Today Chart Attack is streaming the Canadian premiere of Familiars, the new album from Brooklyn's foremost band of ethereal indie rock with a very human heart, The Antlers. We got the band's frontman Peter Silberman to answer some questions on the new record's development via email; read that below. Familiars is out June 16 via ANTI-.
What changed in your life since your last record Undersea that inspired this album?
Peter Silberman: So many surface-level things have changed in my life in the past two years, some big and some small, some important and some not-so-important. But throughout all of that, I’ve experienced a change in my attitude and outlook, and that’s hugely informed how I’ve reacted to these changes.
The word "Familiars" suggests a return to something, though the music keeps it emotionally ambiguous. How does the album title reflect the ideas you were trying to explore on the record?
There’s a number of ways you can think of the title, but I think familiarity is an idea that becomes harder to define the more you try to. It’s a feeling of having been somewhere before or having known someone before. It’s the recognition of a resemblance to something you remember, but not the thing itself. Familiarity is so fundamental to being alive, and in a sense it’s a distinctively different experience for everyone. But in another sense, it’s a feeling everyone knows.
The track titles share a regal vibe that's amplified with the sculptures on the cover. Is there a theme connecting them all together?
Not exactly. Some of the track titles are words I found myself repeatedly encountering in things I was reading. Most of the words chosen have a few meanings, not necessarily the most commonly associated definition. “Surrender”, for example, is not meant in the sense of “giving up”, but rather in the sense of “letting go.”
Your records are unguarded and revealing without being exhibitionary. How do you strike that balance?
I think of these songs as fictional nonfiction. I’m intensely connected to the stories, and they are true to me, but they’re not a retelling of my life’s facts. They’re a transformation of my reality, where the names are changed but the point remains the same. The more I believe them to be true, the more real they become.
Lyrically your albums have progressed from personal metaphor to more surreal imagery; where does your new album fit into that?
Familiars is probably some combination of the two. The surrealness helps the metaphor unfold without always having to make perfect sense.