An Interview with August Burns Red: Home Away From Home

With several amazing records, countless tours, and a positive attitude toward music, August Burns Red are dominant in their genre for a reason. Each time I have seen them live, I leave with a smile on my face and a newfound sense of appreciation for the music they make. They recently embarked on The Frozen Flames Tour with Miss May I, Northlane, Fit For A King, and ERRA, and they will be stopping at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Saturday, March 7.

I had the chance to chat with guitarist JB Brubaker about the new tour, soon-to-be-released music, how much they love New Jersey, and so much more. August Burns Red are grateful for where they are at today, and will continue to make music that the fans want to hear. Check out the chat below!

First and foremost, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! We are so excited about The Frozen Flames Tour with you guys, Miss May I, Northlane, Fit For A King, and ERRA! The lineup is great. How did this package come about?

            Thank you for covering ABR and our tour. We are very excited about it as well. The package came together after much deliberation between the band, our management, and promoters. We all had ideas on who to take out and we wanted to build a really memorable show that metal fans would want to make it a point to see. Once we locked Miss May I in, I was dead set on bringing Northlane out. They postponed the recording of their new record to do this tour, so we are really grateful that they would rearrange their schedule to play with us. Fit For A King are old labelmates of ours and while we are no longer a Solid State band, we still love that label and their bands. ERRA is a cool up-and-coming metal band that caught our ears and were gracious enough to do the tour. It’s cool because we really built the tour we wanted. That seldom happens.

We have been seeing that a lot of shows have already been sold out. After all of your records and countless tour dates, do you find each tour that you are seeing new generations of fans?

            Yeah, absolutely, but there are also a lot of repeat fans who have seen us five or six times. We are so lucky to have devoted fans who have grown with the band instead of bailing after a couple albums. I heard someone say that your fancies will recycle and start over every three years. I agree with that to a point, as I still talk to new fans every show who are seeing us play for the first time, but like I said, we have a core group of followers that have stuck with us for the better part of a decade. It’s really cool.

You will be hitting our neck of the woods at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on March 7. From experience, you guys are beloved in New Jersey, whether you are the headliner or the opener. Do you find that in certain states the fans are crazier?

We love playing in New Jersey! It’s not far from home and there are a ton of metal listeners in your neck of the woods. The Sayreville show is the second-to-last show of the tour and I’m glad we have an awesome town to look forward to playing at the tail end of the tour.

I find that different countries are crazier than, say, different states. America as a whole has a pretty consistent response to our live show. Obviously there is some deviation but I can’t say one state is the most wild or one state tends to be more subdued. In my experience, the countries who get less tour traffic tend to be the craziest. Places like South America and Asia are a completely different experience than playing in the States.

Now of course, as a fan, I have to ask about new music. Now working with Fearless Records, when and what can we expect?

            You can expect a new full-length in your hands sometime this summer. We’ll have more specific details about the album in the spring. Fearless has been great to work with. They didn’t try to change our approach. They just basically said, “Here’s some money, go do what you do and make an album. When it’s done we’ll be pushing it as hard as we can.” I’ve heard rumblings of people saying, “Oh no, they’re signing to a label where bands sing. ABR is going to go soft.” The new record certainly isn’t soft. If you’ve been a fan of the band, you’re going to love the new record. I love it and can’t wait to start sharing new songs with people.

On your last record, Rescue And Restore, I felt as if you guys challenged yourselves a lot creatively. In fact, it even reached #9 on the Billboard charts on its release week if I am not mistaken. On each album cycle, where do you draw inspiration from? I can imagine it would be a challenge to come up with new stuff and continue to reinvent the wheel.

The goal is to continue to set ourselves apart from the pack of mediocre and boring metalcore bands. I know that sounds sort of mean or pompous, but anyone who claims this genre to be creative and moving forward obviously hasn’t spent much time within it. We aren’t trying to reinvent the metalcore genre, but we certainly aren’t interested in sounding like the latest wave of bands. I’m so glad that our listeners have been supportive of us trying new things and playing parts that aren’t remotely metal. It keeps things exciting for us, and hopefully does the same for those listening to our music.

I also love the string arrangements on the last record. Can we expect more of that?

The new album certainly has some strings and a lot of surprises. I’d say more surprises than ever. We cover a lot of ground on this new album.

I think it’s safe to say that your band is 100 percent a forerunner of your genre. I see it every day; a lot of younger bands look up to you, and not to be negative, but almost try to copy you. The face of music has changed drastically since you guys have started. Do you find it to be a reoccurring theme that bands aren’t being as original as they should be, especially in this genre?

Thank you, that’s nice of you to say. Unfortunately, I would agree that there isn’t a lot of originality in this genre at the moment. It’s the “cool” style of music to a lot of people, and as a result there are a lot of copycat bands. That’s honestly how it always goes. When punk was the big thing in the late ’90s and early 2000s, it was the same way. Everyone wanted to be in a punk band and things got watered down.

I hear stories of bands showing up to record their album with no songs written, just banking on the producer to write for them. Also bands showing up and they can’t play their instruments or songs and they basically program their music. That’s sad to me. Don’t be in a band if you can’t write or play. Find another hobby.

One of the most complimentary things I can say to you is your records are just as good as your live set, and I can’t say that often. I continue to become a bigger fan with each record. On a personal note, what are some artists that you guys have grown to love over the years?

That’s awesome! Thanks so much. We do our best each and every night on stage. It’s honestly the most enjoyable part of being in a band. Some of my favorite artists at the moment are Balance & Composure, MewithoutYou, Between The Buried And Me, Death Cab For Cutie, The National, and Matt Pond.

Once this tour is over, what are your plans for this summer?

            The plan after this tour is to work hard at properly setting up our new album for release. I’m sure we’ll be on the road a lot to support the album but I can’t comment on any specific touring plans at this point. We have plans in the works, though. 2015 is looking to be a busy and exciting year for us.


Be sure to catch The Frozen Flames Tour with August Burns Red Saturday night, March 7, at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ, and Sunday night, March 8, at the Theatre Of Living Arts in Philadelphia. Tickets are on sale now. For more information, go to