We toured across Canada and into Washington with our friends in Texas In July and Set Your Goals in early April. We flew to Alaska for a few days, playing two shows in Anchorage and doing some sightseeing on and around Mt. Aleyska. Finally, we flew to Belgium for Groezrock festival in April and returned home for a 5-week break. It’s been refreshing to have some time off after writing and recording Leveler. I feel amped to hit the ground running with this record cycle!
You’re also getting ready to leave for a short European tour. How does it feel to be playing overseas?
I enjoy playing in Europe because of how different our fans are there compared to the rest of the world. We are playing Russia, Greece, and Spain for the first time in our history as a band. It’s an unbelievable feeling to think about playing for fans that have never seen us perform before.
Now let’s talk about the new album. How does the sound compare to your past records?
Leveler has songs that are typical to our sound as a band but introduces even more of the dynamic elements of Constellations. My favorite parts of our new album are the ones that are atypical to our sound; the clean sections, the slow parts, the Mariachi riff! Leveler is an album of its own kind in the August Burns Red discography.
What directions does it take lyrically?
We took a similar approach to writing lyrics on Leveler as we’ve done on previous records. Everyone contributed lyrics and ideas for the record, implementing elements of everyone’s faith, experience, and passion into each song. Jake did a phenomenal job conveying the heart of the lyrics we wrote into each and every song on the record. Leveler has words for everyone, a relatable message backed by passion and zeal.
There’s a lot of interesting options for the pre-order packages, including a survival kit. How do you come up with all that stuff? Does it relate to the new album somehow, or is it just for fun?
There are obvious elements of the survival kit that are strictly for fun; case in point… baseball cards! We love sports, specifically baseball, and thought the idea of ABR baseball cards sounded like a no brainer. Other items like the multi-purpose tool and the flashlight/compass relate to the art themes on the new album. All in all, the survival kit is a sweet deal!
This is your second release in a row with Jason Suecof at the helm. Was this intentional, or did things just line up properly? What do you feel he adds to your sound as the producer?
We were both comfortable and excited about our experience with Suecof on our previous record, Constellations. When names started being thrown around for the production of our new album, Suecof’s was at the top of the list. He is so good at getting our best take and finding the best sound for each song. Suecof has great drum ideas and pushed me as a musician in the five days we had together to track drums. I’m pumped on some of the fills and transitions Suecof helped me brainstorm and execute on Leveler. Thanks SUKI!
You’ve also put out six CDs on Solid State by now (4 full lengths, one B-sides record and a live album), which means you must be getting close to the end of your contract with them. When exactly does that end, and do you have any thoughts about what you’ll do after that?
Yeah, Leveler is our 4th full length album on Solid State Records. We have another album with them before our contract is fulfilled. Solid State has been an amazing label to work with for 6 years. Regardless of our future relationship with them, I can say we’ve always been blessed by the opportunity to work with a label that believes in us and the music we’re creating.
It seems like any new metal band out of Central Pennsylvania these days ends up getting compared to ABR. Do you agree that a lot of bands are trying to copy you, or is there just something about the Lancaster area that influences bands to sound a certain way?
I think people have a tendency to compare bands in any region to the bands that have paved the way before them. We’ve been honing and progressively recreating our sound throughout the years. I think it’d be a mistake to say bands are trying to copy us. I think a more proper assumption would be that bands from any area are influenced by other bands that have set the precedent and use that inspiration to eventually find their own sound.
That’s about all I’ve got for now. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the interview! Pick up Leveler this summer and come enjoy a warm, sunny day on the Van’s Warped Tour in a city near you!