Silent Planet’s extraordinary new album Superbloom blossomed on Friday November 3 worldwide. An anniversary date from the bands vehicle crash, it’s an album of growth, reflection, aliens and pushing the band boundaries looking to elevate the Californians to another level. On the release date I spoke with the band about the journey, musically and spiritually, as well as Garrett’s infamous ‘shopping’ habits on twitter.
Garrett, a question specifically for you, and I’m aware you’ll be asked this a lot today. Did you take that shopping basket back to Target you tweeted about?
Garrett Russell: Haha! I’m gonna be completely honest with you and say that I really thought I would, I really thought I had the responsible Good Samaritan within me but unfortunately, it was 4am today and I had to go to LAX and Target was closed, so I did not put that back. If St Peter doesn’t let me through the pearly gates we know why. For those that don’t know, I tweeted ‘how bad is it to take a Target basket for trick or treating?’ Cause I wanted to go trick or treating but I didn’t want to buy anything I wanted to keep, I just wanted the basket.
Mitchell Stark (Guitars): So you stole it?
Garrett: I ‘borrowed’ it but at some point it did turn into stealing. If Target is watching me I’m gonna have people in blue shirts after me
Mitchell: There’s a warrant for your arrest!
Superbloom is now out and has been released on the anniversary of your vehicle crash when on tour last year. How did what happen impact the writing and recording of this album?
Mitchell: That’s a hard question to answer but to not be too long winded about it; having your life kind of flash before your eyes that changes how you look at everything. Before that, for a long time as a band we kind of done what we had done previously, musically. We would make a album and kind of break a little bit of new ground but we were still operating in a bubble that we were comfortable with. Something like this pushed all of us to want to break out of that and be forward thinking and as progressive as we could about it. Granted half the record was already finished, musically it was done before the accident but after the accident man, life is precious and it could end very very quickly. Some of us take that for granted sometimes so having that experience forced upon us I feel way more inclined to pour more of myself into this record. But yeah it was scary.
Was there then a determined effort to have it down for the anniversary date?
Mitchell: When it happened we had just started a US tour and had just done show one and it was over pretty quickly. It took maybe a few hours after the crash just had happened before we went through a bunch of logistical stuff and went right back to touring, so I don’t think we discussed it. Back to the touring mindset and grind. It wasn’t until earlier this year that we realised we would finish in such a time it could be an anniversary release.
Lyrically the album is about a teenager who meets an extra-terrestrial and the changes he goes through. Is album then a metaphor for what the band has gone through?
Garrett: I would say that i didn’t write it thinking of it that way but i think art, when you make something, has a funny way of dictating life. I think every philosophy and tradition has a belief in some form of projection of reality. Of what you lose on earth you lose in heaven and vice versa. As above, so below. The concept that you open up essential futures when you do things and stuff. In a way the album dictated life, at least in my experience, and that could be because my heads always in a weird cloud space when writing lyrics and these guys are doing the heavy lifting of making cool songs while I just get weird! It’s kind of what it feels like and it’s a really interesting question you asked.
Musically there are so many different metal styles on the album, was that part of what you mentioned about trying anything and seeing if it sticks?
Mitchell: Yeah, half the record or so was musically finished and written before the accident. When I say finished, I don’t mean mixed and mastered but we shut the book on it. So coming back to those songs from a production point but for also the rest of the record, I was feeling inspired by our second chance to dive in and adjust things and push the envelope. But we also have our producer Daniel Braunstein to blame for how the whole thing turned out. What a guy! He’s instrumental for us in helping us to not be afraid to make those choices and being a trusting sounding board. The hardest thing is when you come up with something new and the only people who can listen to it are the band. Cause the band are going to be predisposed to hate it cause it’s different from anything we’ve done or we’re gonna to be too attached to it and think it’s great even if it isn’t, so having someone you trust to be the curator of the whole project is very important. So shout out to Dan!
Nick, you’re the last one in the band, have they been treating you well or like Jason Newstead in Metallica?
Nick Pocock (Bassist): If I blink twice will you catch my meaning?! They’re great, my story with them is I’ve been going to their shows in Minnesota, where I live, for like eight years.
Nick: Yeah! I saw them play in a garage to basically nobody, and I’ve caught their career throughout the years since that and I’ve been a genuine fan. So last year to get the opportunity to fill in and now be in the band is just great. They couldn’t be more welcoming and we’re all just embracing the change. Obviously with Tommy leaving the band, he had been with them for so long and he’s very much part of Silent Planet, so just embracing the change one day at a time.
Garrett: I can say that having Nick join the band is easily one the best experiences that we’ve ever had being in this band, just as much as it’s was very hard having Thomas go. We also toured the five of us, the four of us plus Thomas, together pretty extensively last year and early this year so there’s a camaraderie between us and Nick joining just makes the family feel bigger. Obviously Tommy, his kid and wife are always going to part of the family but functionally he is not in the day to day anymore. We keep in touch and do love him. As Nick said being a fan of the band and coming in as a fan in some ways he understands our band better than we can as there are some angles and perspectives that you get when you’re not in it. He remembers our songs coming out and we don’t have memories of putting them out, so it been fun!
Interview By Iain McCallum