Silverstein frontman Shane Told is traveling in the van through Michigan with the band to play a co-headlining show with Tonight Alive, Issues, State Champs and Rarity at the Stache in Grand Rapids. After a few attempts in establishing a secure phone connection, and a brief pause while Told is telling someone in the vehicle to put his seat belt on because it’s “freaking me out,” Told’s tone of voice sounds extremely energetic as he begins to speak about Silverstein’s newest album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch.
“It’s pretty crazy,” Told says. “We started the band as a side project. It wasn’t a serious band at all, we were just doing the band for fun. We didn’t even know if we were ever going to play a show, let alone put out a record and tour. To be 15 years later and our seventh proper full-length is definitely more than we ever anticipated by far.”
I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, released May 19 though Rise Records, stands as the band’s third concept album as each of the 12 songs are about a different city in North America. The album is also divided into four chapters including north, south, east and west.
But Told dives deeper. The album’s title is a line from the Canadian author Timothy Findley’s 1977 novel The Wars, and can also be heard on their track “Milestone.” The novel is ultimately a story about a young Canadian officer in World War I who tries to escape his own depression over his sister’s death and other social issues during that time period. Told knew he could apply this idea into something of the band’s own.
“[The book] kind of represents where you start and where you end up and the cycle of taking a journey or tour,” Told says. “I really thought the title fit well in talking about that and what we do. We go around in our bus and play shows and go around the world and kind of inspire people in some way. It’s also interesting that [Findley] was born in Toronto, too.”
After another lost phone connection and a quick call back, Told begins speaking about his lyrical content on the album and how he wanted to be completely honest in every song on the record. He says during the band’s early days of writing in guitarist Josh Bradford’s basement, he never thought anyone would be reading his own lyrics for the next 15 years or would even care. (“I was just writing from the heart,” he says.) But throughout the years of success and actually knowing there were going to be people who would be reading and listening to his words, that changed the game a little bit.
“With this record, I put myself more out there than ever because of the subject matter, like real people and real places,” Told says. “All of it is real. It’s kind of a whole other level of putting it out there.”
I Am Alive In Everything I Touch is ultimately a reflection of the band’s previous decade-plus of touring extensively and everything that has happened in between throughout Told’s life. While the musician prides himself of the record having such a real vibe, including actual recorded outside sounds and honest lyrics, he said the outcome is both sad and dark.
“When you’re writing something that’s very personal to yourself, you only have one perspective, which is your own,” Told says. “A lot of times when that perspective is sad or dark, that’s kind of how the vibe comes out. I think there’s a big aspect of loneliness, which is a common theme in a lot of these songs. There’s loneliness in being with company in a way, which is sort of how a lot of people that do what we do feel—and it’s a real emotion. I think that’s just the honest truth.”