This August Burns Red interview took place May 9th in Richmond, Virginia while sitting in the band’s van. I would like to thank Dustin, Brent, and Jake for taking the time out for the interview and being really nice, entertaining guys. Make sure to pick up their new record, “Messengers”, on June 19th . Get ready for the heaviest, most addictive record of the year.
– State your name and position in the band.
Brent: My name is Brent and I play guitar.
Dustin: My name is Dustin and I play bass.
– Give a brief history of the band and the origin of the name.
Brent: Uh, the history of the band is we started when we were seniors in high school, most of us, in March 2003. Then we started just playing some shows, we recorded a demo, released an EP, and than more demos. And than we got signed to Solid State from those demos and we put out “Thrill Seeker”. And now our New album, “Messengers” is coming out June 19th.
We got our name, it’s really ridiculous story. We had our name because in high school, one of our best friends, Jon Hershey, who was also our vocalist at the time. But right before he joined the band, he was dating this girl named August. And the relationship got a bit out of hand and he really wanted to end it. So he ended the relationship and instead of getting just sad about it, she got really really really angry and Jon at the time had a dog named Redd, it was an Irish setter and it had red fur and everything. So she got really mad, went up to his house, and burned his dog Redd alive, in his dog house. And the name and everything comes from, because the next day, the headlines in the newspaper in the local news was “August Burns Redd” and then we just kind of went with it. It really affected Jon, so when we were picking a band name, that was one that stuck in his head, so he decided to use it. So our name doesn’t mean nothing, it just had a really weird and kind of gross meaning.
Dustin: And Redd was spelled with two D’s.
Dustin: Jon didn’t know how to spell.
Yeah, I read that story online and I wasn’t sure if you guys were serious or just making it up.
Brent: Nah, it’s messed up. It’s a messed up situation. It was a while ago, so we can kind of look back and not be so upset about it.
– What impression do you want to leave the audience with after playing a show?
Dustin: I want to leave the impression that we did really good, that we played tight. Kind of like, you know, you sounded like the CD. You can compare us to the CD and “Wow, they sounded really tight and moved around a lot, they just didn’t stand in one position.” I’ll just really like them to say ” I’ll like to come back to see them again, they were so good.”
Brent: I want to entertain people.
Dustin: Yeah, I don’t want to, I just don’t want to stand there, I want to move around and let the kids have fun. We’re having fun, we want the kids to have fun with us. We want them to interact with us and have fun with us. So that’s what I try to do every show.
Jake Luhrs, lead vocalist for August Burns Red enters the van.
Brent: Jake has just entered the van, so he’ll be talking too.
Jake: What was the question?
What impression do you want to leave the audience with after playing a show?
Jake: That was a fricken awesome rock show, that is what I came to see. I just want them to have a great experience, have a great experience of live music, enjoy the atmosphere, enjoy our message.
– What has been the best and worst show in the band’s history?
Jake: I’ll cover the worst show.
Brent: I know one of the worst shows.
Jake: My worst show, well our band’s worst show I believe, when we were on tour with Ringworm and we played this skate park. There was about 30, 40 kids that showed up for the show and I was severely sick. I had a huge fever and our bassist Jordan, at the time, Jordan Tuscan was really really really sick. And so, he ended up not even playing, he played two songs?
Brent: Nah, he got up on stage and did sound check and threw up in his mouth, so he couldn’t play.
Jake: So we played four songs without our bassist and I felt like, so bad. That was definitely our worst show.
Brent: The best show I’ve ever played, the festivals are awesome. And every time we play at home is awesome.
Dustin: Last time we played at home was awesome.
Brent: Yeah, we just played at home last Saturday. It was incredible. We love playing home and Cornerstone and those festivals are the best.
Dustin: Tonight was a lot of fun, except my wireless keeps cutting in and out.
– What is the best aspect of being on tour? The worst?
Brent: The best aspect of being on tour is being able to actually go out and….
Jake: Have fun.
Brent: Yeah, have fun. Play shows for people every night, get to see the country, all over North America and everything like that. The worst is…
Jake: Overnight night drives because you get a layer of like….
Jake: Some kind of film that covers your body and basically it’s your germs with everyone else’s germs and like fart, cough, snot….
Dustin: The van usually smells like….
Jake: Butt hole.
