August Burns Red Guitarist JB Brubaker Talks New Album ‘Found In Far Away Places’ + More
August Burns Red are set to release their seventh studio album, Found In Far Away Places, on June 29, via their new label Fearless Records. Loudwire had the opportunity to chat with guitarist JB Brubaker about the new release, as well as working with guest vocalist Jeremy McKinnon of A Day to Remember. He also talked about the band’s longevity and the 10 year anniversary of their debut album Thrill Seeker. Check out our interview with August Burns Red guitarist JB Brubaker below:
Found In Far Away Places -- what does the album title mean to you personally?
That’s a good question and I should preface it by saying if you ask each member of the band you might get a different answer. For me personally, Found In Far Away Places talks to me about where our band came from and how we got to where we are. After being in the band for all these years and having so many experiences together and basically traveling around the world together we sort of found out who we are as people, as a band and as friends.
How have you changed both as a person and musician after all of these years in August Burns Red?
As a musician my tastes have certainly changed. I think if I wasn’t in August Burns Red for all of these years and if I was in a different band starting out now I don’t know if I would be playing the same kind of music that we are playing. I also know that the genre of music that August Burns Red plays is what we’re good and it’s what we know how do. I’m not really skilled at writing other styles of music besides the metal genre because that’s what I’ve always played since I started playing guitar at 18.
I guess as a musician my tastes have changed but I also try to find my craft with the whole thing through years of practicing, songwriting and stuff like that. As a person I’ve changed as well through seeing different places around the world and cultures and that definitely has had an influence on me and my worldview.
Not to get too deep or anything but you see a lot of controversy with religion and sexual orientation and as you go to more places and meet more people and see how they live, it’ll change your opinion on how you originally thought of things. I was raised in a very conservative Christian household and after getting out and seeing the world and how things really are, it changes your perspective and you’re a different person as a result.
You mentioned that if you were starting out today in a different band you don’t know if you would be playing metal. What genre would you gravitate towards musically?
I think I would love to play in a more chill, indie-rock type of band I would probably play a Fender Telecaster and some clean chords and full on reverbs. [Laughs] But the grass is always greener you know? I’m sure there are a lot of dudes who are doing that and are like, “I wish I could crank it up and bang my head.”
Talk about the latest track “The Wake” both musically and lyrically.
“The Wake” literally talks about humanity as a whole and our destruction of our planet, the misuse of resources and our inability to see the ramifications of it coming if we continue to live the way we are living. It’s hard to get people as a whole to change their lifestyles and I’m guilty as well – I don’t want to stop driving my dumb gas-guzzling car around.
I think we need to change our approach to energy and clean up our act a little bit, future generations are going to be in for a very rude awakening. “The Wake” talks about how disgusting humanity can be and that we’re not taking care what we have and as a result we’re not going to have this great planet to live on. It’s going to go away if we don’t fix things, it’s a really scary thing to think about but it’s also really important. People should be conscious of how they’re treating the planet especially with something so simple as picking up your trash.
Musically, it’s one of the most aggressive songs on the new record, we wanted to come out with a bang, we’re still an aggressive metal band and we wanted people to know that especially with the label change and everything. We put it out because it’s a great song but also to shut up all the internet chatter about what ABR might be becoming in the future -- nothing to worry about if you were a paranoid fan. [Laughs]
Talk about working with Jeremy McKinnon on the song “Ghosts” and your relationship with A Day to Remember?
A Day to Remember have been friends of ours since 2008. We did some dates with them on Warped Tour and have toured with them on and off ever since. We’ve done Europe with them and the states a bunch and we’re just good friends with them at this point. We’ve been talking about guest vocal spots and the potential of someone doing singing for us and Jake [Luhrs] mentioned if anyone was going to sing on the record it was going to be Jeremy. He’s a good buddy of ours and he’s also very creative so we reached out to him and he was totally down for it.
We showed him the section that we wanted him to sing or scream on, whatever he wanted to do and we gave him creative leeway for him to do what he wanted on the section. He wrote his own lyrics for his part based on what the song was about and he knocked it out of the park for us. He also does a screaming section following the part he sings on where he and Jake go back and forth. It was cool that we got to get his full range as a vocalist on the song. We’re grateful that he was kind enough to be a part of it.
How important is the camaraderie between bands in the scene...
Some of my best friends in the world have been through touring. It’s very bittersweet because you tour with people for a month straight and you have the best time. Then you don’t see them again unless your paths cross at a festival or you’re lucky enough to get on another tour together. It is important that we continue to interact with the friends we make on the road. We’re doing Warped Tour this summer and it’s so great because it’s this coming together of these old friends that we’ve made over the years. It gives us an opportunity to catch up with these people and hang out again.
The dudes in Silverstein are some of my favorite people and we don’t exactly play the same kind of music, and a tour like Warped Tour gives us the opportunity to hang out with people that we don’t get to see as often as we would like. Everyone is very accepting in knowing that we’re going our separate ways and you’re not being a d--k if you’re not calling me or texting me, I know how it is and I’m probably not going to hit you up either but we’ll talk and carry on as if nothing happened the next time we see each other.
This year marks the 10 year anniversary of the band's debut album Thrill Seeker. What does that mean to you?
That’s so weird. [Laughs] I guess it means we’re kind of a veteran act in our genre, the metalcore and Warped Tour world, if our first album came out 10 years ago. I guess I was almost embarrassed to be the old dude in the genre because it’s a genre driven by youth. It was a scary thought of, “Are we getting too old and irrelevant for the scene?” Now I feel like we’re still being well received and people are still liking the new records that we’re releasing. I’m proud of the career we’ve put together and the catalogue we have. I’m really grateful that people still care about August Burns Red and what we’re putting out.
What does the rest of 2015 have in store for August Burns Red after this album comes out?
Well we’re going to be hitting the road hard. We’ll also be getting out of the States and doing some European and hopefully Australian dates. Of course we’ll do some headlining stuff in North America at some point as well. It’s the standard procedure, you put out a new record and then you tour your balls off. [Laughs]
Our thanks to JB Brubaker for taking the time to speak with us. Pre-order August Burns Red's new album 'Found In Far Away Places' here.
Check Out August Burns Red's New Track "The Wake" Below