In the States it’s almost unthinkable, but here in Europe some metalheads may not know August Burns Red yet. Can you introduce yourself and your band to our readers?
‘Hello, we’re August Burns Red. My name is JB and I play guitar. On behalf of ABR, I’d like to extend a warm invitation to you to enjoy our music.’
The recently released Constellations album is the second album of yours that appears in the US Billboard charts; did you ever see that success coming?
‘Well after Messengers debuted on the chart, we had high expectations that Constellations would do the same. I think that when Messengers debuted in the top 100 we certainly didn’t see that coming. That sort of raised our confidence a bit.’
What was more important in the recording process: your (the band's) approval or a satisfied audience?
‘Band’s approval, 100%. We’ve always approached our music in that manner, and the fans have enjoyed it, so we didn’t want to deviate from what has been working for us.’
How important was Jason Suecof’s role during the recordings of Constellations? And how was working with him in comparison with Tue Madsen who produced Messengers?
‘Jason was really helpful on the vocal front. Him and Jake had a great chemistry and fed off of one another for ideas and improvements. Jason also lent us his guitar wizardry skills by having some cool ideas for tasty harmonies and what not. Jason and Tue are very different producers. Tue is super chill and laid back, while Jason is pretty zany and off the wall. They both are great in their own special ways. I think both experiences were pretty great.’
Can you tell us something about the lyrical themes on Constellations and/or the main influences for August Burns Red in general?
‘Lyrically the songs discuss life in general and often call the listener to action. There’s a lot of darkness in this world, especially in metal. ABR always tries to keep things upbeat and positive in terms of our lyrical content. We often encourage listeners to make changes in their life to better themselves and others they come in contact with.’
Who did the artwork for Constellations and what does it mean?
‘Ryan Clark from Invisible Creature did the artwork. The cover symbolizes a person lassoing a star as if to try and pull heaven down to Earth. The figures flying kites inside the booklet represent our gifts and talents as human beings. The concept was conceived by our drummer Matt and he’s much better at describing it than I am, hah’
Do you have a band hierarchy?
‘I wouldn’t call it a hierarchy but some of us certainly have more important roles besides simply playing shows. We all just try to use our personal strengths where we can to keep the band moving forward.’
I saw a very cool live video of “Composure” on YouTube, with a dance track as intro. Great idea, but more seriously, do you have any interest in other musical genres next to metal? For example electronic music?
‘The dance intro was just to set a fun vibe for the show, which is always our goal in a live setting. We definitely listen to other music besides metal. I’m a big fan of indie rock stuff, as well as 90s alternative, and punk rock.’
What would you choose, doing a club tour together with genre-like bands and playing in sold out venues for 500 exciting fans every night, or supporting Slayer on a couple of stadium shows and play in front of an audience that is hardly interested in ABR?
‘Smaller sold out club shows. If the crowd is dead it’s simply not as fun to play. We feed off of a receptive crowd. We kind of gauge how good a show was based on how much energy the audience displayed.’
Weirdest thing on your tour rider (or if not applicable: what would you ask for)?
‘I’m not sure we have anything too bizarre on our rider. I think we have one of the simplest riders I’ve ever seen actually. Haha I think we have trash cans for our dressing room on there, but is that really so weird? We don’t like to hang in our own trash. hah’
Can you tell us something about the band or a band member that no one knows up till now?
‘Our guitar player Brent is getting married in 3 days. I’m not sure too many people know about that. Sorry ladies, he’s off the market forever!!!’
What does the nearby future hold for August Burns Red?
‘We’ll be hitting the states for a month to do a headlining tour, directly followed by a support tour with Bring Me The Horizon in the UK and Europe, and finally we’ll be doing a TBA support tour in the states directly following Europe. We’ll be on tour solid from Sept 17-Dec 18. Intense!!!’
Anything to add or plug?
‘Please check out our latest record Constellations as we are really proud of it and truely believe it’s worth your time. Also, please check out two awesome bands from our area, Texas in July and This or the Apocalypse. Both are great up and coming metal bands who are going to blow minds in the future. Thanks so much!!!’