So in case you have been living under a rock and have not heard the news… The mighty Metal legends that are AUGUST BURNS RED will be rocking the dusty Oppikoppi stage, as well as The Assembly at One Night In Cape Town, this August (coincidence? I think not.)
The Metalist za caught up with guitarist, JB Brubaker, ahead of their debut South African appearance to talk expectations, the band as a business and Bonkers: The Bobcat.
Firstly I would just like to say thank you for taking the time to answer our questions! We here at The Metalist za are all super excited to have metal GIANTS such as yourselves grace our shores!
So you guys have said that ‘Found in faraway places’ was inspired by your bands journey around the world and the things you have experienced, but what we all want to know, here in South Africa, is why it has taken you so long to come to our little faraway place? Were you aware that you had such a huge fan base here?
I believe we simply hadn’t found the right time to come play South Africa up until this point. It’s always been a place we’ve had on our list but for whatever reason we haven’t been able to make it happen until now. I certainly am not aware that we have a huge fan base in South Africa. I guess I will find out for myself soon! Very much looking forward to it!
Have you ever heard of Oppikoppi festival? And what kind of preconceptions do you have about South Africa?
I have not heard of this festival, but I have since looked into it and it looks awesome. I’m stoked to experience it first-hand.
When I think of South Africa the following things come to mind: safaris, giraffes, lions, great white sharks, rhinos, accents that fall somewhere between British and Australian, and I’ve heard Cape Town is an absolutely amazing city.
So August Burns Red has been a household name in the metal scene for over a decade now, what inspires you now after so many years of being in the business compared to when you first started out?
My inspiration now is to establish ABR as a legacy band. I want to continue to tour and release quality music for a long time. When we play festivals I see bands like Slayer and Megadeth who have been at it for decades and are just staples of the genre. I think it would be incredible to have that kind of legacy as a band.
In the short term I just want to continue to write albums and try to carve out our own little niche in the metal world. I don’t want to be remembered for sounding like other bands. I want to be remembered for having our own sound.
How have you guys had to adapt over the years with the digitalization of the music industry? Has it affected your writing style at all?
I think it’s actually helped to broaden our writing style. I can write in full orchestral arrangements and incorporate lots of different instruments into our music thanks to technology today. It’s also made releasing our music to the world so easy through outlets like iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc. It’s a great time to easily get your music to the masses, but it’s a tough time to get paid for selling records. There will always be pros and cons to changes in an industry.
South Africans have been waiting for far too long to see you guys play live, and now it is finally happening! What can we expect from an August Burns Red live show?
Well, if all goes as planned you’ll be seeing a tight and energetic live performance. It’s important to us to play well and I think we have a reputation of sounding good live and playing proficiently. We love crowd participation like crowd surfing, circle pits, and lots of jumping. It should be a lovely experience.
Oppikoppi is a weird and wonderful experience to say the least. What is the craziest thing you have ever witnessed at an outdoor festival show?
In 2008 we played a festival in Dubai called “Desert Rock Fest.” During our song “Up Against the Ropes” our singer Jake called for a circle pit around the sound board. The fest took place in a massive parking lot area. The crowd obliged Jake’s request and it was a MASSIVE circle pit. People were huffing and puffing after one lap around. We were told after our show that it was the biggest circle pit the Middle East had ever seen. I believe there’s YouTube footage of it online somewhere.
Do you guys collectively have a favourite song, or album to play live?
I think we are all pretty stoked on playing the stuff off of “Found In Far Away Places.” It’s the freshest material for us and we haven’t played those songs 1,000 times yet, like some of the older jams. The crowd response to the new songs has also been a lot of fun which solidifies my answer. I especially like playing “Martyr” and “Majoring in the Minors.” As far as older songs go, “White Washed” is a blast. It always gets the crowd going and we’ve been playing it for so long it doesn’t require insane amounts of concentration for us to play, like some of the newer songs.
How many days have you gone without showering on tour?
I’m a VERY clean individual on tour, and haven’t gone very long without a shower. I bet three days would be my absolute max. Many days I take two showers a day! I take one when I wake up and first get into the venue, and again after the show. My days are so much better when I can shower after getting out of bed. It just helps to wake me up and put me in a good state of mind for the day. Showers are the best.
What item can you not survive without while on tour?
My iPhone is the easy answer. It keeps me connected with my wife and friends back home, and delivers me all the news, weather, etc. That’s too obvious of an answer though. Besides my iPhone, I need a pair of sunglasses on tour. I love the sunlight, but I have light coloured eyes and I am pretty sensitive to bright light. If I’m stepping outside and have forgotten my sunglasses I immediately go back and get them. (Also, need my flip flops to perform. They’re a staple!)
Lastly, just for the fun of it… if you had to compare yourself to a cartoon, what would it be and why?
Bonkers: The Bobcat. He is my spirit animal. Bonkers is a crime fighting Bobcat who works on the police force. Google him. He’s amazing.
If we play a show that is particularly “bonkers” I award the show the “Bonkers
Seal of Approval” which basically means,
I tweet out that the show was bonkers and attach a photo of Bonkers the Bobcat. Sick.
Oppikoppi Festival Details:
OppiKoppi: For the lovely young taken to THE UNSEA brought to you by Windhoek, Red Bull, Jose Cuervo, Chevrolet, MTV, Limpopo Tourism, Department of Arts & Culture and Hilltop Live
Dates: 5, 6, 7 August
Venue: OppiKoppi Farm, Northam, Limpopo
Tickets on sale from 23 March
– Kreesmas Tickets: R650 (30 Nov – 24 Dec) – SOLD OUT
– Early Bird Tickets: R800 (valid until 1 April) – SOLD OUT
– General Admission: R850 (2 April – 31 July)
– Late Tickets: R950 (1 August – 7 August)
NO TICKETS WILL BE SOLD AT THE FESTIVAL
Tickets on sale here: https://plankton.mobi/Events/EventBooking/d3cf9e1b-66f8-4973-89f9-c528d47d34d7
One Night In Cape Town details:
Date: 10 August 2016
Venue: The Assembly
Artists: August Burns Red & SA Artists
Tickets: R350 from Computicket.
Get your tickets here: http://online.computicket.com/web//event/one_night_in_cape_town_abr/1039268217
Restrictions: No under 18’s ROAR
To stand a chance at winning a set of double tickets to One Night In Cape Town check out The Metalist za Facebook page
Interviewed by: Sammy SF (more from Sammy)
Date: 18 July 2016
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