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August Burns Red

In October, Pennsylvania-born August Burns Red released their ninth album. ‘Just a bit richer and different in colour than most metalcore acts' is what I wrote about it in my review. I presented the band with a number of questions which were answered by bassist Dustin Davidson. His answers are short but they give a small insight into the band August Burns Red anyhow.

By: Patrick | Archive under metalcore

Congrats on ‘Phantom Anthem’. I think the album holds the typical August Burns Red sounds, though you seem to have gained on complexity and a heavier, more aggressive sound. Was that something you focused on in the process or is it more or less the outcome of a natural process?
I think it was all just part of a natural process. We don’t really sit down and plan out how we want our albums to sound. They just get that way organically, which is nice.

After so many years in metal and with this being the seventh album (eight if I would include the Christmas album), what aspects do you see as your main musical challenges?
I think trying to remain creative and please ourselves while making sure our fans stay happy is the biggest challenge. Obviously making new and fresh sounding material gets harder and harder as you release more and more material.

How does August Burns Red compose a song? How do you determine whether a track is good enough for you/fully after your liking?
The main song writers are JB and Dustin. They usually put together an entire track in a program called Tabit and they send it out to the rest of the band so we can all learn our parts and give any input. Lyrically, Matt and I handle most of the writing, and then Jake puts together most of the vocal patterns and melodies for each song. Everyone has a part to play. We just try and make sure each song has its own identity and stands out. If it does that it can make the record usually.

What do you do to keep working in music and the music itself fresh? Will you pursue alternative genres to avoid your new material resembling old stuff? Or will you strive to keep to what you know while renovating your style to stay true to your original sound and fresh?
We will continue to add new genres, but one thing we need to do is make sure they keep fitting in the songs well. We feel like in the past things have felt a little bit too out of the box, and that’s all just part of the learning process. Fifteen years in and we are still learning how to write songs.

What is ‘Phantom Anthem’ about? Is it comprised of individual tales? How is it tied to your personal lives? Where do you draw the inspiration for your lyrics? From personal life? From books, movies, nature, politics…?
The album is made up of individual tales. We tend to write mostly about personal things, thoughts, or experiences. Matt and I are constantly writing throughout the year and then we pull out the ideas we like and turn them into lyrics.

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Although a band is made up of individuals, being a band becomes a difficult process if you do not work as a whole. Your current line-up has been together for over 11 years now. What is that makes you such a tight unit?
I think that we all know how to push each other’s buttons and we choose to not do that. HA! We also have a great crew, so if someone is angry with another person in the band they can go spend some time with a crew member and cool off a bit so it doesn’t turn into a fight. We’ve learned to talk about our conflicts before they get to brooding as well.

The first video clip that you released for ‘Phantom Anthem’ was for ‘Invisible Enemy’. The video clip stands out because it is full of marionette dolls, resembling the members of ABR. How much work went into that and what made you decide to do the video in that style?
For us there was very little work. HA! The director Sam had the idea to do the video this way because we were having a ton of scheduling conflicts. It was a ton of production work making the dolls and things like that. They had to make tiny instruments and we got to watch the progress the whole time, so it was really neat.

The second video was for ‘Frost’. You first released a lyric video, which was followed a few days later by a performing video. So, it is safe to say the marionette dolls concept was a once in a lifetime thing or will we see them return?
I think it will be a once in a lifetime thing. If they return it will just be for social media fun.

The new album is your second release with Fearless Records and they are also handling worldwide distribution when I’m correct. How has the cooperation been this far? What did Fearless Records bring you till now?
They have been great! The fact that they are a worldwide label only makes things better for us. They also have a great marketing team, and just do a good job of pushing the band in interesting ways.

Are there any other happenings or things going on with you that you would like to let the people know about? Do you have anything to say or add for closure? If there is anything left that you'd like to mention, please do not hesitate…
Thank you all for listening and we will see you in Europe in March!!

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