Interview: August Burns Red

Thank you for taking the time for this interview. You are just about to get onto European headliner tour. How did you choose the locations you are going to play at?

We wanted to play lots of places we’ve never been to before and give people a chance to see us who have been waiting for a long time. We are returning to a few cities we played when we were over in April as well, but I think the majority of the cities are new to us. We are especially excited to go to Portugal and Scandinavia.

Who is going to support you on this tour?

There are going to be different support bands at every show. We thought it would be cool to do a tour where we have local support playing with us in each market. When we were just getting started we were always SO excited to play with a national touring band and I think that’s something that has been lost over the past few years. It seems so many tours have four or five bands on them and there’s just no time for any local bands. We’re trying to return the favour to all the national bands who let us play with them when we were just starting out as a local band. We think it will be a lot of fun to meet and hear tons of new bands.

What about the feedback you received for ‘Messengers’ so far? Are you totally satisfied with it, or were there reviews you were not?

Fortunately I can’t say I read a single negative review for Messengers, or perhaps I just got lucky and missed the bad ones. Haha Nonetheless there were critiques that some of them had that we are trying to take into consideration. I read a review that complained that we didn’t have enough solos on the record and that’s something we’re planning on trying to incorporate a little more into our next record. Not the kind of solos you’d hear on like a Metallica record but some really big open shreddy lead sections. We’re really excited about it.

Try to define the difference between ‘Messengers’ and ‘Thrill Seeker’! What were you trying to change from your debut to the new album?

The difference is pretty simply for me to define. Thrill Seeker was kind of all over the place musically. It was our first record and we were still searching for our niche. On Messengers we kind of came out of our shell and wrote a much more focused metal album that we felt flowed from beginning to end. Thrill Seeker is perhaps more progressive which is an element we are interested in bringing back on our follow up to Messengers. Messengers is simply more metal and thrashy, which is something we all enjoy. I hope that’s suffices in defining the difference.

Let..s get to the “crossfire” part of the interview (10 questions that are always the same in each interview):

At home:
In which way do you write your songs? Does anyone of you have kind of an initial idea, or do you just play on and on until something sounds interesting to you, or another way?

Our writing process goes as follows: JB writes a song and rough drum ideas, then tabs it out on a program called Tabit which he sends to all the other guys in the band. Everyone learns the songs while JB and Matt work together on solidifying the structures and tempos. Once JB and Matt are satisfied they teach Brent and Dustin any changes that were made. Then the song is brought together and tightened up live as band. Once that happens Jake comes in and puts his vocals in. Simple as that!

Except playing music, what do you do in your free time?

I love baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies. During the six month baseball season I seldom miss a game. It’s a huge passion of mine. We’re all big Philadelphia Eagles fans and love American Football. Other than that we do the standard stuff young adults do these days. We enjoy hanging with our friends, watching movies, partying, BBQing, etc.

Is AUGUST BURNS RED job, vocation or hobby?

It’s become a job but it’s a fun job and we love what we do.

On the road:
Vegan, straight edge, or rather sex drugs and rock..n..roll? What does a perfect catering look like?

We definitely are not vegan or straight edge but we are far from sex, drugs, and rock n roll. We all eat meat and enjoy the occasional brew but we’re not the kind of band who comes off stage and starts raging and womanizing. We all love a good nights rest and trying to live a healthy lifestyle so we can have some longevity in this business. Living a “rockstar” lifestyle will quickly take a toll on you both physically and emotionally. We have no interest in it.
Ideal catering? Baked salmon, chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, fruit salad, green beans, corn on the cob, and apple pie with ice cream. Booyah!

If you could choose, who would be your favourite support band on a headlining tour / who would be your favourite headliner you would support?

I guess we need to choose bands that are realistic. We listen to a ton of music that isn’t metal and some of our favourites simply wouldn’t make sense to tour with us. If we could have any bands support us it would probably be Emmure, This or the Apocalypse, Life In Your Way (RIP), and One Dead Three Wounded (RIP). Those bands are some of our best buddies and we’d have a blast touring with them and hanging out.
If we could support anyone we’d love to go out with As I Lay Dying again. We love those guys so much. Also would love to tour with Killswitch Engage, Cult of Luna, Lamb of God, or Nada Surf. Nada Surf will never happen.

What was your greatest event live or on tour by now?

Best tour we ever did was when we supported As I Lay Dying in May throughout Canada and the United States. Huge shows and great people. Lots of fun. Best live event for me who probably be Sonshine Festival in Willmar, Minnesota this past summer. The show was insane. Such an awesome crowd response and so many people in attendance. It was something I will never forget.

Imagine you are stranded on a secluded island and your I-Pod has a defect. It only will play one song (which is none of your own ones). Which one?

The Decline by NOFX. It’s 18 minutes and it rules. I’m sure I’d get sick of it but I’d rather pick a super long song then a short one so it gets less repetitive.

If you could start again at the beginning of your band, would you do anything different than you did?

I think I’d try to write a less crappy first demo.

How much does the music you are doing mean to you? Are there limits in what you would invest (time / emotions / finances)?

There are limits musically to what we would do. We will probably never use clean vocals in our music and I can’t see us drastically changing our style. We love what we’re doing and don’t want to be a band that completely changes up what we’re doing to try and be artsy or cool. If we felt the need to change our style we’d probably end August Burns Red and reform under a new name. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
I’ve pretty much poured everything I’ve had emotionally into this band. I’ve only had one serious girlfriend since this band started five years ago and ultimately it ended because I was more “in love” with the band. Emotionally, this band takes everything I’ve got.

The very last question:
If there was a question you always wanted to be asked, but never were asked yet, what would it be and what would be your answer?

If I could be asked one question it’d probably be: “What do you think of the Phillies baseball team this year? Where do you see them next year? What off season moves do you think they’ll make? What are you predictions of the 2009 club?”

Thank you for your patience, all best wishes for the future.

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