The Antlers caught my attention a few months ago when I really began to branch out for new music, and I even made them a Band To Watch. The first song of theirs I heard was "Bear", of their upcoming album Hospice, due out March 3rd. Peter Silberman opens the song by using the all-so-familiar "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" melody to capture the listeners attention, and then quickly distances himself from the monotonous motiff and brings the song to a whole other level of raw emotion.
Recently, Silberman was able to take time out of his schedule to sit down and answer a few of our questions, so we thank him for that. And not just because Peter is a great guy, but also because his music is astonishing, be sure to pick up a copy of Hospice on March 3rd. Or pre-order it here.
fork/knife: Peter, in the winter of 2006 you moved to Manhattan and "disappeared for a year and a half." What brought you to this and what was it that you did for a year and a half?
Peter: Well, it's a really long story, and it's one I'm not all that good at telling anymore. The record itself is probably the best explanation of all that.
f/k: The two songs off your newest album, Hospice, that you've made available for download seem to be very intimate. Could you take us through your writing process?
Peter: The writing process seems to change with each album. With Hospice, it was labored over a lot, but in a way it happened organically. Whenever I would get ideas for lyrics, I'd start writing them down, and they'd all have the same melody in my head. Because of this, there's a couple songs on Hospice that have the same melody, as well as one on New York Hospitals, and about four other songs that weren't released. They all have the same melody, and share some lyrics, but they're all different songs. But I don't know if that quite answers the question...really that's just the answer to one part of the process. My process is pretty disorganized, so I'm not sure I could say there's one particular way I write a song.
f/k: How much do your personal experiences influence your writing?
Peter: I'd say every Antlers song is based on personal experiences. Some are more directly personal than others, like Hospice, while the songs on In The Attic Of The Universe were still very personal, but more about something going on inside my head that I didn't quite understand at the time. So Attic was a little less overtly about my life.
f/k: We all know that times are continually changing with the advancement of technology, and the arts seem to be taking a big blow due to this. Your music is fantastic on so many levels, from composition to musicianship. What are your thoughts on this movement of sorts? Do you think it is helping or detracting from the modern music scene? And where do you find yourself in it?
Peter: I think there are some definite drawbacks to technology advancing music, but it all seems overwhelmingly positive to me. So many bands I've come to know and love over the past few years have been the result of this forward movement, bands I would have never heard without the internet. It creates enormous opportunities for people making music in their bedrooms, music that would likely never see the light of day if it weren't so easy to send people. As for where I stand in it, I doubt I'd be doing what I'm doing now if not for the way music's changed.
f/k: New York City is obviously a huge breeding grounds for bands. What's your favorite thing about being involved in the NYC music scene? Least favorite?
Peter: Lately my favorite thing has been the small-world-ness of New York. I've lived here for a little over three years now, and it still amazes me how few degrees of separation can exist between people in such an enormous city. For music, that means everyone's connected to everyone else, in one way or another. Sometimes that's a really incredible feeling. My least favorite part of New York is how easily it can convince you to quit.
f/k: Do you guys have a favorite city or venue to play? Or do you prefer recording over playing live shows?
Peter: We've toured only a bit (several weeks), and have mostly been in the Northeast, East Coast, Midwest, and South. Bloomington, Indiana was pretty great, and Portland, Maine stole my heart.
f/k: Is there a band that you're listening to that you wish more people knew about?
Peter: I discovered this album about a year and a half ago, and think it's criminally underrated. Gowns' Red State. I've been obsessed with it for awhile.
f/k: Lastly, fork:knife::_____:music. Why?
Peter: Enthusiasm. Music can exist without enthusiasm, but barely. It thrives when you're thrilled about the music you like or thrilled to make it.
We would like to thank Peter from The Antlers for taking time out of his schedule to answer our questions, and it would be an understatement for us to say that we're looking forward to Hospice. Be sure to check f/k in the future for more updates.
Silberman was also nice enough to allow us to post "Bear", a song off the new album. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
The Antlers - Bear