Anberlin are a band that hold a special place in the heart with many music fans. The pop-rock stylings of the Florida five-piece have become the soundtrack to many people’s lives detailing the trials and tribulations of life, the mistakes we make, the heart break that occurs and the moments that make you smile forever. Their upcoming tour that kicks off at the end of the month marks the bands fourteenth trip to Australia and comes as an exciting welcome back after they said goodbye to the world at a huge farewell show at the House Of Blues in 2014. But after a five year hiatus they are back. Well, kind of. Don’t expect any new music anytime soon but the band are enjoying just playing live shows again and giving the fans all the songs they want to hear without having to push any new material. And their fans couldn’t be more excited as they embrace these reunion shows with tickets to these special shows selling VERY fast.
I recently chatted to lead vocalist Stephen Christian about the feelings that surrounded his return to the microphone, the vulnerability and impact Anberlin’s music has had and reminisced about the bands first ever tour of Australia. Check out the chat HERE;
TB: This will be your fourteenth time touring Australia, so reflecting on that first ever time to our country, what memory still stands out to you?
SC: Our first show in Australia was actually in Adelaide. So when we landed remember that we are from a really small town in central Florida so when our promoter greeted us and was like “the show is sold out”, we couldn’t believe it. It blew our minds that five kids from a small town had travelled halfway across the world and suddenly there was not only a show for us to play but a sold out one. People were screaming along to every word and it felt completely surreal. So that memory will always be a special one to me. Obviously seeing Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane for the first time was great too because it’s so beautiful over there, but landing to find out the news that your first Australian show had sold out was something else like from a fairy tale.
TB: It must be such an incredible feeling being able to come back to Australia for a fourteenth time after such a long break too…
SC: I cant believe that we have been able to come to Australia fourteen times. I figured out the other day that we’ve spent 4 and a half months of our lives touring Australia. That is incredible man! Like that to me is absolutely amazing.
TB: Anberlin’s first shows back after the break up were with Underoath last year. How did it feel getting back behind the microphone with the band after so long?
SC: It was odd man, I’m not going to lie. It was so cool because it felt like a habit I was picking up again. I didn’t have to re-learn any lyrics or anything like that, everything was right there. The biggest thing that I took away from that show was that people still cared. There were fans who had traveled from Singapore, Australia and Europe just to come see that one show. We honestly didn’t think anyone would care after five years, so we were doing it more for just us but we were wrong. It was a mammoth show, so unreal.
TB: What song took the longest to remember or get the groove back for?
SC: I don’t think there was any song in particular that took the longest to remember. It was more like finding a treasure and burying it only where you can find it and pulling it out and it’s still as incredible as you remember. It was seamless. The only thing that overwhelmed us slightly from coming back was the excitement of everyone because we didn’t expect it.
TB: On this tour you’ll be performing songs from Never Take Friendship Personal and Cities, plus some other fan favourites. What songs are you most looking forward to playing again?
SC: The song that the crowd loses their voices to! Because that is what this all about. It’s about playing the songs that the fans love. We aren’t here to push a new record, this is not the comeback trail, this is not like that at all. We are just like “let’s go have the best time” and that included coming back to Australia. We want everyone to have just an incredible night as I know we are going to have personally.
TB: Is there any songs you play in particular for Australian fans that you don’t really play in other countries?
SC: Oh yeah! I know it’s almost a given but the song ‘Adelaide’ connected with Australian fans so much, so we play it every time we are in Australia. But we don’t play it anywhere else and I don’t think we will ever play it in the United States to be honest.
TB: One of the key driving forces behind your long standing. Career in the industry is how emotionally vulnerable and honest your songs are. So reflecting on your back catalogue what would you say is your most vulnerable moment as a songwriter?
SC: I think songs like ‘Fin’, ’We Are Destroyer’ and a couple of others really standout to me. I said to someone one time that if you put all my songs side by side then I would never have to write an autobiography because they are all right there. Everything I’ve ever done; good or bad, success or failure, all the above. It’s all just sitting right there. I think ‘Fin’ is really a big one for me and ‘Dissenter’ on the last record is really revealing too.
TB: After taking the break and then coming back to play these live shows, what is one thing you would say you’ve learnt about yourself as an artist and as a band?
SC: After taking this long of a break, I think the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that even though music and touring was an exciting part of my life, it’s not the only part of my life. There is more out there than what you do or what people say you are. There’s a whole life on the other side. I think it’s an important lesson for anyone who is caught up in there profession. You are not your job. People don’t just like you for what you do for work. There is more to you than 9 to 5 and I think that’s the biggest life lesson I’ve learnt.
TB: Now I have to ask, with this reunion in full swing can we expect any new original music soon?
SC: I think it’s just these live shows at the moment. We don’t have any plans to start writing or recording. Again, everyone is so happy and passionate about what they are doing in life that it would be so hard for us to break away to write, record and tour a record. That’s something we don’t really wanna do. Where our passions are right now is where our hears are. I’m not going to say never thought because I’ve learnt to not say that *laughs*. If you asked me before the final show if we would have ever played shows again I would’ve confidently said no and that I didn’t know if we would ever be all in the same room again as we all live in different places, but I was wrong *laughs*.
TB: I know Nate is a massive fan of coffee, even roasting his own with King State. So whenever you come to Australia does he make you try different coffee shops?
SC: Oh, yeah! Every day he will find the best coffee shop in the city and then make us trek there to try it. And we will happily do it cause we know he’s always right *laughs*
TB: Let’s play a little game of rapid fire questions where I’m going to ask you some questions that you need to answer with the first thing that comes to mind
SC: Let’s do it!
TB: The messiest member of Anberlin on tour is…
SC: That’s a hard one! It won’t be Nate or Deon. It would probably be between me and Joey. Every one would probably vote me as I put my stuff everywhere. The whole bus is my suitcase *laughs*.
TB: Our pre show pump up song is…
SC: Oh man that’s so good! I know it sounds really funny but for ages we would jam Slipknot before we go on! I love those dudes but no other time in life would I listen to them than before I go on stage *laughs*. They are so hype.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
TB: The emoji that best describes the band is…
SC: The obvious is the crossed finger, but I would say that emoji where the head is blowing off *laughs*.
TB: If I could have any super power it would be …
SC: I’ve thought about this my whole life! Probably multiple man so I could have different versions of me running aorund. Or teleportation, because that would be so rad!
Anberlin 2019 Australian Tour
Saturday 25 May – The Tivoli, Brisbane
Sunday 26 May – Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 29 May – Forum, Melbourne
Thursday 30 May – HQ Complex, Adelaide
Friday 31 May – Metropolis Fremantle, Perth
Buy tickets HERE; https://sbmpresents.com/tour/anberlin/