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I got the chance to interview Anberlin’s Stephen Christian (vocals) on the July 21st Miami, FL Warped Tour spot. Stephen is the most enthusiastic and humble guy I have ever interviewed. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it. Interview by: Julio D. Anta

Can you state your name and what you do in the band?

Stephen Christian: I’m Stephen Christian and I sing in the band Anberlin.

How’s the Warped Tour been treating you so far?

SC: Unreal man, we’ve been meeting so many cool bands like Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, Kill Switch Engage and all these incredible bands all in one place. It’s just been amazing. The community has been really cool, and the fans have been amazing. We’ve never been on Warped Tour before so this is definitely a huge experience.

How have the crowd’s been responded?

SC: Well, we’re not really a Warped Tour band and we’ve never been on the tour like I said before, so I think a lot of people are discovering us for the first time out here. Maybe they’ve heard the name or seen the CD somewhere, so they’ll say “Hey, lets go check out this band today”. I would say 30-40% of the crowd is singing along and everyone else is getting into it but they’ve never heard it.

Would you say reaching new fans is your favorite thing about the Warped Tour?

SC: Yes, definitely. Also like I said before, the community is great. The people behind the scenes, the production people, the crew, everyone. It seems like we’re all one giant family and in this together.

Do you have a least favorite thing about the tour?

SC: The heat. I mean I love Florida, it’s where I’m from, but man, it is just so stammering out here. But you know, if the fans can put up with it for a day then so can we.

What’s your opinion on the 30 minute set-times here on Warped?

SC: I think it’s great, it’s very conducive to the fact that people go to Warped Tour with the intention of seeing a few bands they like and discovering a ton more. Warped Tour is almost like a greatest hits set, you play all your best songs and maybe when you come back on a headlining or supporting tour, fans who discovered you at Warped will come see you again.

Cities was released a few months ago, how would you compare that album to your past efforts?

SC: I think it’s our best work to date, I really like how it came out. Musically I really think it challenged our listeners and we challenged ourselves. Lyrically I think this was our most “heart-on-sleeve” album. I wasn’t sure if people really wanted to hear that, but apparently they do. We’ve gotten the best response from this record. I can safely say Cities is our best work to date in my opinion.

Do you have any b-sides you might put out in the future?

SC: Yeah, a couple of them are online right now like ‘The Haunting”, “Uncanny”, and the two covers we did.

What song are you most proud of on Cities?

SC: I think “Fin” because of how unique the writing process for that song was. We all sat down, started playing and thats what came out. A nine minute song with a boys choir and some weird instruments. It was probably the most fun I had writing a song on this album.

After recording Cities you went to India on a missions trip with some other bands and the guys of To Write Love On Her Arms. How as that experience?

SC: It was heart wrenching, challenging and just overall insane. There were moments where it hurt, but I definitely walked away from that feeling like I made a difference.

Do you have plans for more trips in the future?

SC: Yeah definitely. In January we’re going to Nairobi, Kenya in Africa. We’re gonna stay there and work a couple of weeks with the One Campaign teaching people farming and also trying to fix a roof that caved in at a school killing two young boys. I want to continue doing this and taking more and more bands.

So going back to the new album, Cities has been getting great reviews and Anberlin has been called “the next Radiohead”. How does being compared to one of the greatest bands of our generation feel?

SC: I can’t believe people say that. Radiohead is so good, so challenging and just beyond my ears. We’re nowhere close to them [Laughs].

Who would you say your biggest influences as a song-writer are?

SC: I would have to say The Smiths overall. As far as lyrics and storytelling are concerned The Beatles are way up there for me. Radiohead like we talked about earlier and tons of bands I listen to on a daily basis influence me. Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of basic rock bands like The Doves and The Stills, stuff like that.

The last thing I want to ask you about is Anchor & Braille, your side-project with Aaron Marsh of Copeland. Whats the status on that?

SC: Well, we just finished writing all the music. I only have three more tracks to do vocally and the whole record will be done. I’m so proud of it, it’s going to be nothing like I’ve ever done or worked on so I’m really excited. We should have our record out by early next year.

Any last comments or thoughts you want to get out there to our readers?

SC: Don’t just sit around, try to make a difference in the world. You don’t have to go to India like I did or anything, just make a difference.

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