Dustin: Yeah…well you didn’t have to say that. The van usually smells like stink. So that’s definitely one of the worst parts of being on tour. I’ll say the worst part is playing inside in July, which we are getting ready to do, playing indoors, not having AC, get drenched to the point where you can ring your shirt out, and than coming out and doing an overnight drive. I just combined them all.
Brent: Yeah it’s awful. Also, getting sick on tour is terrible because you can’t get better. It’s impossible.
Jake: I was sick from the beginning and I’m still sick.
Dustin: And you don’t get enough sleep.
Jake: You don’t get enough sleep on tour anyways. Everybody.
Dustin: Yeah, that’s what I said.
Jake: I thought you said I didn’t get enough sleep.
Dustin: No, I said you don’t get enough sleep.
Brent: He means “you” as a whole.
Jake: I know, I know.
– In your opinion, what makes the band stand out compared to other bands?
Brent: I’ll say….
Jake: Our sick Hollister apparel.
Brent: No, we don’t look like other metal bands. That’s one that people usually point out. We also try, a lot of people say we have our own distinct sound. A lot of off time stuff, not so much four four, everything like that. As far as live performances, we really try to put on a good show for people and some metal bands try really hard but can’t move around as much. We put a lot of effort into being creative, like in our music and on stage.
– How do you think having a different vocalist on each record has affected the overall sound and message of the band?
Jake walks away and than comes back (he’s the third vocalist in August Burns Red).
Brent: Ah, Jon Hershey, the first vocalist, we were so young when we made that record. We were a completely different band. The main difference I see between Josh and Jake is Josh would fill every part with words, which is cool, a lot of weird and really hard patterns. Whereas now with Jake and stuff, we try, we look for more catchy patterns rather than the weird patterns. And obviously all their voices are different.
– How would you sum up the new record to someone that has never listened ABR?
Jake: It’s a metal record. If you like metal..
Dustin: I feel like there is a lot more of…
Jake: I’m not going to be like one of those dudes that’s like, “If you like ravishing riffs and falcon screeching screams.”
Dustin: I think the new one has a lot more harmony in the guitars. There is definitely a lot more of that, there is off time stuff everywhere. Still a lot more harmony now. It’s a lot catchier.
Jake: What’s the…oh sorry.
Dustin: You cut me off. It’s alright, I’m done.
Jake: What’s the original question?
How would you sum up the new record to someone that has never listened the band?
Jake: Do you want us to use band names right here?
No, I don’t like that at all.
Brent: I’ll say that it’s a record that has catchy parts that’ll are going to get stuck in your head, but it also has some off time stuff that’ll make you think.
Dustin: It’s a really good progression of Thrill Seeker, I think.
– How do you think the fans are going to receive the new record?
Jake: Hopefully in a positive way. That’s what I’m thinking.
Brent: We haven’t really had, from all the comments on the new song we put up, we haven’t really had, there has barely been anything negative. I think if you like Thrill Seeker, you’ll like this one because as a band, I think so many kids worry about bands getting softer and losing their sound. But as a band, we got way more metal.
Jake: It’s true.
Brent: So if you like Thrill Seeker, you’ll like this one. It’s a progression, everything from the instruments to everyone’s abilities and our writing skills.
– If you had to do a cover album, which bands and songs would you want on it?
Dustin: We’ll all have different ones.
Brent: Cover album….what bands would I want to cover?
Dustin: I’ll say something like Darkest Hour..
Brent: No, I would want to cover something that is not metal.
Brent: For the longest time we thought about covering that song by Destiny’s Child, “Say My Name”. I just thought that would be funny. A Foo Fighter’s song would be cool too. Or that Blur song, that woohoo song, I forget the name of that song.
Dustin: Puddle of Mudd?
Brent: No, Blur.
Dustin: That’s the band name?
Brent: Yeah, Blur.
Dustin: I don’t know who that is.
Brent: Come on.
Dustin: I really don’t know who plays it.
Brent: Woohoo. starts humming song.
Dustin: Oh yeah! I know that song.
Brent: Yeah, that’ll be fun.
Dustin: Spice Girls maybe, my old band used to cover Spice Girls. I just thought I’ll let you know.
Brent: We’ll probably cover a lot of people like Johnny Cash….
