August Burns Red have just released their new album ‘Found In Far Away Places‘ locally via Fearless Records / Unified.
The release co-incides with the bands stint on the US Vans Warped Tour which is underway now.
Since their formation in 2003, the band has evolved into one of the biggest names worldwide in the modern metal scene, continually growing and connecting fiercely with a colossal legion of fans.
With a solid collection of 5 previous albums, ‘Thrill Seeker‘, ‘Messengers‘, ‘Constellations‘, ‘Leveler‘ and 2013’s ‘Rescue & Restore‘ which debuted at #9 on the Billboard Top 200, expectations are high for this new addition to the catalogue.
To find out more about the release, the band have answered our On The Record questions this week. You can read their answers below whilst streaming the album.
Tell us about the release title.
The Album title “Found In Far Away Places” to me, is about how we find our true selves when we are outside of the norm in life. It is easy to get wrapped up in the daily routine, to feel “safe” with the normalcy in life. Working a job, having friends over for date nights, having the same routine over and over again. But it’s when something throws us off track that we get shaken up. Could be the passing of a loved one, a struggle with being sick or when a relationship falls a part. It is then we start to see who we truly are. Our insecurities start to shine through, we become vulnerable, and we see the reality of life outside of our comfort zone. Here is where we find our true being. These times are when we have to stand up and be brave. We see what we turn to in a time of weakness. This is where we find the true inner workings of our spirit. In far away places. Places we’ve never experienced in life. Places like the desert with no water. Who are we really then? When times get tough.
Tell us about the artwork.
Ryan Clark of Invisible Creature did the artwork for the album. Ryan Clark has done most of our album artwork in the past and so at this point he really understands the style and type of art ABR likes. So we gave him the meaning to the title of the record and sure enough he came up with the concept of the art on his own. I personally love the variety of the landscape and the colors. I don’t think we’ve had artwork like this before. I also enjoy it because it doesn’t look like your typical metal album artwork.
What format/s will it be released on and how will it be packaged?
We will be having tons of different types of packages. We even have this really cool 3D vinyl/ record package that Fearless came up with. The package actually unfolds and pulls out as it sits upright and becomes 3D. It’s pretty cool if you ask me. We will have your basic jewel case, we’ve also got 4 different vinyl packages as well. Fearless really did a great job putting together different options for our fans.
Who will it be released through, and when?
It’s available now through Fearless Records/Unified whom we just signed with.
Tell us about the studio and why you chose to record there?
We recorded this album with Atrium Audio. This will be the second album that I’ve recorded with these guys. We chose them because they are good friends of ours, really understand the direction the band is going in and the vocal producer Grant McFarland and I really have great chemistry together. When we work beside these guys we feel as though everyone is on the same page and really makes the process less stressful and a good rhythm in the work place.
Tell us about the producer / engineer and why you chose to record with them?
Again, Carson Slovack, and Grant McFarland are good friends of ours, have been around ABR since the beginning, have a real heart to produce and create the right sound for what the band is trying to accomplish rather than just putting their sound on the band. The chemistry we have with them is what really counts. Feeling like we are all one unit and because they know us so well, know our sound, and know the direction we desire to go in. We all can work together with grace, understanding and with less stress in the process of creating the record.
Did you go into the writing process with a clear direction in mind?
Yes, I spent months and multiple hours before going into the studio preparing myself. I spent a week in a cabin on the mountains of North Carolina to find myself, and to focus on the lyrical content. So when I stepped into the studio, I knew what needed to be done and was prepared to spend over 100 hours in the studio on the lyrics and vocal process.
Were you listening to anything in particular during the writing / recording process that influenced the songs at all?
I listen to a variety of music, but nothing I listened to influence the music as JB is the main song writer. However, if I heard something in my day that I thought would be cool to incorporate into a song, I would call JB and express that. But I try and stay away from the writing of the songs as I fully trust JB and desire him to write how he writes.
