Anberlin Are Honouring Their Creative Freedom By Applying The Yes Rule

Anberlin tour Australia January 2024.
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

"When we got back together in 2019, I didn't think it'd be another four or five years before we went back to Australia!"

For Anberlin guitarist Christian McAlhaney, the band's upcoming return to Australia has been one that has – for some time now – remained a distant horizon.

It won't be long before the Floridian alt-rock favourites are back with Australian fans once more however, the drought in between appearances Down Under set to break in the second half of January.

It will be a triumphant return for the group who, after reforming in 2019, grew past wanting to simply perform together again ("We weren't trying to tour full-time, but definitely more than zero times"), into properly following a rejuvenated desire to create, back into the studio.

Leading to the creation of both the 'Silverline' and 'Convinced' EPs in 2022 and 2023 respectively, Anberlin's hunger to bring this new music to life alongside the rest of their beloved catalogue has led them into a new chapter for the band.

"The approach we had in reforming the band was the same approach we took into writing the music," McAlhaney says.

"At that point, we were basically fully independent, doing whatever we wanted to be doing. You could look back and see the mistakes you made, the boxes you may have put yourself in and the ways you limited yourself in the way you thought about your art; the way you thought about how you should write, or how Anberlin can or can't sound, from a very weird lens.

"We started saying, 'There are no rules, so why are we trying to play by some rulebook?' – it's about honouring yourself and this thing you've created, that other people are a part of.

"To a fault, I think we have limited ourselves in the past by saying, 'We shouldn't do this, we can't do that,' so when we reformed, when we redressed the set, that's been a big part of the writing and creative process. Just allowing ourselves to write and submit demos we may have never done before, because it may not have 'really sounded like Anberlin'.

"Now we're like, 'Don't say that, just submit it!' It always becomes Anberlin, even if it starts out sounding like The Cure; at the end of the day, when we all put our touch on it, it's going to sound like Anberlin. That's where we landed. We quit saying no, and started saying yes to see where it would go."

Yet with this period of creativity and a return to touring, came a bittersweet bookmark for Anberlin; with the 2023 announcement that vocalist and frontman Stephen Christian would be taking a hiatus from touring at the end of the Australian run.

For fans and the band alike, it makes this Australian tour an even more celebratory run – a tip of the hat to Christian's time with Anberlin (at least for the foreseeable future), as well as an acknowledgement of the continued connection between the US group and their fans here, so far from home.

As McAlhaney explains, the decision for Anberlin to get back together and make a proper go of things, needed to take a variety of personal commitments into account.

"Before, when we were a full-time band, you ate what you killed. That was your job, that was how you supported your family – there was no real option to do other things," he says.

"When we reformed, people had other jobs, they had other things they were responsible for; we were trying to figure out if we could make this band fit into all these other things, in a way that serves ourselves and serves our fans again.

"We were looking around like, 'There's no real reason why we can't get back together and play some shows, because we want to do it,' so we decided to do it completely on our own terms: find everyone's availability in 2019, which worked out to about two months total between Australia and the US run. It went great, but it was never a full on, five-year plan, if you will."

This trip will see the group perform at venues through Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, before wrapping up in Melbourne with two shows – including a special celebration of their records 'Never Take Friendship Personal' (2005) and 'Cities' (2007).

Supported by Hawthorne Heights and The Word Alive, Anberlin are ensuring that fans are left with a memorable experience – given the unpredictability of touring post-COVID, the strengthening of bonds between artists and their fans feels more paramount than ever.

"We really haven't been able to truly relaunch since then," McAlhaney says. "Just due to different constraints with each person in the band's personal lives and jobs. We always look forward to Australia, so it was such an exciting thing when I knew we were in conversation with promoters in Australia to be coming back."

As for the future of Anberlin, McAlhaney is optimistic about how 2024 is set to shake out in this interesting post-Stephen Christian phase. Joining Anberlin on vocals is Memphis May Fire's Matty Mullins, someone who Christian himself tapped to step into his shoes when he had made the decision to step away from touring.

"It took me a minute to wrap my head around it, because it's just a weird thing to conceptualise," McAlhaney admits. "It was pretty unprecedented. There were a lot of discussions, I called everyone individually and I think the initial reaction was, 'Oh my gosh, I think we're probably going to have to break up again,' but the more we thought about it and the more conversations we had, the more discussions we had with Matty and with Stephen included, it started to feel like there were two options.

"We couldn't keep doing what we were doing, it wasn't sustainable; you'd have to wind things back down again, which would be totally frustrating for ourselves and the fans. The other option was to give things a shot – again, yes is always more fun than no. You never know where yes can lead."

- written by Sosefina Fuamoli

Anberlin 2024 Tour Dates

Sun 21 Jan - Astor Theatre (Perth)
Tue 23 Jan - The Gov (Adelaide)
Thu 25 Jan - Enmore Theatre (Sydney)
Fri 26 Jan - The Tivoli (Brisbane)
Sat 27 Jan - Northcote Theatre (Melbourne)

Sun 28 Jan - Northcote Theatre (Melbourne)* sold out

Let's Socialise

Facebook pink circle    Instagram pink circle    YouTube pink circle    YouTube pink circle

 OG    NAT

Twitter pink circle    Twitter pink circle