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Interview w/ Boston's Own Silhouette Rising

Rounding out the week with an interview featuring Boston based pop-rockers Silhouette Rising. The guys have a knack for injecting elements of sadness through their music to give it a dark edged tone that makes the gents stand out from a musically aesthetic perspective. The guys were nice enough to devote some time to do an interview as we find out more about them including the formation of the group, their creative process, what it means to be a band from Boston, and what life is like away from the studio. Here is the transcript from our chat:

Give us your names and roles in the band?

I’m James DiNanno. I play the drums in Silhouette Rising and usually write the lyrics. My brother Rob DiNanno plays keys and sings. Cam Liberatore is the lead singer, guitarist, and main song writer. For our final album “Happiness III” we also brought the lead vocalist/guitarist of the band Ballyhoo!, Howi Spangler on board. Howi produced this record, sang and played some guitar. We also were lucky enough to reel in former Alien Ant Farm bassist Tye Zamora.

Take us behind the formation of Silhouette Rising and how you all met?

So I am actually the last original member of this band. We formed back in 2004. We had one lineup through about 2010, then another up until early 2013. After that lineup fell apart, my brother and I joined forces with Cam. Things really locked in very quickly. It was meant to be. I almost think of it as 3 different bands at this point. Rob has been a part of the ride since about 2009.

Describe your musical influences that have shaped the sound of the group as a whole?

We have been a band for almost 15 years so our influences changed a lot over the years. But I think we always keep a taste of what shaped us in the sound, which is cool. Back in 2004, we wanted to be a post hardcore, alt rock band. We were listening to a lot of Thrice, Glassjaw, Circa Survive and Alien Ant Farm. It’s extra cool that we were able to work with Tye, since AAF really shaped the way I rhythmically approach anything. In 2009 we started getting more into Sublime, Dispatch, Incubus…funkier stuff. Then when Cam joined we really changed the sound and sort of fused our reggae influences with some pop influences. Rob loves The Fray, and Cam is really into The 1975, Twenty One Pilots, stuff like that. We got pretty invested in the band Ballyhoo! around the same time. The way that band combines these pop melodies and electronic elements with driving guitars and some advanced rhythm stuff definitely inspired us. It was a dream come true to work with Howi because of that.

How did you come up with the name Silhouette Rising?

Back in 2004. We were playing our first show and quickly needed a name. Practices would be in this tiny, sweaty attic of my parents shed. At the end of practice one of us came up with the idea of getting our band name from one of our favorite artists song titles, or album titles. I suggested the word Silhouette (stupidly….no one can spell that shit) because Thrice had a song called Silhouette. We just added the rising because we thought it sounded cool.

What's a typical writing/recording session like for the band and what are some challenging aspects to it?

It is always different. For this album everything was very non conventional. Cam was networking and song writing in Nashville at the time and we were in Boston. I would text him lyric ideas, he would send me recorded demos with guitar and vocals. Then we would practice over those. The challenging aspect to this album is that Cam got in a very bad car accident while we were in the demo phase of things. He was in a coma, and hospitalized for a year. Everything was extremely uncertain and music was put on hold for awhile. Rob and I were just concerned about Cam surviving at that point. Though Cam cannot speak, he is fully aware of everything, happy and continues to defy all odds. He can’t speak right now so we had to fine tune his demo vocals and build the instrumentals around those. It was a very backwards way of doing things but we made it work. Howi had this really positive, but still realistic attitude towards it all which helped. I remember hanging on the bus during Warped Tour and he was like “this is going to be very tough…but we gotta do it. We will make it awesome.” Howi is one of the best people I know.

Being from Boston, what does it mean to you to come from that city and what are your favorite venues to play in?

We love Boston and take great pride being a part of this community. I think Dave Grohl was really onto something with Sonic Highways. Every city shapes the music community a certain way within it. I think you can hear Boston in our music. We actually have a song called “Boston Strong” written very shortly after the marathon bombings. It’s about the kind nature, and perseverance the people of Boston have. We might be sarcastic and sometimes rough around the edges, but everyone looks out for each other. TT the Bears was one of our favorite spots to play. The Middle East Club and The Paradise are also awesome.

Besides music, what do you like to do for fun and leisure in your spare time?

Rob and I run a family wedding DJ business. That keeps us busy. We are all big movie buffs. We love watching new movies, even making short films. I love running and playing tennis. Rob is a great cook. Cam is pretty much an everything music kind of guy. He also loves hockey.

What's coming up next for you, any upcoming shows or new music in the future?

This is it man! Cam is going to continue focusing on his health and recovering. We are closing this chapter. It has been an amazing ride and it is bittersweet. We might do a big show at the end of the year to celebrate the end of the Happiness Trilogy but otherwise, it is farewell for now. Silhouette Rising had a good ride. I think our job is done. We are going out strong.

Lastly, what is your favorite thing about being in this band together?

When Cam, Rob and I decided to start the Happiness trilogy we were unhappy with things. The whole point was to musically document our pursuit of happiness and see where it took us. We also wanted to inspire others to do the same. The fact that along that journey I met my (now) wife, Rob and I made a best friend in Cam, worked with some of our favorite musicians (Howi Spangler, Tye Zamora, Jonny Craig, Nick Santino, Dane Schmidt) and learned a lot about giving back to people, that is my favorite. The experience of helping Cam, encouraging others to find happiness, all of that. We have one fan over in the UK who sent us a letter. He was into drugs badly and came across our song Rehab. From there he dug deeper into our music and used it to motivate him during recovery. Stuff like that makes this all worth it. I can say that our journey has made me a much better person.

Thanks to Cam, Rob, and James for taking some time out to do this interview! While this is the last hurrah and the swan song for the group, the guys are very proud of the music they created during their time together, and are able to forge these memories together into something that they'll look back fondly on down the road, where they'll be able to correlate their life experiences into a wide range of emotions. For more on Silhouette Rising, 'Like' them on Facebook from this locale here.

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