June 26, 2015


Interview: Warped Headliner August Burns Red on Their 7th Studio Album

Courtesy of Fearless Records
Courtesy of Fearless Records

August Burns Red is days away from releasing their seventh studio album, Found in Far Away Places. The release marks their first for new label home Fearless Records, and carries potential to top the band's highest-charting album to date: Rescue & Restore, which broke the top 10 on the Billboard 200 in 2013. It also comes an incredible 10 years after their full-length debut, 2005's Thrill Seeker.

All that excitement and nervous anticipation would rattle most to the core, but right now lead guitarist JB Brubaker isn't fazed one bit as he endures the heat and the crowds on the Vans Warped Tour alongside contemporaries like Memphis May Fire, Attila and Hundredth. JB was calm, mature, and to-the-point when he caught up with Fuse to talk about August Burns Red's fifth appearance on the tour, why Fearless won the bid for their new contract, and what themes will be explored lyrically on Found In Far Away Places.

ABR is killing the Shark Stage at Warped Tour this year alongside Motion City Soundtrack, blessthefall and the Wonder Years. This is a really eclectic list of acts for you guys to be paired with for the summer. Have fans of those acts been responding well to ABR?

That’s a good question. I can’t say for sure if fans of those acts have been watching us play or not. I can say, however, that our sets have been awesome and the crowds have been large and responding well. I can only hope there are fans of Motion City and the Wonder Years sprinkled throughout. Warped is all about a community of bands and artists of all walks of life coming together as a unified group. I think most of the people attending are down with that approach to the festival.

How does the Warped Tour experience compare to other tours you’ve finished recently

Warped Tour is its own beast. It’s not like any other tour we’ve ever done. We generally tour in the club scene with our outdoor shows being festivals sprinkled here and there throughout the year. Warped is the only entirely outdoor tour we do. It’s hot most of the time, but I can’t complain because the shows are amazing and we have a bus with delicious A.C. to retreat to when need be. It’s honestly one of my favorite tours to do. We wouldn’t do it so often if we didn’t enjoy it so much.

Are there any acts on Warped that members of ABR are personally fans of? Acts you were excited to be able to watch from the crowd with the kids?

Yes, there are a bunch of bands I’m stoked to see. I love watching Silverstein play. They are great buds of ours and a great band. I also find ’68 to be wildly entertaining. Hundredth puts on an intense show that is certainly worth seeing. I’m also interested in catching some shows at the Comedy Tent, which I believe is new this year.

I read in an interview that you did with Alt Press that ABR had conversations going with a number of labels before choosing Fearless. Can you name those other labels that were contending?

It honestly doesn’t really matter as Fearless was the best fit for us. We are really happy with our decision to be a part of the Fearless roster.

What was Fearless offering that made them the most appealing option?

Fearless Records made a lot of sense for ABR to sign with. We had great conversations with them and we really saw eye to eye on our goals as a band and how we want to proceed as a band moving forward. They respected what we had done as a band and didn’t want to change our process. They just wanted to apply their prowess as a label to support us in getting our music into the hands of as many people as possible. The label is set up so well and everyone is really professional. I’m so happy with our relationship and what we will be accomplishing together in the coming years.

Your new album Found in Far Away Places is out in a week. Your last album debuted in ninth place on the Billboard 200. Are you expecting to top that with this record?

I never like to predict where our records will chart as that is such a difficult number to forecast.  Debuting in the Top 10 with our last record was a really cool career milestone that we will certainly never forget, but Soundscan has been completely restructured since Rescue & Restore came out. The addition of streaming scans from outlets like Spotify have made a major impact on how the Top 200 are broken down. While another high debut would be cool to brag about, I’ll just be stoked if people enjoy Found in Far Away Places. At the end of the day, it should be more about the music than the numbers.

Can you tell us any more about the lyrical themes Jake explores on the new album?

The lyrics on Found in Far Away Places were written by Brent, Jake and Matt. We have been using an open forum for lyrical content in ABR ever since our album Messengers [2007]. We feel this approach gives us more variety to the topics discussed as well as a better overall product. On Found in Far Away Places we cover topics like taking care of our planet, accepting who you are, dealing with loss, questions about the afterlife, etc. We dive into all kinds of stuff.

Is there anything else you’d like to add for your listeners, and Fuse readers?

We are just so grateful for your continued support.  It’s been a dream come true to do ABR for all of these years. If you haven’t heard Found in Far Away Placesplease check it out. We are very proud of this record and I think people are really going to dig it.