Lately Brooklyn’s the Antlers have been the topic of more (and more) conversations. Yesterday we posted a track from the icily anthemic trio’s self-released and emotionally drained/draining Hospice, which is about to be re-released via Frenchkiss. (If you haven’t heard it, as mentioned previously, it’s currently streaming at Spinner.) The band’s here today because frontman Peter Silberman works as a graphic designer at (Le) Poisson Rouge, drummer Michael Lerner’s part of the family real estate business, and multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci has experience as a freelance art handler, installer and gallery assistant.
Darby Cicci: trumpet, bowed banjo, etc.
STEREOGUM: Which galleries have you worked at as an assistant?
DARBY CICCI: I’ve worked for quite a few. Rivington Arms, Jeannie Frielich Fine Art, Harris Lieberman, Stux, Peter Blum. I worked for a couple trucking companies too so I was at different galleries every day. A lot of full days were installing at Gagosian, Hess Oil, Major League Baseball … the list is long.
STEREOGUM: What are/were your duties?
DC: Installing the gallery shows was the main thing. Installations usually need a lot of planning and preparation. Handling all the artwork shipping, transport and storage is part of that. I did a lot of registrar and office work, basically just keeping track of everything and running the gallery. I’ve even sold art.
STEREOGUM: And the freelance art-handing? I know a bunch of people, also musicians, involved in that realm. Do you work with other folks in bands?
DC: Yeah every art handler is either an artist or musician pretty much. It’s been a really flexible freelance job to have and there used to be a lot of art handling jobs. I have nights off so work never conflicts with shows and everybody’s happy.
STEREOGUM: Have you ever broken anything?
DC: I’ve never damaged any art, thank god. I’ve had a couple frames break on me, though.
STEREOGUM: Most difficult thing you’ve had to move?
DC: Anything you need a forklift to move can kill you if it falls on you. Sculptures made of steel, glass, marble or concrete all make me kinda nervous.
STEREOGUM: Do you have any tips for folks who need to package fragile items?
DC: Expect Fed Ex to drop it down some stairs and leave it outside in the rain. Use lots of bubble wrap and cardboard and wrap things in layers. But make things easy to unwrap as well. Things get broken it you need tools to unwrap them.
STEREOGUM: I’m curious how the two different jobs fit together. Have
you ever done both at the same time? Or the different roles in different periods?
DC: Everybody in the gallery world shares responsibilities pretty well and everybody does everything. Some days I write emails and some I install drywall all day. Depends on the gallery, depends on the day.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a background in fine art?
DC: My background is split between theatre, music and fine art if you want to be specific. They’re kind of all “fine art” though, just different media.
STEREOGUM: Do you make any art of your own?
DC: Yeah I’ve done a lot of oil/enamel paintings, photography, and installation sculpture. Mostly just different music projects right now though.
STEREOGUM: Both the art world and the housing market have been hit hard by the economy. I realize this could be said about various things, but these are two fairly lucrative realms that are suddenly cutting back. How has the economy affected your job?
DC: What job? Freelance work has been slower the past few months because of the economy. My job at Rivington Arms evaporated when the gallery closed in January. Lately I’ve been turning down work so I could do Antlers tours. I’m pretty much a full-time musician these days.
Michael Lerner: drums, percussion
STEREOGUM: How long has your family been in real estate?
MICHAEL LERNER: My dad has been in real estate for a long time — around 30 years.
STEREOGUM: What’s the company called?
ML: It’s Lerner Management.
STEREOGUM: Can you explain it?
ML: I’m not really as involved in the day to day operation of things in commercial real estate. Generally, it’s about building maintenance, etc.
STEREOGUM: What’s your role as office manager?
ML: I take care of the bookkeeping and generally keep things organized.
STEREOGUM: How long have you been doing it?
ML: I’ve been doing it since 2005. Before that I was co-owner of a business designing and selling jewelry after many years of “musician” jobs — bartending and renovating apartments.
