Anberlin is an American alternative rock band from Winter Haven , Florida , formed in 2002. Members of Anberlin originally formed a band under the name SaGoh (Servants after God's own heart) 24/7 in the late 1990s, releasing two studio albums, Servants After God's Own Heart (1999), and Then I Corrupt Youth (2001), before having a change in musical direction and name. Anberlin was formed in 2002, within a year of forming they had signed with semi-independent record label Tooth & Nail Records and released their debut album, Blueprints for the Black Market (2003). Although Blueprints for the Black Market failed to chart, it was spurred on by the single "Readyfuels", the album sold over 60,000 units.
They released their follow up to Blueprints, Never Take Friendship Personal, in early 2005, again produced by Aaron Sprinkle.
"Friendship was a really big album for us," admits Milligan of the worldwide success that sold in excess of 140,000 copies. "But Cities is such a shift from that. Because we were out on the road for so long behind our second record it actually gave me the time I needed to pace myself and bring in the strongest material I could."
"Anberlin has always had really good songs," says Stephen of the group's past output, which counts 2003's Blueprints for the Black Market and their 2005 breakthrough Never Take Friendship Personal. "Still, I think this is the first time we've got a really great album. We spent most of our energy on the entire project over the individual songs."
Anberlin's third album produced by Aaron Sprinkle was released in early 2007 under the title Cities. It sold 34,000 copies in its first week of release, debuted at #19 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Crafted at Sprinkle's Seattle-based Compound facility, with drums captured at the infamous London Bridge studio (where classic albums by Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Temple of the Dog and Blind Melon were realized), Milligan says he's grateful for the opportunity to work where so many legendary discs were born. "It's out in this wooded area, like 40 miles north of Seattle ," he says. "And there's this incredibly huge live room there. So we all got together in pre-production to play out the songs and the place had the best feel to it. You actually felt like you were a part of this historic place and it was the perfect vibe to get the record started."
"We just all got in a room with a bunch of percussion instruments," Christian says. "And everyone just started playing while Joey played guitar and I just sang whatever came to mind. And that's how the song took shape. I was watching a DVD of the Stones and they had taken the same approach. So I really wanted to try it and I couldn't be more pleased with how it turned out."
As for the tender Cable Car, the song came together when a riff Milligan had slated for an interlude was given life. "When the rest of us heard what Joey had written, we were like, 'There is no way that we are going to leave that as a simple interlude. It's an amazing guitar line. It has to be a song," Stephen says. "And while we didn’t set out to write a ballad, we kind of wanted to integrate different approaches into our repertoire. To make them part of our song book."
"We never said when we set out that we want to be the biggest band," Christian says humbly. "I don't really care. I enjoy the experiences I've had and the travel. I do feel like we're ready to get to the next level. We're very confident about the work that we've done."
As for the band's mission as Christians, Stephen says, "It's not like we have a huge platform. We're not Coldplay or U2, but I want to touch people's lives. I've got two routes to go. I can either go the sex, drugs, and rock & roll route – which is so temporal – or I can invest in people's lives. When I look back on my life, I want it to have meaning."
"I’d like to think we have more in us, and even broader spaces to cover in the future, but this is our proudest moment," Milligan concludes. "I don't really have any goals for the record. I'd just like to have it find its way into the hands of as many people as possible. Not for glory but because we're so proud of it."