It’s not busi­ness. It’s per­sonal

The sad events that in­spired The Antlers’ re­cent work were so per­sonal that song­writer Peter Sil­ber­man didn’t even share them with his band­mates un­til the al­bum was al­most fin­ished. He talks to Jim Car­roll as the band pre­pare for their Dublin gig

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

ALL YEAR long, Peter Sil­ber­man has been talk­ing about his new alHospice. All year long, the New York state na­tive has been dis­cussing the songs on the record, and es­pe­cially the sto­ries be­hind those songs.

And all year long, the lead Antler has been do­ing his level best to re­main friendly, po­lite and in­for­ma­tive while try­ing not to talk about the real events and char­ac­ters that shaped the al­bum.

Even without the back story, it’s quite a record. While his pre­vi­ous al­bum, In the At­tic of the Uni­verse, was a solo run, Sil­ber­man is joined here by Darby Cicci and Michael Lerner, who add tex­ture and nu­ance to th­ese in­ti­mate, deeply emo­tional songs about iso­la­tion and ill­ness. Through­out, the broody, moody and in­tense sound­scapes and at­mo­spher­ics are em­bel­lished by Sil­ber­man’s frag­ile falsetto and pale whis­per of a vo­cal.

Hospice has en­joyed a suc­cess­ful in­nings since Sil­ber­man put it out him­self back in March. The Frenchkiss la­bel picked it up for release first in the US and gave it a Euro­pean release in Oc­to­ber.

As a re­sult of in­ter­est in the lb Th Antlers have been tour­ing alm this year. “I didn’t re­ally have tions for Hospice when we re­leas March,” says Sil­ber­man as the bark from the ferry in Dover an drive to Lon­don. “It re­ally surpr it keeps go­ing for­ward.” It also sur­prise Sil­ber­man that there’s h in the songs he wrote dur­ing an riod when he was hid­ing away fro in Man­hat­tan.

Back then, he was try­ing to co with a bunch of deeply emo­tion per­sonal events which had come early 2007. As far as we know, th volved Sil­ber­man spending a lo and out of a chil­dren’s can­cer wa tal with a loved one.

“I’ve kept the real story und

Hospice is out now on Frenchkiss. The Antlers play Dublin’s Academy 2 tonight the sake of the peo­ple who the record is based on,” he ex­plains for what must be the umpteenth time.

“I mean, I don’t have any prob­lem with peo­ple draw­ing their own con­clu­sions about the record. The only con­cern I have is when peo­ple as­sume it’s au­to­bi­o­graph­i­cal and de­tails get con­fused and it gets awk­ward. I have had peo­ple say­ing to me: ‘So, this record is about your girl­friend who died in a hospice’. I al­ways cor­rect peo­ple about that.

“ Hospice was a re­ally con­ve­nient word to tie all the songs and ideas and sto­ries to­gether. When I started writ­ing, I knew the story but in a kind of vague way in that I didn’t know how it was go­ing to turn into this al­bum. The idea of a hospice and a care­taker re­la­tion­ship and guilt was just the anal­ogy I needed to pull the al­bum and the sto­ries to­gether.”

Even his band­mates didn’t know about the sub­ject mat­ter un­til the record­ing ses­sions were nearly over. “When we were record­ing, the vo­cals and lyrics were the last thing to go on the tracks. Once the record was done, it was very strange to be play­ing it to peo­ple and not know how they would re­act.

“Some peo­ple are un­com­fort­able with very per­sonal mu­sic like that, which is fine and I can un­der­stand that. Now, though, peo­ple are them­selves what they think it’s how it makes sense to them. That’s would want from a record that’s to you which you are putting out peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence.”

an’s de­sire to dis­guise the back­stoou won­der if he re­ally needed to proetails to be­gin with. “I think the ald stand on its own, but it does be­neome in­tro­duc­tion or con­text. Cerms need a back­story, but I think he back­story is in the record. I try ll it out too much. ally weird how in­for­ma­tion can get which I sup­pose is an­other rea­son ided not to dive into all the de­tail o and what the record is based on. eas­ier and makes more sense to ecord as a piece of fic­tion.” was writ­ing the songs, Sil­ber­man found him­self read­ing a bunch of writ­ers who had dealt with sim­i­lar themes. “There were cer­tain writ­ers whose work and themes res­onated with what I was writ­ing about in a very strange, par­al­lel way. That helped to fo­cus the project a lit­tle bit.

“The char­ac­ters in the songs, I sup­pose, are in­flu­enced by a few dif­fer­ent sources, like Sylvia Plath and Leonard Michaels’s book Sylvia. It be­came an amal­ga­ma­tion of var­i­ous char­ac­ters and sto­ries.”

Per­haps the most strik­ing el­e­ment of the Hospice ex­pe­ri­ence for Sil­ber­man has been work­ing with his band­mates. His first al­bum, the gen­tle, melodic In the At­tic of the Uni­verse, was a solo project more by ne­ces­sity than de­sign.

“I’d played in bands in high school and when I was grow­ing up, so it wasn’t so much a case of hav­ing given up on bands as much as I en­joyed do­ing the work on my own. I’d also just moved to the city and didn’t re­ally know any­one there.

“Af­ter At­tic, though, I was re­ally looking to do some­thing more col­lab­o­ra­tive. You have a lot of free­dom when you’re work­ing by your­self. You can be a to­tal con­trol freak without con­sult­ing any­one else or think­ing you’re step­ping on toes. At the same time, though, it is lim­ited. It is what­ever is in your head and you can’t bounce ideas off other peo­ple.

“You also get a dif­fer­ent sound when you record with other peo­ple. When I played Hospice to one of my friends who knew the older stuff, they could tell in­stantly that there were other peo­ple play­ing on the songs be­cause there was a dif­fer­ent style com­ing through which I thought was in­ter­est­ing.”

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