With this year’s Vans Warped Tour already in the books, most bands are already looking ahead to the rest of 2013 and planning for 2014. This year’s tour also saw a huge number of bands releasing brand new albums while on the tour, adding to the experience for fans.
Of those bands, August Burns Red, has had one of the largest-growing fan followings over the past few years and their newly-released record, Rescue and Restore, has been an instant hit with fans and has been discovering new fans as well.
Staying true to what they believe, where they stand and what they sing about, August Burns Red are quickly becoming one fo the most powerful forces in metal and this year saw August Burns Red playing one of the two main stages of 2013’s Vans Warped Tour and the band shows no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.
They recently took some time to sit down with The Front Row Report to talk about Rescue and Restore, playing Warped Tour and what their experiences have been with the iconic traveling festival, Christmas albums and more.
TFRR: Rescue and Restore is the new album, which is the follow up to Leveler. What was the main goal with this record?
ABR: The main goal with Rescue & Restore was to write an album that pushed ourselves and the genre in a different direction that the genre as a whole seems to be headed. We wanted to separate ourselves from the pack and try to lead the genre in a new direction. It’s always been a goal of the band to try and stay ahead of the curve. Hopefully we’re accomplishing that.
TFRR: Was there a specific message or meaning you wanted to get across to fans and listeners here?
ABR: The songs on this album talk about lots of different topics, as is the case on every ABR record. The lyrics come from everyone in the band, not just one person, and for that reason we don’t ever have a central theme to our albums as far as content goes. We do our best to keep our lyrics positive and filled with hope. That’s important to us as a band. There’s a lot of trash out there for people to put into their heads. We don’t want to contribute to that.
TFRR: How much does the title of the record reflect your faith?
ABR: The title of the album has nothing to do with our faith. It has a lot to do with the current state of our music scene.
TFRR: When writing Rescue and Restore what was the main theme and focus you had in mind?
ABR: The focus was to write an album that sounded like a more grown up and eclectic ABR. We tried to avoid following the trends of most of our contemporaries, as there is a lot of metalcore out there that we aren’t particularly fond of.
TFRR: With a brand new record, this seems like the perfect time to embark on Warped Tour. Can you tell me what attracted you to Warped Tour again? This is the third or fourth time you’ve done the tour.
ABR: Warped Tour is probably the best place for us to release a new record. The crowds are huge and it’s a legendary tour that we are always grateful to be a part of. I can’t think of a better tour for us to reach so many people in such a short amount of time. Warped is great.
TFRR: How much of a toll do the alternating performance schedules take on you as musicians? Is it more of a challenge to keep everything firing on all cylinders?
ABR: Warped isn’t terribly demanding for us as musicians. We don’t have a ton of responsibility during the day. We have a show to play and a signing to do. That’s about it. The tour is much more taxing on the guys working the merchandise booths and the people setting up and tearing down the stages every day. It’s amazing how smoothly everything comes together considering how massive a production Warped tour is. It’s almost a work of art.
TFRR: Having played Warped Tour a couple times in the past, how do you prepare for the tour this time around and how has this year compared to previous tours?
ABR: We prepared for the down time better this year. We bought a couple tents to use backstage at our bus as well as a small grill and a ton of chairs. We have a great hang out area ready to roll in less than 10 minutes. In the past we would mooch off of other bands that had the foresight to get this sort of thing together. Now we are some of the vets on the tour so we’re taking the hangs into our own hands.
TFRR: In 2012 you did your first Christmas album. What led you to do a Christmas album and how was your experience creating one?
ABR: We had been doing Christmas singles every year for a few years and had gotten a lot of fan feedback asking us to do a whole Christmas album. The stars finally aligned and we had enough time to dedicate to the project. It was one of the more stressful albums for me to record due to the vast number of instruments and sounds we used to make the album. It was a lot more complex than drums, bass, and guitars. It also took us forever to mix it as there were so many layers and tracks to get just right. I’m proud of how it came out though and it’s an album I’m glad we did.
TFRR: There’s always a great number of Christian musicians on Warped Tour. Have you had a chance to connect with any of them at all?
ABR: There is a bible study held once a week or so after the show is over. That’s a great place for everyone to get together.
TFRR: What are some of the best crowd experiences of Warped Tour this year and what are some that stick out in your mind from previous tours overall?
ABR: My favorite shows were in Denver, Chicago, Toronto, West Palm Beach, and Houston. West Palm Beach really stands out to me. We played pretty early that day and a massive thunderstorm was rolling in. The crowd was bonkers and full of life. It was so cool to look out over a massive crowd of people circle pitting and crowd surfing while this ominous dark sky hung over us. About ten minutes after we finished playing the tour was hit with the worst storm of the entire tour. It flooded a bunch of the stages and was a big mess. The show must go on though, and a couple hours later everything was back up and running like usual.
TFRR: After Warped is over, what’s on the horizon for August Burns Red?
ABR: We have a lot of touring planned. We will be doing headline tours of Europe and North America, and have a lot of plans for 2014 that I’m not at liberty to talk about at this point. It should be a busy 18 months for us. I’m looking forward to it!