Relocating from the U.K. to Phoenix, Arizona, in 2010, indie rock quartet A Silent Film have felt strangely drawn to the states ever since their inaugural tour: “The first time we drove into New York… and ‘You Will Leave a Mark’ was playing on the radio… Never in my dreams could I imagine the songs I wrote in my bedroom as someone else's soundtrack to the skyline of New York City."
It was this epiphany, as well as their new desert digs, that provided frontman Robert Stevenson and the rest of the band, the inspiration for their most recent critically acclaimed effort, Sand & Snow, an album that’s come to define the group’s sound and brought them to the brink of stardom here in America and beyond. I recently connected with the band in advance of their House of Blues Sunset Strip show last week to reflect on their move to the States, unrequited love songs and of course, silent films.
Where does the name “A Silent Film” come from? Also, do you have a favorite silent film?
The name came from a song by the same name we wrote using a piano melody from Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. Although I think one of the finest silent films of all time is City Lights, also by Chaplin.
As a U.K. band, how do you define success here in the U.S.?
In America we are constantly on the move, traveling between performances, shows and promotional trips. Occasionally we'll come across people that have heard of the band in restaurants, hotels or airports and that awareness is a great sign of having reached a certain level of success.
You've toured with quite a number of major bands — The Smashing Pumpkins, Temper Trap, One Republic — over the last few years. Who were you most excited about meeting/playing alongside? Any good backstage stories?
We loved playing with One Republic; they're just incredibly generous people that really made an impact on us.
So far as backstage stories go… I'm afraid for the most part what happens on tour, stays on tour!
Your song "Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well," interesting title… What's the story behind it?
It's a song for anyone who has an unrequited love. I hope people can identify with the idea that true love could last a lifetime, even if for whatever reason it takes time to get there.
The band relocated to Arizona a few years ago? Why choose Arizona as opposed to the more traditional L.A. or NYC move? How has living in the States, and the Arizona desert landscape influenced your songwriting?
We found Arizona to be wild and uninhabited. It allowed us to feel inspired and not so forcefully influenced as you would be, surrounded by miles of tarmac and advertising in either L.A. or New York.
It's an incredible landscape that is far from anything we could experience back home.
Stay up to date and catch A Silent Film the next time they are in town, visit www.asilentfilm.com and follow them @asilentfilm.