In 2011, the immensely popular metal group Atreyu announced they were going on a hiatus. It was a much-needed break for the band. As their success heightened, they were accompanied by business professionals in the studio, and took every show they could. What started out as a passion, a love for playing music, slowly became a chore, a job. The band knew they needed to take time off and regroup.
Almost five years later, and the band is back. The mission is to start out like they did when they were younger. Keep it fun, relaxed, and make their passion the main focus. And what a better way to get things going than paying a tribute to what piqued their interest in playing music in the first place? Like the hardcore/punk bands the guys in Atreyu looked up to, they put out their very own 7’’ single. This Record Store Day exclusive features a brand new song and is the band’s first 7’’ release.
I had the opportunity to chat with the band’s drummer, Brandon Saller, about their contribution to Record Store Day. He talked about what it was like writing new music and how it eventually led to their new full-length, which is looking to be released this fall. We also discussed the band’s relationship with their label and how it has helped them ease back onto the road. There is nothing more important to the band than their fans, and their passion for music. Check out what Brandon had to say below:
First off, it’s great to see you guys back at it. How is it to be back in the swing of things?
It’s been awesome. After being away for so long, it has been cool to come back and see the fans just as excited as us. And over the last few years, we have gotten some new fans that maybe never really listened to us before or are just getting a chance to see us live for the first time. So getting to see some new faces as well as some familiar ones has been really great.
At what point during the hiatus did you guys talk about getting back together?
A couple of the guys brought it up and then we all sat down and had a discussion about it a year ago. That was kind of the moment where we wanted to turn the engines back on and see how it felt. We began with a few local shows and then wrote some new music. At that point, everything felt good, natural, and exciting. The consensus was that it was the right time. I think a lot of our fans were thinking the same thing.
When did you begin writing for the new record?
Well, it developed over the course of the past year. It started last summer with a few songs, and we kept chipping away at it. A few tracks here and a few tracks there. We actually just finished the new album a few weeks ago.
Did you approach it any differently compared to your other LPs? Was there more pressure because of the break?
It was actually very laid back because there was no pressure from a label. When a label first got involved, we made it pretty clear that the only input we wanted on this record would be from the five of us. Luckily, we found a label that believed enough in us to agree to that. We wanted this to be an outlet for everybody in the band again and we wanted it to be fun.
And that is slated for a fall release?
Yeah, I think we are looking at September or October. Somewhere around there.
What led you guys to Spinefarm Records?
They basically signed us without hearing a note, which is awesome. They still have barely heard the new music. They know the band, our history, and what we want to do. It’s great to not have anybody from the label in the studio with us. No one is telling us what they think we should put out.
You’ll also be releasing a 7’’on Record Store Day with “So Others May Live” and the brand new track “When the Day Is Done.”
Yeah, it’s really cool because the band has never released a 7″ before. We grew up listening to those though because we were fans of hardcore/punk bands. So we thought it would be cool to do one of our own. And it is just a great event to acknowledge local record stores and support buying music.
Are you a RSD shopper yourself?
I am! There are so many good releases this year. I love the idea that everything is exclusive and limited. I think it is cool to just go to the local record stores and get lucky.
Absolutely. And it must be cool to come back as a band and see the success of RSD and vinyls. It brings collecting back into music.
Definitely. I love that it brings the idea of having a music collection back. It is nice to see more and more people care about the artwork, the packaging, and even what color the vinyl is. The more people that get on board with this idea, the better the commerce of the music industry will be. In a way, it brings appreciation back to music.
So does all of that come to mind when you work on the album artwork?
Yeah. All of our art recently, with the 7’’ and some of our promo stuff even, has been done by our bass player Porter [McKnight], who is an incredible photographer. He will be doing the artwork for the new album and we love that. We grew up looking at the artwork and we actually care about that stuff, so we are making sure we take it all into account for this release.
As for the shows, everything is going well? Having a good time?
Yeah, we did a few fly-out dates or short runs here and there. We are just picking and choosing, and getting back into some of the markets that we really enjoy playing in. For example, New Jersey has always been so extremely amazing. I don’t think we have ever had a bad show in New Jersey. That will be one of our first East Coast shows in almost five years.
Absolutely. Starling Ballroom is a great local venue.
Yeah, it’s such a great venue because no matter where you are, you have a great view of the stage and of the show. It has a phenomenal intimate feeling, which is great for bands like us.
Being able to pick your markets must really help easing back into everything.
Yeah. Before we stopped touring, we would play every show that was offered to us. It got to the point to where it wasn’t exciting anymore. Not only for us, but for the fans as well. We could be in a city one night, and be right back there three weeks later. Then a month or so after, we could be playing an hour away from there.
So we are trying to carefully ease into everything. We may not play another show in New Jersey or New York for a while. We want it to be an event. We don’t want it to be where the fans just saw us. We don’t want it to be boring. We are being careful with everywhere that we go, and as we get back into it, we are having a great time.
Atreyu will make their way to Sayreville, NJ on April 25 to perform at the Starland Ballroom. Look to your participating independent record store for the exclusive Record Store Day 7’’single with the brand new track “When The Day Is Done.” Head over to atreyuofficial.com for more info on the upcoming full-length and future tour dates.