It's been a long, but thrilling trip for this quintet, who came together in the Toronto suburb of Burlington, Ontario at the turn of the millennium. After putting out two of their own EPs, the band signed to Victory Records and released When Broken Is Easily Fixed, which raised eyebrows throughout North America as sales climbed well past 200,000. Showing no ill effects of any "sophomore jinx," Silverstein's follow-up Discovering The Waterfront did considerably better; now total Silverstein record sales are beyond a half-million. The band fueled that momentum by performing on a slew of major tours, from A Taste of Chaos and Warped in the States to the Give It A Name and Download festivals in England. They topped it all off with their first headlining tour of America-the sold-out Never Shave Again tour.
"We took three months off after we finished Never Shave Again in December to totally dedicate ourselves to writing new material," drummer Paul Koehler says. "We were very eager to be creative again; it was a very exciting progress that flowed very naturally, since this was our third attempt at writing a full-length CD. It's not as if we had a plan on what we wanted the new music to sound like. One of really big benefits of our band is that we let things develop organically."
That especially pertains to Arrivals & Departure's lyrical heart. "I ended a seven-year relationship right before I started on this record," singer Shane Told admits. "That's something you can't ignore when you're writing lyrics. This record is, by far, the most personal record I have ever made. Sometimes it's hard for me to go back and listen to some of the songs, because the feelings behind them are still unsettling to me. But at the same time, I wanted to convey a message of hope through the record, in that no matter what happens, you can still get through the tough times, get better and be happy.
"Even so, it was really hard to write lyrics that express my passionate feelings," he continues. "It scared me. I was letting people in on my personal life; you start wonder if you're just writing the songs for yourself. You wonder how your fans, who have been so supportive of you in the past, will think of what you're exposing to them. All these questions are constantly battling inside you."
Yet Told came to the conclusion that once you lay your heart out there, there's no turning back. "That's why this record is so personal to me," he states. "Even the album title; it's about being all over the world for the last four years and how that affected me. In some ways, it destroyed a part of my personal life. Had I not went down this road, I have no doubt in my mind that I probably would be married with kids, living a totally different existence. But my ultimate goal in life is to just be happy, and obviously you have to make some tough transitions in the short term to be happy in the long term."
"The intervals of life exist as finite periods that can only be enjoyed in the moment and don't last forever," Koehler adds. "Life doesn't last forever, and neither does the happiest moments of one's life. Our lives have been transformed into a constant 'coming and going' throughout the years, where it is hard to maintain positive relationships and to stay adjusted to one lifestyle. When we are on the road we miss home, our friends and family. At the same time, when are at home we miss the experience of traveling and playing shows, plus all of the friends and relationships we have made all over the world. From the constant shift in life, we've developed a positive embrace of any moment in each side of our life because you never know when that is going to end."
That sense of transition impacted the recording of Arrivals & Departures as well. Silverstein decided to use a new producer--Mark Trombino, who previously worked with Jimmy Eat World and Blink 182. "Before we went in the studio, I was the only one who had met him, and that was just one time," Koehler recalls. "We had to build a relationship quickly. It can be tricky doing that when you're suddenly working with someone in the same room for 10-12 hours a day. Fortunately, he's very talented and meticulous, which works well with our band, because we're all perfectionists, too."
It didn't take long before the band realized they were onto something special. "We were instantly excited about our progress right after we recorded the first song," Koehler says. "We tried to integrate different things into the album, and a lot of them turned out incredibly well. By the time the songs got to the final mix, they had developed into something so huge, it blew me away. We had spent a lot of time and effort on each individual song, which made the whole album sound a lot more cohesive in the end."
Now that the new album has "arrived", Silverstein is eager to "depart" on more globe-hopping tours. And they can't wait to play the new tunes to their rapidly growing fan base. "You definitely 'feel' the new music a lot more live," Told says. "By the time you've done your old songs over 100 times on stage, you're more into just performing to the audience. But the feelings behind the new songs are still fresh in my heart, so my singing will reflect that."
In a way, Arrivals & Departures illustrates an emotional growth for a band whose career is continually on the rise. "Success is reaching whatever new goals we set for ourselves, and that has been a constant progression," Koehler says. "We're always looking to attain new things by staying focused. We feel we're on a really good path because we're comfortable doing things that come natural to us."