Stephen Christian of Anberlin Discusses New Anchor & Braille Album, ‘Tension’


Stephen Christian – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

Anchor & Braille, the solo project from Anberlin’s Stephen Christian, shows off a range of sounds and styles on new album, “Tension”

Stephen Christian is known for his work in popular alternative rock band Anberlin, but when he writes music outside of the “alt-rock” realm, his also has an outlet for that. Christian’s solo project, called Anchor & Braille, just released a fourth full-length album called “Tension,” and it features a unique blend of Motown sounds, electric music and more.

Christian says the idea of the album’s title, “Tension,” came way before the world was actually filled with tension, due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

“When I came up with that and we put it on the record and the vinyl, we had no idea that there was going to be so much tension in the world from COVID-19 to the protests and movement,” Christian tells Audio Ink Radio. “I was trying to do something tongue-and-cheek. The record is called ‘Tension,’ and the first single is called ‘Dangerous,’ but the whole album is designed to make you feel carefree and uplifted and happy, so it was a play on titles.”

The music Christian makes in Anchor & Braille is the opposite from what he does with Anberlin.

“It’s night and day,” he said. “I write all this music, and it’s 100% me. With Anberlin, you have five different guys with different opinions. In that regard, it’s very different. It’s interesting, as far as songwriting is concerned, because whatever is in my heard is exactly what becomes the record.”

He added, “Sonically and musically, it’s different, too. This project is Motown-inspired and electronic, with some pop-rock, and Anberlin is straight up alt-rock radio.”

Listening back to the album, Christian is most pleased with its catchy hooks and melodies. “I’m most proud the fact I think this is the catchiest record I’ve ever written,” he said. “I think the choruses just hits. As a complete record, as far as strong songs, this one is perhaps one of the top records I created in my life.”

Anberlin is often referred to as a faith-based band, and Christian says he, indeed, is Christian, but hopes that both his solo music and Anberlin’s tunes inspire a range of listeners, not just Christians.

“For me, personally, I love Jesus, and I’m a Christian,” he said. “It’s very much entwined in the DNA of the music, although I think that just like art, my songs are open to interpretation, and I long for everyone to listen to our music, no matter what religion they follow.”