more ADHD.

It's a lot more raw sounding.

Yeah, compared to the first one. Oh for sure.

For someone who isn't familiar with your band, what three songs on your record do you think would describe your band?

Wow, that's a good one. I think "Paperthin Hymn" because it's got the amalgamation of the hard and the pop. "A Day Late" because it gives more of the pop sensibility style. And I would say "Dance, Dance, Christa Päffgen" because it gives almost an experimental side of it. It's the last song on the CD. We're going to play it tonight. I'm really excited about it. It should be fun.

You seem very excited.

Oh, yeah. You're doing what you love in life. You can't help but be excited.

I was reading that you guys are described as a Christian band. Is your faith that important to you and does that play a large part in your music?

It's definitely important to us. Our personal philosophies. But I think that's what it is. A personal philosophy. We don't go on stage and yell at people. We don't call ourselves a Christian band because we've toured with everybody from Story Of The Year to My Chemical Romance and we probably wouldn't have gotten those tours. We couldn't do the tours that we are doing if we were a Christian band.

Driving down here, I was wondering why people always want to label people something like that. I think the majority of people who are in any kind of band probably have some religion or other.

Right, it's so funny. Every person has a set of beliefs whether it's them choosing not to believe in something or choosing Hinduism or Buddhism or whatever the religion might be. It's funny that Christianity is singled out but I can see because in the past when you think about Christian music it has been cheesy. Hopefully if there are bands like us and Switchfoot and Emery and other bands like us where some of the members in the band have faith it may change people's minds about that.

I'm Native American and my spirituality lies in that direction. I was wondering if you guys think about other things like love and relationships and stuff like that.

Oh, for sure. I just think about life. That's what it's about. People can connect on that level with you. This album is more interpersonal whereas the first one was more autobiographical. This one is more about relationships whether it's me and my parents or me and my family or me and my friends. Me and God obviously. There's a wide spectrum. It's just not narrow-minded. I'm not out to save the world.

That would be a hard task I think.

Yeah, I'll try my best. I'll get back to you on that one.

Did you guys go through SXSW?

Yeah, that was amazing. I got to meet Wayne Coyne from the Flaming Lips. I was in heaven. Are you kidding me? I was very disappointed that I didn't get to see Morrissey. He was playing at 9:30 and I guess you just had to have every pass in the book and a picture of Morrissey on your chest. Chopped off one arm and sacrificed it to the god of Morrissey. I couldn't get in and I was really bummed because it seems like every time he's out on tour I'm not. One day. One day I have to see Morrissey. It will be a dream come true.

Then I'll see you walking around without an arm.

Yeah, that will be me. Yeah!

I gave an arm for Morrissey.

For Morrissey! You've got to do what you've got to do.

How long has your record been out?

This record has been out for less than a year but as far as indie labels go, really a year is not a long time because you just don't have a lot of exposure. It's not like the first day your record comes out, you're all over MTV and you're all over radio. It took us this long just to be out on the radio. It's just now picking up steam a year later. That's how the indie world works. If you start taking off a little bit, your label is a little more apt to go "let's put you here." We just now got a publicist within the last month and most bands on major labels have them a year before they're even signed. In the wake of indie labels, the album is just now coming to fruition.

Besides that, every little thing that comes along you have to utilize. You could be pushing that record for a long time.

Oh sure, why not? I'm proud of it. It's my intangible art. It feels good that people are still being introduced to it. We're winning over new fans.

What are you guys going to be doing after this tour is over?

After this tour we are going to take a three week break. My brother is getting married and then me and the drummer are going to spend two weeks in Haiti building an orphanage. We're really excited about that. Literally we get home the 29th and then we fly to Canada to start a four week Canada/Northern America run for a month and then that brings us into July. Midway through June we'll do pre-production in Atlanta, GA with Matt Goldman and then we start on our record for July and August. Right after that we are taking off with a band called Copeland to Japan and Australia and New Zealand so we're really excited. It pretty much brings us back up into October. We're pretty much booked until then. I love it. I wouldn't have it any other way. That's my ADHD persona. I'm always doing something. I love it.

That's better than taking drugs. Any other thoughts or comments?

Thank you so much for doing this. I really appreciate it.

Anberlin