AUGUST BURNS RED
"We’re excited to
see what we can accomplish on the road in 2006. We’re optimistic right now so
hopefully that will help us have some success."
Burns Red just recently emerged from the deep underground of Pennsylvania,
hoping to make a living through Solid State Records. With the help of Adam D.,
these young (ranging in ages from 19-21 years), hardworking members have released on of the
freshest records of hardcore today. Read on as guitarist JB Brubaker discusses
how the band hooked up with Solid State, their local music scene, latest album
Thrill Seeker and more...
Please introduce yourself :)
My name is JB. I play guitar for August Burns Red.
How did you get together and how did you get signed to Solid State Records?
We were all mutual friends in High School and we had been tinkering around on our instruments when we decided to try and form a band. The early days were rough, but we kept at it and became better players/writers. Eventually we recorded some demos that caught the ear of Solid State. After a few months of chit-chat and a few months of negotiating we were aboard.
What is the music scene like in Lancaster and surrounding areas? Is heavier music popular there?
I think central Pennsylvania is doing very well as far as the music scene is concerned. There’s a ton of bands and many-a-show going on every week. Lancaster has a fairly strong hardcore music scene. A lot of the people involved when I first got into it aren’t around anymore but there’s a new wave of kids who are keeping it alive. Lancaster is great! We love playing at home.
How and in which ways does "Looks Fragile After All" differ from "Thrill Seeker"?
Looks Fragile After All is an EP that shows us as a very young, inexperienced band, both with our instrumentation, and our writing. The tempos are much slower, the riffs much more simplistic, and the overall sound is more along the lines of melodic hardcore with a lot of generic breakdowns. Hah Thrill Seeker shows a lot of improvement in the song writing/playing departments. The tempos are faster, the rhythms more interesting, and the riffs more technical. We’re very proud of what we have on Thrill Seeker so hopefully kids are digging it.
How was working with Adam D.? Many bands that work with him say that he does an amazing job, but he's a perfectionist. Do you agree?
Adam D rules! We love him. Working with him was an unforgettable time. He is a perfectionist, but that’s why the records he produces come out so well. He doesn’t move on until something is played perfectly. There were frustrating moments, but looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Did he bring anything out of you that you weren't aware you were capable of, musically?
Yes, he pushed us to our limits. A few riffs he made us speed up dramatically. I remember he made us speed up this one riff in the song "Barbarian" to a speed we weren’t comfortable playing it at. It’s the part right before the melodic interlude part. Anyways, he’s like this part needs to be way faster. We said we’d try and we eventually got it. To this day I struggle to play it up to speed though. haha
What were you attempting to prove with "Thrill Seeker", or what goal did you have as a band? Did you achieve it?
We wanted to prove that we were no longer the band people knew from our "Looks Fragile After All" EP. We changed a lot since then. I don’t even think we sound like the same band, but regardless, we wanted people to hear Thrill Seeker and think "these dudes are young but they sound like they’ve been at it for years." We just wanted to make the best record we were capable of the time. I’m sure our standards will rise for the next one, but for now, we’re very happy with Thrill Seeker. Whether or not we accomplished what I just mentioned above, I guess time will tell.
How does the title define the album? Where did the title come from?
Our singer Josh (McManness) came up with the title. It was actually the original title for the song "Your Little Suburbia is in Ruins" but we decided we didn’t want a title track on the album so we changed the name of the song. A thrill seeker is someone who isn’t content with the daily routine of everyday living. They’re optimistic and determined. I’m not sure how to explain it. I usually make Josh answer questions like this. haha
Lyrically, what do you discuss in "Your Little Suburbia Is In Ruins"?
That song is about avoiding the ruts we so easily fall into after carrying out the same routine day in and day out. This song and the title Thrill Seeker go hand in hand.
What's the concept of your cover art?
The art direction was handled by the one and only Ryan Clark at Asterik Studios. We gave him full control artistically over the cover art and after listening to the record and reading the lyrics he came up with what you see on our cover. The title "Thrill Seeker" reminded him of danger and taking chances. The universal symbol for danger is a skull, hence the cover art. We’re really happy with the way it came out. We think it looks awesome.
What are your thoughts on the current metal and hardcore scene? Do you think it has become repetitive or at it's peak?
I think the hardcore/metal scene is stronger than ever. You hear a lot of naysaying going on right now. People saying everyone is just rehashing the same riffs over and over, etc. Regardless, more kids are into it than ever before, and I think some of the best metal/hardcore records ever were written in the past year or two. This kind of thing will always be up for debate, but as long as people are enjoying the music, who cares? I believe that it has yet to reach it’s peak and the best is yet to come.
Your individual influences include Meshuggah, Symphony in Peril, Pelican and the Dillinger Escape Plan - traces of these influences are apparent in your music, what is the writing process for your band? How does each member provide a piece?
I write all the guitar work by myself and then I tab it out and send it to our bass player and other guitar player. Then I get together with our drummer and show him the stuff. We work together on strengthening the song structures and the like, and then Matt writes his parts on his own time once he has the structure down. When he’s done, we bring it together as a band and get it as tight as we can. Then our singer writes lyrics and vocal patterns to finish the song off. This has been working well for us so hopefully it will continue.
Do you think the quality of a band's live show defines a lot of what they are about?
I think a good live show is important, whether it be to get across whatever point or message you stand for, or simply to stand out musically. Watching a band perform really shows the audience how the band feels about their music and what they want the audience to get out of it.
Coming up you're playing a few scattered, more local shows in your area, and then you have a tour in January with Sinai Beach, Nodes of Ranvier and Oblige. Are you stoked?
We are indeed stoked! We’re extremely anxious to get on the road again. The cold weather is getting to us. haha
What is the best experience you've had so far or have learned, from being on the road?
We learned a lot while touring with Bury Your Dead and Terror this past fall. They taught us a lot of valuable lessons that will help us keep things running smoothly while we’re on the road. It was great going out with such veteran bands. I won’t go into specifics, but thus far, we have indeed learned a lot.
Within 2006, what would you like to achieve as a band?
We want to tour until we’re blue in the face and then tour some more. Towards the end of the year we’d like to take some time off to record a new record, and then do it all over again. We’re excited to see what we can accomplish on the road in 2006. We’re optimistic right now so hopefully that will help us have some success.
What else would you like to say, to the readers and fans out there?
To those of you who have picked up "Thrill Seeker" thank you! We hope you like it. To those of you who haven’t, get a copy and give it a chance. We think you’ll like it. Thanks for the interview!
We'd like to thank Maggie for submitting this article and to the August Burns Red camp. Click here for live photos of the band on the Silver Bullet Tour.