Were there any albums you were referencing in the studio to aim for a certain type of sound production wise?
No, not really. I wasn’t there for that part of the process.
How long did you spend in the studio recording?
I spent over 100 hours in the studio with my vocal producer Grant McFarland. We spend a lot of time with the lyrics, trying multiple vocal patterns per section of a song. We do about 3 takes of each line to see what sounds best or the direction we want to take the vocals for the section of each song.
JB, our lead guitarist is the main songwriter. He uses software called Tabit, where you can tab out the songs and then end up coming out sounding like old Nintendo music. He then emails the tabbed songs to us via email. We then all can look at the tabbed song; then the band members can practice at home the songs. Then we come together to practice the songs. I usually listen to the tabbed song/songs and start to begin the vocal process of coming up with melodies and vocal patters. Then we take a vote on the lyrics we like best. We wrote 30 lyrics for 12 songs for this album. So we all have the lyrics, take them home and vote on each one to see which top 12 are going to make the album. Then we head into the studio and start laying down drums. Then comes the guitars, bass, samples, and then lastly the vocals. After I finish all the vocals, the band takes the lyrics that are finished and the songs with the vocals attached to the songs and spends the weekend writing down every little thing they don’t like vocally. Then come monday we sit down together and one by one, each member of the band tells me the parts they don’t like in a song. Why, and what they want changed. We all agree and then I run into the vocal booth and start reworking the vocals sections that we decided need to be changed. That process takes quite a lot of time as it could be one word that sounds bad, or a scream that needs to be changed etc.
Was this any different to previous processes you have used?
No not really, we have been using this process I’d say for the past 4 albums. Everyone knows their place and how the process will take place so it brings us structure. We enjoy structure.
Any guests involved? if so, who.. and what did they do?
Yes! We have our good friend Jeremy McKinnon from A Day To Remember. We had discussed early in the process of maybe finding a singer to do a guest spot. I told the guys, if there was one guy I would be willing to have do guest vocals for the record, it would only be Jeremy McKinnon. So my manager told me to reach out and see if what happens. Surely enough, Jeremy was really excited to do a guest spot and his voice really brings a lot of dynamics to the song “Ghosts”. I’m really happy with his parts and think it brings a little “spice” to the album.
When it comes do naming the tracks, is there any particular approach or process to it all?
We usually have working titles during the writing process and if the title sticks we will use it. If not, we usually sit down and just try to brainstorm together a good title for the track. It usually takes a while, but we break down the subject matter in the lyric and start to throw out ideas here and there usually giving us a few solid ideas for the title.
Any particular equipment outside your usual live gear used in the process?
Not for me I’m the vocalist, sooo there’s that.
Any memorable studio moments?
We usually make a ton of jokes in the studio. Always picking on each other, or talking trash to lighten up the mood. We spend so much time in the studio that we need to laugh and crack on each other in order to keep us going and not lose why we are here and what we are doing and why we are doing it. We take things so serious that if we weren’t laughing; I believe the recording process would be stressful.
What track/s are you most looking forward to playing live?
Personally, I’m looking forward to playing “Identity”, and would love to play “Martyr” later this year.
How would you compare the final product to previous releases?
I would say it’s a great addition to our discography. It is more mature in it’s writing as far as song structure. It has plenty of “outside the box” parts keeping it away from generic metalcore. I expanded on my vocal range, writing more pitched screams bringing a new sound and I feel the production on this record is the best we’ve had thus far.
Anything else you want to say or about the release?
I’d just like to thank all of our fans for supporting us for as long as they have. We love playing music; we love encouraging our listeners through our lyrics and enjoy singing along with you guys at shows. God Bless!
1. The Wake
4. Separating The Seas
5. Ghosts (feat. Jeremy McKinnon)
6. Majoring In The Minors
7. Everlasting Ending
8. Broken Promises
10. Twenty-One Grams