Posted On 13 Oct 2015
Tag: A Silent Film, All Access, All Access Music Group, American Authors, Artist Interview, Barcelona, Bethel Music, Bjork, Charlie Chaplin, City Lights, Civil Twilight, ColdPlay, Foster The People, Lightning Strike, London, Matthew Wilcox, Metropolis studios, New Year, OneRepublic, Oxford, Pixies, Robert Stevenson, Royal Teeth, Sam Williams, Sand & Snow, Secret Room Tour, Secret Rooms, Silent Songs, Spencer Walker, Supergrass, The City That Sleeps, The Go! Team, The Kid, The Killers, The Weeks, TV On The Radio, U2
In just 2 days, A Silent Film will be releasing their new self-titled, full-length studio album “A Silent Film” via the band’s own label Silent Songs. Produced by the band’s Robert Stevenson and Spencer Walker, with assistance from Matthew Wilcox (Foster the People, Bethel Music), the 11-track album was recorded in the band’s hometown of Oxford, UK over a five-week period following the Secret Room Tour.
“It was good to work from home and get back in touch with ourselves and our families after 3-4 years of touring,” says Walker. Very much a homegrown recording, the album was written in Stevenson’s house where the two invited friends from across the UK and US who had played with them on tour to help with the recording. Sam Williams (Supergrass, The Go! Team, The Weeks), who recorded A Silent Film’s debut album “The City That Sleeps” was on mixing duties, and the album was mastered at Metropolis studios in London.
Formed in Oxford, UK, by Robert Stevenson (vocals/piano) and Spencer Walker (drums), A Silent Film’s expansive and poetic pop-rock sound has garnered comparisons to everyone from Coldplay to The Killers to U2. Collectively, they create an unyielding positivity in their lyrics and sound, a spirited and romantic musicality that belies an unashamedly upbeat pop attitude.
Learn more about A Silent Film and their music in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How’s the summer been going for you guys?
Spencer: It’s been busy! We put out “New Year” EP in April, we did the Secret Rooms tour in May, played some UK shows then recorded and mixed the new album. Now we’re gearing up for a headline tour of the US in October and November. So…yeah – busy!
How did you all first come together and start this group? Can you remember when you first realized that you could do this full-time?
Spencer: Robert and I have been playing together since we were 13 or 14 years old. When we realised we could do this full-time was when could stop doing part-time jobs that were not very fun – so yes I can remember this time. Good memories!
How did you come up with your band name? I have to ask, what are some of your favorite silent films?
Robert: When we started this band I wrote a song called A Silent Film inspired by a piano theme from a Charlie Chaplin film called The Kid, and it was the first song we had worked on that seemed to be leading us in a new direction that we were excited about. If I had to say a favourite silent film it would probably be Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece ‘City Lights’.
Can you talk about the process of recording your self-titled album? What was it like recording it in your hometown? Were your families around the recording studio at all?
Robert: We recorded most of the album in Oxford, although some was done in Texas just to keep things interesting! Honestly the recording sessions were the most relaxed and creative we have ever experienced. We had my cat and Spencer’s dog chasing each other round knocking things over and inadvertently playing piano during takes. We also had the entertainment of watching the two musicians we brought over from the US spending a couple of weeks living in a very small quaint village in the Oxfordshire countryside. A little different to where they are from…
What first got the group to create your own label? Why do you think Silent Songs is the right fit for you and your music today?
Spencer: We have always strived to maintain our independence. Not at any stage of our career has anyone but us had the final say on the creative output of the band. There are so many different ways to release music now and running things ourselves seems to work well for us. Nothing is more important than the songs, so we would rather that they are 100% our songs.
I’ve read that “Lightning Strike” is a song that you feel like you’ve been trying to write for years. Why is that so and what makes it that way?
Robert: Lightning Strike is energetic and uptempo, optimistic but thoughtful. It talks about longing for a meaningful relationship but teases you with teenage desires. It feels like a big step forward for us.
What other songs on the new album are you excited to share with your fans?
Robert: All of them! We wouldn’t have put them on there if we weren’t incredibly proud of them and excited for people to hear them!
Why did it take so long to release an album that was self-titled? Why do you think you finally decided to do it now?
Spencer: You only get to release a self-titled album once, so you can’t waste it! There have been various members of the band over the years, people have come and gone, but this is the first time (since we were teenagers!) that the two of us were able to make exactly the record we wanted to make without any compromise. We decided early on in the process that this was the time to make a self-titled record to reflect this new focus. Of course we could do what Queen did and name the next record A Silent Film 2 I suppose…
Over the years, how do you think the band has grown? What about the band dynamics? How have those changed through the years?
Spencer: Hmm…think I covered that in the previous answer!
You’ve toured with some incredible acts. What tour or tours have really stood out to you?
Spencer: We have been really lucky to play with lots of amazing bands over the years. We played a festival in Tampa recently and after us on the stage we played was TV on the Radio and then the Pixies. That was one of the good days. Funnily enough the first full tour we ever did of the States was supporting Civil Twilight and we have great memories of that tour. Not just because you only get to do that for the first time once, but also because as bands we seemed to be on the same wave length. But then most musicians are great! OneRepublic, Barcelona, American Authors, Royal Teeth – we’ve been lucky to make a lot of good friends on the road.
You have a very busy fall tour lined up. Where are you most excited to play at?
Robert: We can’t wait for this tour, the first time you get to go out and play new music to your fans is always a good one. I think we’ve been round enough times now that we know good people in pretty much every city so honestly I’m fairly equally excited about all of them. Although I have to say that I do fall in love with New York every time I’m there…
What bands have continued to inspire your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
Robert: We have always been inspired by bands and artists that develop and evolve their music over time, artists who keep challenging themselves. I managed to see Bjork live again right towards the end of the album recording session, and once again she blew my mind. A constant inspiration!