Dustin: Aerosmith. I’m kidding. I don’t know, that’s a tough question.
Brent: it’s a tough question, it’s a hard one to think about because nothing pops into my head right now.
Dustin: I would want to do something that is funny. I want to have some serious songs too like some rock, but I want do something like “My Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira. That would be so funny.
Jake comes back after leaving for a few minutes.
Jake: What’s the question?
Brent: What songs we would want to cover on a cover album.
Jake: My stomach hurts so bad right now.
Brent: That’s not a song.
Jake: Freaking Madonna, anything off of Madonna.
Jake: Rod Stewart maybe, The Boss, I love the Boss.
Brent: We’ll really love a cover of “The Boys are Back in Town”…
Jake: “Born in the U.S.A”, that’s a good song.
Dustin: This will never be done.
Brent: We did record a cover though, for this album. We recorded a cover of “Carol of the Bells”. We’ll hoping it’ll make a Christmas movie.
Dustin: Maybe Home Alone 4.
Brent: Yeah, I think there is already a 4.
– In your opinion, what would be the greatest accomplishment for the band?
Brent: Right now as a band we have accomplished a lot. One thing I would like to do is….raise a family while still being in the band. That’s something that everyone, I think wants to do. It’s kind of hard, right now we make enough money to go home and pay our bills and still have money left over and stuff, so we have already accomplished being able to support ourselves. The next level will be to go to the next level as a band, like keep getting bigger and bigger and gaining more and more fans. I just want to do what I want to do, which is this, and still be able to have a normal life back home.
Yeah and not have to leave the band because of it.
Jake: Yeah. I kind of have a goal that will maybe, probably never going to happen. Mine will be to have a platinum record on my wall. That would be so legit. You walk home and you look at the platinum record every day. Maybe on your doorstep.
Brent: Maybe you can do guest vocals on the next Reliant K record or something, than you can get one of those.
Jake: I want one!
– What goals did you have when the band started and how do those goals stand now?
Brent: When the band started, we just wanted to play with bands at home. We were just a local band, we just wanted to play shows.
Dustin: Just have fun.
Brent: As you go, it sort of progresses more and more and more. Next step for us would be to hit up most of North America. Going overseas right now is a big goal for the band.
Have you ever been to Europe?
Brent: No, not yet. Every time we try and go to Europe, it falls through. We don’t know why.
Jake: We are coming though.
Brent: Yeah, we’ll be there.
– If someone was only going to read the lyrics and not listen to the music, what would you hope they take away from them?
Jake: Well our lyrics are pretty blunt and some of them are built around a story or something that has actually happened. So it’s not like random stuff like, you know? And you can definitely make sense of it just by reading it. Just the message that is in the lyrics…
Brent: I just want kids to be able to connect with the lyrics that we write. On the new record we wrote a lot of stuff that a lot of people can relate to. I know some of the songs that I wrote, I just tried to make songs that I know everyone kind of has a problem with, that they struggle with. I just wanted to be able to write down and have kids read it and then have the song have a positive message to them and they can relate to it and be more into the song I guess.
Jake: I think on this record compared to the last one touched a lot of subjects that are kind of touchy, like a lot people don’t like to talk about. And we wanted to bring those up above water and kind of confront those and make people think. We just didn’t want a girlfriend/breakup/heartbreak record.
Brent: Yeah, there isn’t really any song about girls.
Jake: There was one that I really wanted to get on the record but…
Brent: They vetoed it…
Jake: Because it was about a girl. But all the songs have a message about them. None of them are about break up stories.
Brent: The songs do touch some touchy material..
Jake: Divorce, drug abuse…
Brent: A lot of people have problems with their faith, problem with their church. We wrote about how Christian homes a lot of times will shelter their kids and not let their kids experience things. A lot of parents are just, they are against everything and they are for nothing.
There is this girl that goes to my school that her family is really Christian and, I don’t know what the name of it is, but the company gets PG-13 and R movies and they’ll edit them so they can be viewable for kids. I don’t see what’s the point. The more you shelter your kids, the more they want to rebel.
Jake: It’s just the hard thing about sheltering your children so much is that once they hit the real world, what are they going to do?
Yeah, they are not going to be there to watch over them.
