Up-and-comers at Pitchfork Music Fest: The Antlers

A&E interviews The Antlers after their set.

The three points of The Antlers.

Jules Ameel

The three points of The Antlers.

The beer-swilling, pot-smoking and dance-heavy themes of music festivals are especially conducive to bands like Pitchfork Festival âÄô09 headliner The Flaming Lips. Their show is a party full of balloons, confetti, dizzying lights and good vibes. Brooklyn art-indie band The AntlersâÄô latest disc, on the other hand, is a concept record about cancer, abortion, loss and death, told in the first person. Not exactly the soundtrack for zany outdoor festivities. However, the groupâÄôs rockier live show is starkly different from their intensely emotional recorded sound, and they were standouts in front of throngs of party people at Pitchfork this past weekend. Led by their earnestly melancholy frontman Peter Silberman (the group began as his solo project), The Antlers combine his heavy lyrics and achingly tender delivery with the depth of Michael LernerâÄôs drums and Darby CicciâÄôs multi-instrumentalism. But did their serious tones kill buzzes at Pitchfork? Quite the contrary. Hearing the Antlers live is like hearing a completely different beast. And such it was Saturday as the sensitive threesome sounded like an honest to goodness rock band with the credibility of intelligent emotionalism to boot. With the re-release of their acclaimed LP âÄúHospiceâÄù set for a late August release, the men of The Antlers found time after their set to chat with A&E. You write really intimate songs with heavy themes. How does that translate to a festival setting? Peter Silberman: I guess the challenge is to make it a communal thing. Kind of engage the audience. Play a set that tries to pull people in. Is it as effective? Silberman: ItâÄôs different. Michael Lerner: Also, playing the songs, IâÄôm not in the state of mind, like, âÄúoh, IâÄôm depressing in a hospital.âÄù ItâÄôs bigger than just the specific, literal things in the songs. Is the concept of âÄúHospiceâÄù based on anything real? Silberman: Yeah, it was based on past life experience âĦ the past couple years. A relationship kinda falling apart, moving forward from that. Was it hard to write? Silberman: Oh yeah, definitely. It was a long process, a process of working through stuff, trying to understand it and turn it into something positive. ThatâÄôs kind of the point of the record, to turn something very negative into something very positive. Is it cathartic when youâÄôre playing in front of people? How do you feel? Silberman: ItâÄôs weird. We play a lot of shows now, almost every night. So, not necessarily reliving it every time, but you feel it. You try and not necessarily go back into whatever itâÄôs about, but just get across the emotion of it. Will the next record be a concept record, too? What sort of form is it taking? Silberman: Not sure, we literally just came up with the idea a couple weeks ago. WhatâÄôs the idea? Lerner: WeâÄôre not really talking about it. Silberman: WeâÄôre not at liberty because weâÄôre not totally sure. Lerner: ItâÄôs really the beginning stages. And weâÄôre kicking ideas around Darby Cicci: We still want to be able to get rid of the idea if we want. If you guys had my job, what genre would you dub yourselves? Lerner: You came up with one âĦ what was it, sad-core? Silberman: [Laughs] Sad-core? Lerner: I think someone else said that. Again, thereâÄôs a disparity between the record âÄî which is its own life âÄî and playing live. So the two genres would defiantly be different. But you had a good one âĦ Silberman: Narrative shoe-gaze. Where do you hope to be in a year, as a band? Silberman: IâÄôd like to have another record out. Lerner: A new record, weâÄôre looking into playing Europe. Maybe get down to Australia , Japan. Get around to some of those interesting places around the world. Silberman: Some permanence, I guess. ItâÄôs all moving upward very quickly and itâÄôs all really exciting, but weâÄôre looking forward to some stability. ItâÄôs all very new right now.