Nate Young of Anberlin
Anberlin is not a band about to leave their future up to chance. After five years with independed label Tooth & Nail the band (Stephen Christian on vocals, Deon Rexroat on bass, Joseph Milligan on guitar, Nathan Young on drums and Christian McAlhaney) made the jump to major label Univeral Republic and released their latest album New Surrender in September of 2008. With a new producer and a new album, New Surrender is their most cohesive album to date.
Recently wrapping up a headlining tour in the US the band headed down under for a tour with Chiodos and Silverstein. Following that they will head to Japan. With such an intense touring schedule it’s tough to imagine the band gets a chance to write much but drummer Nate Young assured us that even before New Surrender was released the band had been working on new song ideas and has plenty to work with.
Anberlin is well known for their socially conscious message and for always supporting charitable causes so it should come as no surprise to anyone that this spring they’ll be taking part in the “Pick Up The Phone” tour with Alkaline Trio. The tour hopes to raise awareness and money for suicide prevention. The shows will take place on college campuses from coast to coast. Nate Young took some time to tell us all about it and everything else going on in the world of Anberlin.
Interviewed by: Mary Ouellette | February 2009
With New Surrender being your first release on your new major label deal with Universal Republic, how have things changed for you in the grand scheme of things?
Things have definitely changed a little bit, but all for the good! I think with any change of label or member, etc. things will inevitably change. In the grand scheme of things though things are amazing! There was a lot of “things” in that sentence. Sorry!
You had a new producer on New Surrender for the first time….how did that impact the album? What did Neal Avron bring to the process that may have been missing in the past?
Neal Avron is a great producer! He pushed us all individually, as well as Anberlin as a whole. He made us try different stuff that may not have been what we were use to, or have done in the past. We worked through 30 songs and whittled them down to a solid 14 that we ended up recording and then putting 12 of them on New Surrender. We’ve never had a producer like Neal that pushed us that hard or made us work on each little part as much as we did.
Some reviews have called this album your most pop-oriented to date. Do you agree with that or do you try not to get bogged down by labels?
Whatever people want to call it is up to them. If it’s pop oriented to some people, then it is what it is, to them. My little brother thinks its heavy metal, though some may disagree, he still likes it the same and I’m hoping whoever feels that it’s pop will feel the same. But yes, I think it’s one of the more “poppy” records we’ve put out to date.
New Surrender – Anberlin
Fans have had a lot of mixed emotions over the re-release of Feel Good Drag, what was the deciding factor that this should be the single? Do you know what the next single will be?
The deciding factor was, that we all love the song and felt that on Never Take Friendship Personal it didn’t get the chance it deserved considering we only had one single on that record. Also we felt that if you’d never heard Anberlin before, it would be a good song to represent us as a whole. You could kinda get the feel of what we are all about with that song.
The album seems to have a clear focus and concept from beginning to end, it seemed much more cohesive – was this something that you made a conscious decision to accomplish or do you think it’s just a byproduct of the band growing?
It’s probably a little bit of both. I think we all strive to have a flowing and cohesive record with each one we do, but I think we just accomplished it a little better with New Surrender. Also it for sure comes with growth and us becoming the band that we are now.
The album has been out for a little over three months now, looking back, what was the most rewarding part about writing it and recording it?
I think just the fact that with all the change that happened in the year building up to it, we were able to come out with the record we wanted to. And that all of our fans loved it as much as they did. I think that’s probably the most rewarding thing with every record, to hear the feedback and positive response from our fans, the people we do this for!
This album was the first opportunity for Christian to be a part of the writing team, how big of a bonus was that for the band and how was that transition of having him be an active part of the writing?
Definitely a huge bonus. Christian is the best things that’s happened to us since the lean mean grilling machine. He’s an amazing writer, and a big part of Anberlin. It was a little different and challenging considering we’ve never had another writer be apart of us, but it has been amazing so far. I look forward to him being apart of everything Anberlin from here on out.
There seems to be a lot more synth/keys on New Surrender than past releases, do you think that’s something that may carry over to future releases?
If it’s the right part for the right song, then you will hear it in future releases for sure. As long as it fits the song.
You’ve pretty much gone from one tour to the next since the release of the album, have you had any down time to write any new material or am I jumping the gun?
We’re basically always writing. Before New Surrender even came out, we already had parts and ideas for our next record. But when it comes down to it, we’ll have off time to write more and focus solely on writing and nothing else.
It’s recently been announced that Anberlin will take part in the upcoming “Pick up the Phone” tour. Can you explain to fans the concept behind the tour and the message you’ll be delivering as part of it?
As Anberlin we’re always wanting and striving to apart of things greater than Anberlin and ourselves. Any opportunity we have to give to people and show that’s not about us or how cool we are, but to show that there are way more important issues in the world and whatever we can do to help raise awareness or help be apart of it, we will. Pick up the phone tour is sponsored by some incredible organizations that we’re all so stoked to apart of.
There seems to be a remarkable improvement on the overall musicianship of the band on this latest album (and I mean that in a complimentary way). Do you think this is a result of your touring schedule and the number of live shows you’ve played over the past few years or do you think it has to do with the production of the album? Or a mixture of both? It seems that everyone’s individual strengths are heard loud and clear…
Thanks! I think it just comes from us playing together over the last 5 years and just becoming who we are as musicians and as a band. Production and mixing has a hand it in for sure, but I would say it’s a small hand, ha. We try not to let that be what makes us strong. We all work very hard on our each individual parts to make each song the best it can be. And hopefully we’ve accomplished that with each record.
Last but not least, this is a new year, what were your resolutions?
Love my family, friends, enemies and people more! Learn how to play more instruments. Drink more coffee. Work out more. Own more guns. Get married. Paint a picture. Make a difference.