Jake: Right, you just have to find out the negative things in this world and try to present them to your children in a manner of “Ok, you can learn it from your parents first and not from some kid that has smack (drugs) and is trying to show you what it’s about.”
– In your opinion, what issues in society are being overlooked and need the most attention?
Brent: Mm, that’s hard. There’s a lot of issues. I think one issue that is being overlooked a lot and maybe it’s not overlooked a lot but it’s not talked about much as being brought to life more is gun control issues.
Yeah, with the whole Virginia Tech thing.
Brent: Yeah, and just even before that, there are so many problems with gun control, but no one ever touches on it and nothing ever comes out about it because there are a lot of people in powerful positions that wash it immediately. But there are so many problems with gun control and the fact that anybody, any little kid can get his hands on a gun and easily if he wanted to, shoot himself or shoot his friends.
Jake: We also stand a little different politically, so that should be noted. I agree with what he is saying but it’s funny because sometimes we have conversations that get a little silly. One thing that I think that…..we can’t talk about abortion, I don’t want to get on that topic. Oh yeah, racism. That is something that I’m just so tired of. I’m so tired of people just being like “Oh, you’re racist” or “Oh, that’s so racist”. Like people would just…. I don’t know, just people that are saying “Ah, that’s racist”. Like dude, you know like, I’m sorry but none of us in our band are racist. It hurts me because I feel bad for people that are racist and I feel bad for people that get crapped on because of their certain color. I just think it’s bullcrap. It jut really frustrates me.
People just throw around the term to everyone, when you aren’t racist at all.
Jake: Yeah, and then you got racists…
That are just being overlooked and no one is telling them that they are racist.
Jake: Yeah, I don’t know. I think it’s a battle that has been going on for a long time and it needs to be over. We are all the Lord’s children.
– If the band was forced to change the name, what named would you choose and why?
Brent: Holy crap!
Jake: September Turns Green.
Jake. It does!
Brent: Wow, I have no idea. You’ve stumped me.
Dustin: Come back in a few months, we are still working on names.
Brent: Yeah, Dustin has a little side project here, it’s him and a guitar and TabIt. TabIt is a guitar program. So when he gets the name for that, we’ll let you know.
Dustin: That would be my choice. I’m still working on it. I don’t know, I’ll pick like a good a bible verse and use the verse itself as the band name. You could say like 3:16, obviously that wouldn’t be a good one. And Like spell it out, like Three Sixteen.
Brent: I personally think the name is a little generic. We would want something that has meaning and not generic.
Dustin: And that’s why the bible verse would have meaning to me.
– Which band has had the greatest influence on you?
Dustin: Bands that had influence on me would be Between The Buried and Me, Misery Signals.
Jake: Hopesfall, old Hopesfall.
Yeah, new Hopesfall isn’t that good.
Dustin: Bands that I wish I never listen to, maybe Cartel because they get stuck in my head all day. I really love that record but it gets stuck in my head. I’m sorry to admit it. So the other day, I just want to say this for the record, the other day I said something about Cartel playing on Saturday at the community hometown. I said something about Cartel playing and a kid was like “Yeah, Cartel sucks, I hate them” and I said “Oh…I like Cartel.” The kid goes, “Yeah, they’re alright.” I thought that was funny.
– If you could write the music for a movie, which movie would you choose and why?
Dustin: Oh my gosh.
Jordan: Any movie ever?
Brent: Die Hard.
Brent: Any of them, maybe the new one.
Dustin: I would say…big orchestra stuff like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and what’s that movie called? About freaking those people that tried to…help me out…
Brent: Requiem for a Dream. I would write those soundtracks. I love orchestra soundtracks. I love Lord of the Rings. Or the Notebook.
– Where do you hope the band is two years from now? What do you hope to accomplish by then?
Brent: I hope we’re huge, haha.
Dustin: I hope we keep progressing and keep writing stuff and keep improving on our instruments on the albums because I feel we definitely did on “Messengers”, from “Thrill Seeker” to “Messengers”. I hope we keep our fans and just meet new kids and continue to have fun. Yep Yep Yep.
– Anything else you want the readers to know?
Brent: Our new record comes out June 19th, pick it up, listen to it anywhere you can. Prefer you buy it, but I won’t be mad at you if you download it.
Dustin: I might be.
Brent: Dustin will kill you. Alright, that’s it.