The Letter Black: Change Is Necessary
- 2009 19 Nov
If you knew anything about The Letter Black before they became, well, The Letter Black, then you're in for some surprises.
Gone is the "Evanescence-y" sound of their last record. For that matter, the entire name has changed as well. While the players are the same—that being vocalist Sarah Anthony, guitarist Mark Anthony, bassist Matt Beal, guitarist TJ and drummer Matt Slagle—the band formerly known as Breaking the Silence is armed with a new sound, new album and new label home. And now they're ready to take things to a new level.
CMCentral recently sat down with Sarah Anthony to discuss the band's hot new touring spot alongside Hawk Nelson and Skillet on the "Awake and Alive Tour" as well as the changes in and around the band.
CMCentral: Can we start with the name change from Breaking the Silence to The Letter Black? Is there a story there?
Sarah Anthony: There was already a band that was out called Break the Silence and they broke up in 2004. The sound was way too similar obviously, so we just changed the name to avoid any confusion. I guess they still had CDs in stores and stuff even though they'd been broken up.
CMCentral: Was there anything else that changed with the change in identity and use that as a reason to change other things as well?
Sarah: You know, the last record we did on our own, we recorded with Travis Wyrick. It was more of an eerie rock. We were still figuring out writing style and what we liked as a band and what we were influenced by. I'm so glad we changed our name because this new record is just totally us. It's not influenced by anything but what we like and who we are. It's this new sound and it's not as eerie rock or Evanescence, you know? [Laughs]
CMCentral: So that was a comparison you got a lot the last time around?
Sarah: Yeah, we got the strings happening and it was slower and more melodic. It wasn't intentional, but that's how it came out. This one is a lot larger rock sound, so the new name makes sense. It's a new start.
CMCentral: Moving from Travis to Toby, did that play into the new sound?
Sarah: Toby didn't change anything at all, really. Coming into the studio, we'd written about 40 new songs and we ended up taking 15 to actually record. So we came in with those songs and we actually did all 15, so he didn't change anything. When we wrote with Travis, he helped us tweak things, because, as I said, we had just started out as a band. We were brand new and still babies forming, so he helped us find something that worked.
But when we'd gone to Toby this last spring, we'd become who we were going to be. We are who we are and there was nothing needed to change. We just came in there and did the 15 songs.
One thing with Toby was the very long hours with him. We came in Monday through Saturday and started at 11 in the morning and worked until 12, 1 or 2 in the morning. We did that for two months straight, so it was very tiring hours. But it was all right, because you'd lay down on the couch and take a nap when you weren't recording.
CMCentral: You're five days from the album release and a week from this massive fall tour, so how is everyone doing?
Sarah: Well, we're very, very excited, but we're also running around like chickens with their head cut off. Right now, I'm doing an interview in the van and we're running around trying to get all the equipment together. We've now got the new banner in the mail and we still have yet to get the CDs, so I think those are going to be dropped at our first show.
It's just craziness getting everything together. But we are very excited. So we're not nervous to perform at all. That's the easy part. So just getting things organized is the crazy part.
CMCentral: No nerves involved?
Sarah: No, I don't think so. Well, maybe the first couple shows before we go on, there might be some excitement sort of nerves, if that makes sense. But none of us are very nervous about anything.
CMCentral: How'd the spot on the Awake and Alive tour open up for TLB?
Sarah: We had a show in Knoxville, Tennessee and we got a message saying Jeff Roberts Booking Agency wanted to come out and check us out. So we thought that was cool and they came out and by the second song, he was offering us contracts. [Laughs]
He knew he wanted to make a deal through his agency and we loved them anyway, so it was a good place for us. We say yes, of course. Next thing we know, people asked us about doing a Skillet tour. We were like, 'Uh, let me think about it. Yes.' [Laughs] It was really exciting.
CMCentral: That does seem a fantastic platform from coast to coast for you guys.
Sarah: Yeah, we are very, very excited. We can't wait. We're having to wait for these final days to go by and it can't get here fast enough.
© 2009 CMCentral.com. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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**This interview first published on November 19, 2009.