Anberlin is a Florida based emo-core band that I first got exposed to through The Warped Tour...their music is touching & cryptic, the bands singer has amazing hair, & when they played Baltimore on June 21, 2009 opening for Taking Back Sunday I had the opportunity to spend some time with the band, check out their show & bring back a very cool piece for you, the Rock N Roll Experience reader!
Anberlin is a Christian based rock band, they don't deny that, & to be quite honest with you, the guys are squeaky clean, they are NOT about sex, drugs & rock n roll, they are about having fun, respecting each other, respecting their fans, & they might play aggressive music, but they are probably cleaner than you'd think a rock band would be! When I got to the venue, I made it a point to show up early & the reasoning behind that is, if you've ever attended a sold out show in downtown Baltimore, you probably understand what I am about to say...parking is a bitch at a sold out show when the venue has limited parking! The venue that held this show was Sonar...Sonar is a good rock club, it has 3 rooms that hold live entertainment on a daily basis, but the problem is, Sonar is a large club with limited parking...when their main lot fill up you are subject to parking a few block away & I'll be totally honest with you, that area of Baltimore is the jungle, you don't want to venture off too far if you're not familiar with the territory, bad things can & will happen if you are not street savvy with the area!
I made it a point to get there early, I was at the venue an hour before doors opened & to my surprise, there was a line that snaked nearly 1/2 way around the front door..there was a shit load o' kiddies waiting in line to get an up close, front spot in the pit! I made a quick call to Anberlin's tour manager & if you've never worked as a writer in rock n roll, I'll share a common problem that happens quite often to us with you....it's a very common problem when you're on the road every single day...sometimes you don't get messages, emails are lost, or things just screw up, & more times than not, I will get to a designated spot where I'm scheduled to do an interview & find out, "Hey, I don't know anything about this, who set it up?" Well, needless to say, it always works out for the most part, this day was no exception, I was confirmed for the in-person interview day of show, covered for tix/photo pass through the bands publicist, then I get there & the confusion starts...again though, it's all par for the course, it happens, I know it, I accept it, it's not a huge deal because I can always make things work out, but in this business, if you don't have a cool head, a mild demeanor & a positive attitude then you shouldn't do this sorta work, because, I've seen some people flip out over the smallest things like a botched guest list, & all that does is make everyone around the situation upset & irritated! So, back to the subject at hand, after figuring out the situation, explaining who I was & that I was scheduled to do an interview, my interview took place in the back lounge of the bands bus with their drummer. Upon entering the bands bus I have to admit that their bus smelled surprisingly nice..often times a touring band will have a bus that smells kinda funky, but the Anberlin bus smelled nice in the front of the bus & what I noticed in the front of the bus was an interesting collection og polaroids that the bands bass player had taken with a polaroid camera & he gave each band person who was traveling on that bus an interesting nickname & although it wasn't being used as a checklist, I thought it was an interesting way to keep check of all the inhabitant's on that bus, it would have worked as a great checklist since there were quite a few guys living on that bus!
So, I was escorted by Nate to the back lounge of the bus where a large flat screen was on with a video game paused on-screen, on the back door there was a large shoe caddy that kept the area clean & tidy, & my interview with Nate went something like this...
Rock N Roll Experience: How come the name "Anberlin" is not printed on the front cover of the new cd?"
Nate: Well, like on the shrink wrap it has our name with a sticker on it, so the reason we did that is just because we like the art, we kinda think it looks cool because when you buy it you obviously know it's us, so when you take it off it's just kinda like a cool looking piece of art, I don't know, it was just kinda a different thing because we'd never done that, we tried to do it on our last record & I think we kinda like forgot, so we just wanted to do that with this one.
Rock N Roll Experience: Have you started working on new music yet for the next cd?
Nate: Yeah, a little bit...we haven't sat down & completely started writing our new songs, but we are always writing & coming up with new ideas. Yesterday we got together & just kinda wrote different stuff, like someone had an idea & we kinda figured out some stuff, so we are constantly writing, but we probably won't sit down & start to work stuff out till like early next year but hopefully we just continue to come up with little stuff on tour & off tour or whatever
Rock N Roll Experience: What kinda direction is the new material going in?
Nate: Kinda a darker direction, "New Surrender" was way poppier than we thought it would be, which is fine, it's good for the time, I think it is the record we should have put out for this time, but the new stuff is definitely a little bit darker as far as the music & lyrics go, but more along the lines of our last record, "Cities", the previous record, so yeah, a little bit darker, a little more....we're taking more time writing the songs & coming up with different idea's, different time signatures & stuff like that, but it'll still be the same Anberlin you know! Some songs we've started writing are definitely the heaviest songs we've ever written.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you consider Anberlin a Christian Rock band?
Nate: All of us are Christians & that's what we believe in & we have our faith, but as far as the band, we just kinda want to play music & just do what we do, you know? Alot of times when you put that kinda tag, Christian Rock Band, you get stuck in this one scene, you know, how people see you, which isn't bad if that's what you wanna do, if you wanna go out & be a quite, un-quote "Christian Rock Band", that's not what we ever wanted to do, we wanted to play real venues, we didn't want to play churches, it's a broader audience & plus, we didn't want to just keep it to the church, we wanted to let...if you like the music you should listen to it, as far as the lyrics go, we wanted to be positive & show it's not all about sex, drugs & rock n roll, but I think that stems off of our faith & what we believe but as far as Anberline being a Christian band, we are not a typical "Christian Band" or whatever you wanna say...
Rock N Roll Experience: I have to admit though, I saw Anberlin for the first time at The Warped Tour & your singer reminds me of a young Rod Stewart!
Nate: That's awesome! (laughs), We give him a hard time about his hair because it kinda looks like Rod Stewart, but no one's ever said that, but awesome! (laughs) I'm gonna tell him that, it's funny! (laughs)
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you change your set list up every night?
Nate: No, we usually pick one & keep it for the whole tour, hopefully kids don't come to too many of the same shows because they'll see the same exact set list, but it's just kinda hard to change it every night so we usually do it tour by tour.
Rock N Roll Experience: Where did the band name "Anberlin" come from because there's quite a few stories out there about that matter.
Nate: Alot of them, we just kinda made up, the real story is just not that exciting, like, our singer was talking about where he wanted to travel & then he was saying something, something, like, and Berlin, & he kinda ran his words together so we decided like, "oh, that's a cool name!" so then we just kinda took it for that, but then we decided like over the last 4 or 5 years that it would be funny to make up different stories at each interview & now we just got to a point where there are so many that we'll tell a new one or we'll tell a previous one that we did just to kinda recycle them all, but that's really the "real" story.
Rock N Roll Experience: On your Wikipedia page it says that the name came from a Radiohead song off "Kid A".
Nate: There is a part in a "Kid A" song where he says a part & it sounds exactly like he says "Anberlin" so that's kinda a cool story so you can use that one if you want (laughs)