The Antlers return to Dublin’s Academy on November the 17th, as part of a European tour to promote Burst Apart, their latest, well received album. Dara Higgins spoke with lead singer and main man Peter Silberman as he sat in his New York home, bubbling with anticipation of hitting the road once again.
It’s a fairly full schedule for the tour, are you looking forward to it or slightly terrified?
“I’m a little intimidated by how long the tour is, which is six weeks, the longest consecutive tour we’ve done. But we’ve been touring all year and for a couple of years before that, so we know what we’re dong at this point. I’m excited, in general. I love travelling, I love touring. It’s not without its downsides, but I’m really lucky to be doing this”.
Is it a grind?
“In a way it’s easy to hate tour, it’s exhausting and you sacrifice your life at home if you’re going to do it all year. But if you embrace it and you learn to enjoy what you’re doing it can be the best experience in the world. You get to see the entire planet and get to be paid to play music”.
Do you have a system, do you get the partying out of the way in the first few nights and then spend the rest of the time sleeping, or take it in turns to go mental?
“I wish! I think we keep a steady pace throughout, and then, some nights are worse than others. What makes it worse is playing a show late at night and then a very early flight the next morning. There have been times when we’ve gotten fifteen minutes of sleep. We’re professionals now, we seem to get by on very little sleep”.
2010 was the last time you played here, before Burst Apart came out, so can we expect a different show this time out?
“I think it’ll be really different. We played Electric Picnic a little over a year ago, and the live show has changed a lot since then. At the time we were a 3-piece and now we’ve been touring with another guitar player and a bass player for the entirety of this album. We’re really focussing on the new record, we’re still playing Hospice songs, but the direction of the set is with this new material which is sounding different form the Hospice material, especially live. I’m really excited about what the live show has become. It’s definitely a lot more fun to play. Hospice was really draining in a lot of ways”.
“In a way, I remember being asked a lot if I was reliving the songs every time we played, which I wasn’t doing. I did feel at the end of those tours that I was really spent, mining myself for these huge emotional outpourings. At the end of it I was totally drained. This feels a lot more comfortable now. It’s still an intense show, but it’s a bit more…kinda psychedelic, but I think there’s a bigger range of emotion and moods to the songs so it keeps it fresh for us, and there’s a good amount of change that happens between shows, the shows are different every night. It’ll definitely be a different show to last one people saw. We’re feeling very adventurous. The show will be better the more that we feel apart of this. Not in a bigger way than Hospice, but in a more collaborative way”.
Is Burst Apart more of a band record?
“Definitely, it becomes more and more that every day. Making Burst Apart was really an exploration of new ideas for us and kinda shaping of what we’ve been doing for the last couple of years”.
It offers more the more you listen to it. Do you get that when you’re playing live?
“Definitely, I’m trying something different every time we play, partially because I’m never fully satisfied with parts I’m playing I always feel like I could be doing something better something different. So it’s a lot of trial and error for me, even if it doesn’t end up sounding that way from the crowd, we’re all experimenting as we go. As far as the songs go and the record goes, it’s changed over time, the more time I’ve spent with it, the more time we’ve spent playing these songs – we put the record together in way that’s very different to the way we perform. It was pieced together, there was a lot of overdubs, and the songs kind of formed themselves, where is in a live setting we’re each claiming a territory sonically and working within that”.
So we won’t expect facsimile versions of the tracks as they appear on the record?
“They definitely expand live. A song that could be four minutes on the record ends up being ten minutes. It’s pretty open ended. We’re following each other every show and pushing each other. The live thing is its own creative space, I think. I feel like we’re hitting this stride and every body involved is really working well together, and we’ve a lot of creative harmony and I feel that we really need to make as much music as possible during this, um, golden age”.