August Burns Red: Interview with Jake Luhrs

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August Burns Red Band Photo 2013

Whilst on their first UK tour in 2014, Rocksins got the chance to speak to August Burns Red’s frontman Jake Luhrs prior to their intimate Manchester show in the Academy 3. It was a great opportunity to find out how the tour has been and catch up with how August Burns Red have been doing since the release of their latest album Rescue & Restore.

So you’re over halfway through the UK tour now, how has it been so far?

It’s been really good, it’s been a lot of fun. Being As An Ocean and Hundredth are on this tour and we’ve never toured with those guys so that’s kinda neat to be able to get new bands to become friends with and tour with. The shows have been really good, a lot of energy and it’s been a long time since we’ve been in the UK so some of these places that we’re hitting, the last time we were there was in 2008. So it’s really neat that we get to kinda touch base with those places and present our new material.

Any particular shows that have really stood out so far?

Erm, Belfast was a really really good show, Aberdeen was really nice. Where were was it we just the other the day? Erm Dublin. Cause we went to Jameson distillery there and then after that we went and played the show and the crowd was really really great in Dublin so it was definitely one of the highlighted nights or days of the tour for me.

You mentioned about touring with Hundredth and Being As An Ocean, has it been good to tour with them then?

Yeah, yeah I think both those bands certainly have their own sound. The nice thing is that this tour package doesn’t sound the same. You know not only in just the sound but I think the feeling, like Being As An Ocean to me is very emotional music, it’s very I dunno, it’s got this real artsy feel to it. And then Hundredth I feel is more aggressive and in your face. So that’s kind of a cool mix up for the tour package.

How do you feel about touring with bands who have different beliefs or attitudes towards religion to you guys?

It doesn’t matter to us, everybody has their opinions you know and everybody has a mind to think for themselves so erm you know I don’t push my thoughts, beliefs or religion on anybody and they don’t do that to me so I don’t think it’s really an issue. With that being said when you become friends with one another on tour you tend to ask questions, they may ask me “well you know August Burns Red is known as a Christian band so what does that mean to you or why do you believe in Jesus?”. Or just ask questions like “Hey I’m very curious about that faith, what is that all about?”

You released your latest album Rescue & Restore last summer, were you pleased with the reception for it?

Yeah, yeah it’s been really good. We actually got for our first week no.9 on the top 10 billboards in the US which is really really cool, that’s a very big achievement and I’m really thankful for all of our fan who bought the record but it’s been really good. This album has been by far one of my favourites because I just feel like we’re really in our own place, that’s our sound and it’s not that we’re trying to find ourselves anymore. It’s that we’ve already found and we’re solid as a team of musicians.

With this being your sixth studio album do you find it harder to pick setlists for tours now?

I mean it’s hard for us to pick because we like songs that our fans don’t like, I mean we may like songs that we wrote that may not be as popular to our fanbase, but at the end of the day we have to play what our fans want to hear and that’s not necessarily difficult. You know you can find numbers, views or hits of what are obviously your more popular songs. So that’s we do, we just kinda surf the internet for figure or gauge the songs and we play those.

That leads me onto my next question, what are your favourite songs to play live?

Favourite songs to play live? Erm I think off the new record Spirit Breaker or Beauty and Tragedy. I personally like the song Animals, I know that may not be a huge hit with the fans but I like to play that song live. And then obviously like our older stuff like White Washed or Composure, those songs are always great to play. Even if you don’t like playing them they’re great because the fans love them. So it’s like you know I’ve played White Washed for years and years and years so obviously it’s a little worn out for me but when I see the kids go crazy, that obviously helps me enjoy the song you know?

Some of your songs often include different styles and influences, is this something you think more metalcore bands should do?

Yeah erm, you know honestly I don’t know, I wanna say no because that’s what we’re doing. So I don’t want anyone to mimic or replicate other people. I mean if you’re put a band in a genre, then obviously they are gonna sound similar to other bands that are in that same genre so I’m not discussing that. I’m discussing going outside of that box, erm I would encourage metal bands to go outside the box. I’m not gonna say go outside the box and do what August Burns Red is doing, I would say maybe be a little inspired by what we’re doing and let that lead you to thinking of a different way to write metal music of your own so you have your own identity, I think that’s important.

Back in 2012 you released a Christmas album, would you ever consider doing something like that again?

Erm, you know maybe, I don’t know I think that album was for our die hard fans. Every year we do a Christmas show in our hometown and every two years we were releasing a Christmas carol for our fans and now that we have the full record I don’t see us doing another one unless it was in high demand then maybe we would.

Finally once you finish this UK tour what else do you have planned for 2014?

Well what I can tell you is we’re going to Australia and doing Soundwave, so that’s really exciting. And then after Soundwave we’re gonna be doing main support for Asking Alexandria in the States. And then after that I’m not 100% certain cos we have some things up in the air but nothing really confirmed.

A review of August Burns Red’s show at Manchester Academy with Being As An Ocean & Hundreth is available to read here. We’ll keep our readers posted on any further news from the ABR camp as it is announced.

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