STEREOGUM: What happened to the jewelry business?
ML: When I decided to go back to playing music, I left the business. Shana Lee Jewelry is still going strong. Shana Anderson, my former business partner and dear friend, has relocated the business to Hudson, New York.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a background in that area? Something you picked up as you went along?
ML: I did not have any formal training in jewelry design before my involvement in the business. Shana tutored me in production — and I jumped right in. it was sort of a trial by fire situation.
STEREOGUM: In the future, would you want to run another business?
ML: I would consider running my own business again if it was something I felt passionate about. In small business you need to love what you are doing because it basically becomes your entire life.
STEREOGUM: I imagine the family’s fine with you taking off time to tour?
ML: My role is sort of a virtual manager as it is I’ll go into the office on occasion, but I work from my apartment. so when I’m on the road, it’s not really that different than what i normally do.
STEREOGUM: How has the economy affected your job? Your family?
ML: I’ve come to see how everyone is connected. People aren’t out there spending as much, so some stores need to close, and that results in empty stores.
Peter Silberman: vocals, guitar, accordion, harmonica, harp, keyboards
STEREOGUM: I’m told you’re a “sort of graphic designer” at (Le) Poisson Rouge. What does that involve?
PETER SILBERMAN: Well, I work on a lot of miscellaneous design things on the marketing end of things. I do banner ads, print ads, posters/flyers, calendars, some web work, etc. I didn’t do the really awesome things, like their logo or website, but more so the stuff that changes/needs updating week to week.
STEREOGUM: How long have you done it?
PS: I started there late in 2008 and have been there ever since.
STEREOGUM: Do you have a background in graphic design or is this something that you sort of fell into?
PS: I’ve messed around with all those programs for some years (PhotoShop, Indesign, Dreamweaver, etc.), not for any good reason really, just sort of to know them. But no, I’m not trained as a graphic designer. I wasn’t originally hired as a designer, but the more I started to do that kind of thing, the more it made sense for me to focus on it. To be honest, I feel pretty guilty sometimes because there are people far more deserving of the job than I, people who went to school for it or have been doing it for years.
STEREOGUM: What’s a typical day like?
PS: I usually leave Brooklyn in the late morning, taking the train to 1st Ave and walk from there, which is a beautiful walk if the weather’s good. I get to the club around 12:30, and people are either setting up for that night’s show or breaking things down from the previous night’s. The rest of my day isn’t much to describe, as I’m sitting in front of a computer for most of it. Toward the end of the day, the office gets more hectic as staff shows up to work the shows. So yeah, maybe not the most thrilling thing to describe, but I enjoy it, and I consider myself lucky to work with a ton of wonderful people who are pretty insane in my favorite way.
STEREOGUM: Do you do any graphic design for your band?
PS: I’ve been making subpar band websites for years and years now, which I did for awhile with The Antlers (though as of late it’s been a blank red page pointing somewhere else). I’ve done a decent amount of it in other areas, like album covers for the EPs that came before Hospice, and some posters (past tour posters, our Insound poster). Lately a lot of the design stuff has been based off our album cover, which I did not design. Zan Goodman created that and we’re forever grateful and indebted to her.
STEREOGUM: The album’s called Hospice — any past experience in caring for the sick, etc? If not, what was your inspiration for the record?
PS: I think I’ve found myself in relationships that have felt more like jobs, staggeringly uneven amounts of taking care of another person. One of those involved a lot of time in a hospital. That’s where the record came from. Sometimes we were in a hospital, and often times the hospital followed us home.
In case you missed it before, here’s “Two, Or, I Would Have Saved Her If I Could.”
- The Antlers – “Two”Download
A remastered version of Hospice is out digitally 6/23, with a physical release out 8/18, both via Frenchkiss.
[Photo by Ben Ritter; L to R: Michael Lerner, Peter Silberman, Darby Cicci]