INTERVIEW: Silversun Pickups are ‘Feeling Better’ and coming to Vancouver

Silversun Pickups gear up to play the Commodore Ballroom

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Fifteen years in a relationship is a milestone most of us can admire. In a new millennium rock/pop band, it’s a significant achievement. That is how long the Los Angeles quartet have been playing and touring, since forming in 2002. As they prepare to visit Vancouver for their first time in five years, Vancouver Weekly caught up with drummer Christopher Guanlao.

Vancouver Weekly: You have circled the globe a couple of times and have been on the road a while. What is normal? Being at home, or being on the road?

Christopher Guanlao: I can adjust to either. A lot of the times you are on the road, and you want to be home. The grass is always greener.  Sometimes, you are at home and want to get back on the road. But honestly, we’ve been touring this record (2015’s Better Nature) for a while and this is our last tour leg. So we are ready to get off the road and work on a new record.

VW: That brings me to my next question, as you’ve been touring this for a while. What will 2018 bring for the band? Are there songs that are ready to be worked on?

CG: Yes, there are. We are finalizing studios and producers and trying to dig all of our gear out of our storage space and our rehearsal space. 

VW: Do you road test some of the material before you hit the studio?

CG: No, we haven’t done that in a while. We did when we were a younger band. Now we do a lot of writing and creating in the studio. Now we have to create the songs, then teach ourselves to play them before we head out on the road.

VW: It’s been 15 years, no small feat. It’s often stated that just sticking with it is the key to success in art and business. How has the band persevered over the years and what has changed?

CG: I was just talking about this last night with a friend. It helps that we were friends for quite a while before we were a band together. We treat each other more as siblings. We have to love each other regardless and I think that helps us get through a lot of difficult patches. We’ve learned to resolve our fights by the next day, or often that same night and that helps a lot to keep everyone sane and to stick together. Some of the band has kids, so it’s more of a family atmosphere than anything else.

VW: When you started out, moving CDs was a success measure. What are the band’s current success measures?

CG: Yes, definitely. It’s funny because when Neck of the Woods came out, our sales were the same for the first few weeks and that was successful for us and now, even that doesn’t happen. We don’t sell many records. Nobody does, unless you are Adele or Katy Perry. It’s all touring now. The fact that we are able to do this tour after two years of touring this record and have a last hurrah that is selling well is great! And this has been a question with our management and booking agents. Because no one is selling records and people make more money on touring now, they have to, there is so much more competition now. Everyone wants to tour more, there are more festivals. It’s hard. So when we were able to come out and get love from our fans and sell out some places on our tour, we realized, we are definitely doing the right thing. We’re doing Okay!

VW: You’ve circled the globe now as a band. What are some of your favourite venues?

CG: Our last international tour was in South America and that was really amazing. It was part of Lollapalooza and we had a really great time. The crowds there are so crazy. It was really nice to finally go there as over the years we had a lot of contact with fans down there from Brazil and Chile over social media and it took us a while to get there, but once we did it was really worth it.

We’re really looking forward to the show up there. We haven’t been to Vancouver in a bit, so we’re really excited. There was a time when we were going there all the time so it’ll be nice to get up there again.  


Silversun Pickups play the Commodore Ballroom on Thursday October 26 in Vancouver.