Arts & EntertainmentMusic

A 'Familiars' story: Antlers' Peter Silberman finds spiritual center

MusicEntertainmentThe Antlers (music group)
Via @latimes: The Antlers' Peter Silberman doesn't shy away from deep questions
Latest album 'Familiars' evokes newfound stability for the Antlers
The Antlers will showcase new album over the weekend at the Troubadour

"I'm definitely pretty obsessed with the sense of self lately," said Peter Silberman, leader of the introspective indie rock group the Antlers.

It's a notion heavily explored in the band's fifth studio album, "Familiars." The carefully crafted record is pieced together by soft yet engulfing arrangements and paced like a thoughtful conversation that, like Silberman, doesn't shy away from deep questions.

"Is there a solid core at the center of me that defines everything that I do? If you look really closely at it, you find out that there isn't," Silberman said. "You sort of have this constructed identity that's carried you through your life, helped you make decisions, gives you a sense of what your conscience is, what your personality is, who you are. It's a pretty malleable center."

The Antlers' center has shifted considerably since the project's inception. The Brooklyn-based band started off as Silberman's solo project, which he recorded in his bedroom. "I might have had high creative ambitions, but I never had high commercial ambitions," said Silberman.

It was the transition into the Antlers' breakthrough third album, "Hospice," when Silberman began assembling the group into its current trio of multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci and drummer Michael Lerner. It was a poignant time for Silberman, who was struggling with the disintegration of the relationship with his girlfriend.

Silberman transformed that grief into the metaphorical concept of "Hospice," recounting the relationship between an ill child and caretaker in a cancer ward. Released in August 2009, the record struck a chord among indie rock listeners.

"I think at the core of it there was a pain that everyone was sharing and a processing of that pain that transcends the specifics," Silberman said. "For me, airing some of those grievances … [was] a way for me to make sense of my own situation."

"Hospice" served as a key time in the growth of the Antlers because of the attention the trio received along with the perception of being a "sad band" given the album's grim subject matter.

"The band may have a bit of a reputation for making music that is kind of depressing, but I think they're more complex than that. There's a lot of hope in there too," said KCRW DJ Dan Wilcox, who has played the group's music on his Sunday night show. "I've been a fan of the Antlers for a few years, but on their new album 'Familiars' it seems like they've really upped the ante."

As the band began working on the follow-up to "Hospice," Silberman acknowledged that the group needed to continue evolving.

"We worked on this record for a long time, and I think throughout a lot of the process it didn't necessarily feel like we were making progress," said Silberman. "It was a slow burn of a creation, and I think that helped us be more mindful of one another and of the way that we make music."

On "Familiars," Silberman's vocals have also moved away from his usual falsetto — a sound that he felt contributed a sense of vulnerability to the band's music — and into a tone that's closer to his natural speaking voice.

"I think it was kind of about finding a spiritual center," said Silberman of his new approach. "The center to me … became a place of stability, a place of peace."

Stability factors into the song "Director," as the Antlers seek to understand how the past shapes a person. "You will hate who you are / 'til you overthrow who you've been," Silberman sings.

"Sometimes your ego tells you that you're terrible," said Silberman. "I think the idea in "Director" and that line is to say, 'Forget about that. Forget about this idea of who you are. You will continue to fall into the same patterns for better or for worse until you drop that story about yourself.'"

The Antlers are set to showcase "Familiars" on Saturday and Sunday at the Troubadour. It's as an opportunity for the band to reveal their progression while reflecting the stability that Silberman feels the new album evokes.

"I think the record on a certain level is about trying to find home when you are far from it," he said. "It's just about knowing where to look for it and knowing how to find it in yourself."

Twitter: @jimeasterhouse

-------------------------------

The Antlers

When: Sat.-Sun., 8 p.m.

Where: Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd, L.A.

Cost: Sold out

Info: http://www.troubadour.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
MusicEntertainmentThe Antlers (music group)
  • Jon Pardi joins country's party
    Jon Pardi joins country's party

    The 29-year-old singer-songwriter is delivering rip-roaring party songs, like other exemplars of 'bro country,' but his tunes are sly and even tender too. He's building an audience, club by club.

  • Motley Crue goes out with a bang at Hollywood Bowl
    Motley Crue goes out with a bang at Hollywood Bowl

    Explosions rocked the Hollywood Bowl early. Fireballs during Mötley Crüe's "Saints of Los Angeles," the opening song of the metal band's farewell tour, pushed heat into the cheap seats.

  • Lady Gaga looks for raves at Staples Center
    Lady Gaga looks for raves at Staples Center

    Lady Gaga needed to get Staples Center to start dancing on Monday night. "For all of you who don’t know about 'Artpop'," she said, alluding to her most recent album and its lumbering tour title, "ArtRave: The Artpop Ball," "grab a glowstick or get the …...

  • Chop & Quench brings Fela Kuti's 'The '69 L.A. Sessions' to life
    Chop & Quench brings Fela Kuti's 'The '69 L.A. Sessions' to life

    It was proclaimed more than once over the evening at California Plaza that history was being made in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night as part of the Grand Performances series. For the first time, a choice selection of the iconic Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti's music, created during...

  • Pursued by youngsters, Jason Mraz is mellower than ever on 'Yes!'
    Pursued by youngsters, Jason Mraz is mellower than ever on 'Yes!'

    Ed Sheeran was only 11 years old when Jason Mraz released his major-label debut in 2002. But over the last few years the young British singer has risen quickly to challenge Mraz’s once-secure position as music’s go-to acoustic folk-pop guy. This month Sheeran’s “x” entered the Billboard...

  • Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, an L.A. band, stare at 'Hypnotic Eye'
    Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, an L.A. band, stare at 'Hypnotic Eye'

    Before easing into a conversation about his new album with the Heartbreakers, "Hypnotic Eye," the longtime Malibu beach-dweller Tom Petty has a score to settle. It's in response to an old Times survey of Los Angeles' most enduring rock bands.

Comments
Loading