Anberlin frontman talks touring with Smashing Pumpkins, new album
Anberlin frontman Stephen Christian admits he was starstruck all summer, when his band was opening for Smashing Pumpkins.
"Being a fan, I was literally going to the show every night," Christian told SoundSpike. "I walk in the room. I watch some of the songs. I see all their light displays. It's just incredible. I'm in the show, but I'm an observer. I'm a part of it. It's fascinating."
Christian shared a story he said said he's never told a reporter before -- one that shows he goes way back with Smashing Pumpkins' singer Billy Corgan.
"Right after high school, I worked at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida," Christian said, laughing. "I was a photo taker for rides. You know, on the rollercoaster you come down, you make a freaky face and they take a picture and they give it to you. Well, they shut down part of my park. I was like, 'What the heck?' It was Billy Corgan. He rode the ride and I said, 'Mr. Corgan, here's your picture from Kumba.' I haven't told him that. I literally still have the picture. I made another picture."
Christian and his Florida-bred band were touring with Smashing Pumpkins to promote their latest CD, "Vital." Now the act is playing select holiday shows before heading overseas for a tour. The record was produced by Aaron Sprinkle, who worked with Anberlin early in its career.
"He really pushed us into experimenting," Christian said. "On this record, there's a lot more electronic influences. We also added a choir. We'd never had a girl sing on the record. This record, we had three different girls. It was pretty incredible to be able to kind of incorporate something as obscure as a trumpet section. We were free to experiment but it still sounds like and comes together like Anberlin."
The singer explained he is pleased that his fans understand that Anberlin is evolving as a band without losing sight of its identity.
"I hate when you buy a record from an artist you love and it completely sounds like the antithesis of their last record," Christian said. "I'm all for change. I'm all for band growth. But when you become something so unrecognizable that I don't even want to listen anymore, you lose fans because they don't recognize you and it's not what attracted them to you in the first place."
He added he doesn't want to hear "part two" of his favorite band's last record. He loves to hear growth. Otherwise, it would just make sense to start a side project and/or change the act's name.
"Vital," Christian said, is an important album for Anberlin.
"'Vital' was something to strive toward in the beginning of the record," Christian said. "So whether we accomplished this being our 'vital' record or not, for us it was a sign of something ahead of us to strive at and strive for."
15 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Complex (X96 Nightmare Before Xmas)
16 - Ontario, CA - Citizens Business Bank Arena (The 103.9 KCXX Merry Meltdown)
26 - Bristol, England - Fleece
27 - Brighton, England - The Haunt
28 - Portsmouth, England - Wedgewood Rooms
29 - Nottingham, England - Rescue Rooms
30 - Birmingham, England - Academy 2
1 - Cardiff, Wales - Great Hall 2
2 - Manchester, England - Academy 3
3 - Newcastle, England - Academy 2
4 - Glasgow, Scotland - Cathouse
6 - Sheffield, England - Academy 2
7 - London, England - Garage
8 - Curitiba, Brazil - Music Hall
9 - Sao Paulo, Brazil - Carioca Club