After listening to Hospice and Burst Apart, it’s clear that there is more to The Antlers’ music than just a collection of songs that are sonically pleasing to the ear. Between the elaborate instrumental arrangements to the backstories behind the albums, the Brooklyn indie rock outfit has crafted a catalog that has not only reached the local music scene in New York City but also taken them around the world. But unlike other bands who admit that the songs come spontaneously out of the studio, Peter Silberman, Michael Lerner and Darby Cicci do the complete opposite—everything is done with intention.
So when The Antlers decided it was time to record their next full-length album, Familiars, (out today via Transgressive Records), Silberman really wanted to take his time with the album in order to get it to the closest to his version of perfect – a luxury he did not necessarily have with the previous albums. “It was pretty different this time,” he says. “I think our ideas were much longer on this record. We’d come up with an idea, hold onto it for a while then keep playing it until it became second nature to us. So that it could be kind of injected with this warmth over time. Once we feel comfortable with something, like you know when you first learn how to do something and you can’t do it automatically, the more we practice this stuff, the more we could play it intuitively. At that point is where you can put more feeling into it and more grace into it. So that was the earlier implications of making this record. I think there’s something about us having as much time as we wanted to work on it.”
Whilst The Antlers were able to work on Familiars at their own creative pace, there was a point when the band had to set a deadline. However that did not mean that Silberman stopped drafting and redrafting his work. “I’ve written songs a 100 times and I can never get it perfect,” he explains. “Most of the time we were working on it, we were intentionally giving it as much time as it needed, assuming it would be done when it was done – so I think that played into it. I also think I worked on the lyrics this time around. I rewrote things over and over again, and I edited things extensively down to every word really. I became a pretty obsessive editor in my own words, with my own words. That was fun because I felt like I was like building a puzzle or something. Having the songs connect to one another and whether they’re past, present or future, if you change one word in the sentence, you have to change the entire paragraph, or in this case the song, that kind of drove me crazy. But it got me closer to what I wanted to say and what I wanted to write.”
With all the rewrites and time spent on getting things right, The Antlers started to venutre into new musical territory and discovered that the soul music of the 60s and 70s as well as “listening to Miles Davis, Alice Coltrane, John Coltrane” could take their music to a new level—also giving the spotlight to Cicci’s trumpet playing that added a harmonic layer against Silberman’s voice. “Through this band, and through all this touring together, speaking for myself, I really discover and rediscover my love for soul music through this band,” Silberman revealed. “And it’s become part of my vision of what I think a band is.”
Published 16 June 2014. Read full article here.