After signing with Tooth & Nail, The Letter Black wasted no time in making a name for themselves. Their Breaking The Silence EP debuted in 2009, and they gained exposure while on tour with Skillet, Hawk Nelson and Decyfer Down. It was at one of these shows that I first heard them. As I worked their merch table and heard Sarah’s powerful vocals sing to the packed out audience, I was quite impressed. It’s not often than a female fronted rock band makes such an impact. But it’s obvious – The Letter Black has arrived – and it’s here to stay.
Hanging By A Thread released earlier this month, to excellent critical acclaim. In a recent phone conversation, lead vocalist Sarah Anthony talked with me about the record, history of the band and more.
How did the band members meet each other?
We actually all met in church. We were all friends and started writing music outside of the church – hard rock. We’ve known each other for like 5 years. But when we started forming the band was about 3 years ago.
Explain the name, please!
Up until a year ago we were called Breaking The Silence because we discovered there was a band called Break The Silence, so we had to change the name. They had been broken up in 2004 but still legally owned it.
The new name, The Letter Black, actually came out of a joke. Our manger was joking around with the guy from [the band] Helmet. And he was like “a band name doesn’t have to be some deep, meaningful thing.” And they were like “it could be the letter black!”
How did you get picked up by Tooth & Nail?
We recorded our first record with Travis Wyrick, and he started showing Tooth & Nail our music. Then when we got hooked up with our management, our manager stared talking to Tooth & Nail and it worked out. We signed last march.
There are very few female fronted rock acts in the Christian music scene – what prompted you to take the lead in The Letter Black, as opposed to splitting lead vocals with Mark, when you were in Breaking The Silence?
I didn’t even sign up for this job. When we first started doing the music and everything, Mark was the lead singer. I just sang backup vocals and didn’t play any instruments so I looked absolutely retarded on stage. We went into a little studio to record a few and the person was like, “Why don’t you be the lead singer since you only do backup?” So I was just thrown into it. I wasn’t influenced by the “Oh its cool girl fronted band.” I just did it because it was suggested and fit well.
You’ve toured with Skillet twice now – were you friends with them before?
This spring began our second tour with them. We were huge fans, who isn’t? We’ve always liked them and our manager said there’s always opportunities to tour with bigger bands. Found out they were looking for someone to fill in as their opener. One day I got a call that we might be going on tour with them and I was like what?! Now it’s cool because Korey [Cooper] is a mentor of mine because she’s in the same situation as me, being married to Jon and on the road together and the kids and things like that. It’s been really cool to be around them and learn from them.
How do you think touring with them has helped The Letter Black grow?
If nothing else, the fact of so many dates on the road has helped us grow a lot. Before this, we never did anything of this magnitude. So it really brings us into perspective of what this is like. Totally legitimate, real bands – as big as you’re going to be! We got to see and are seeing what life is really like at this level, even though we’re just the openers. 23hrs a day is spent working your butt off and the 1hr is playing and singing autographs!
Personally, what is your favorite The Letter Black song?
I like “Fire With Fire” just because it’s really upbeat and gets me all rallied up. I think my personal favorite it ‘moving on’ because of what the song talks about. I wrote it from past experiences in my life when id been hurt and built walls around my heart and not let anyone in. it ruined my life for many years. I wanted to spread the word for not holding onto hurt. It’s what you do with it afterward that makes the differences. You can hold onto it and let it ruin your life or you can forgive.
What should we be looking for in the future of the band?
As soon as we are done with this tour, we are going to Canada and back and then headlining a Tooth & Nail tour along with summer festivals. In October we’re going to Germany for a two-week tour. In November we’re doing a rock and roll tour in the Bahamas. We’re not going to be sitting down until December! I’m glad that it’s finally picking up and getting business.