Calling all Atreyu fans, I have some good news to deliver; it’s only two and a half weeks before the release of their seventh album ‘In Our Wake’!
Whilst fans have been treated to singles In Our Wake, Anger Left Behind and The Time Is Now, both fans and band members alike are most eager to awake on October 12. The excitement levels within the band was the first topic of conversation with lead vocalist/lyricist Alex Varkatzas as he opened the interview by expressing “we’re super excited as we’ve worked so hard on the record! It’s already getting such a great response thanks to the tracks we’ve released and we can’t wait to get it out there. We’ve just scratching the surface with the couple of songs we’ve put out so far!
“We did one half of the record summer of last year, then we did the other half of the record over the wintertime and the start of the year. It was mixed and mastered a few months later, so we’ve been sitting on some of these songs for over a year. I can’t quantify the emotion; it isn’t anxiety, but I just want to get it out! I’m not a good waiter…I’m more of a trigger puller.”
Speaking about the response fans have given the first three singles so far, Varkatzas first opened with “I knew and I know that what we’ve written/done is really special and I think it touches on a lot of things lyrically that will resonate with people. Seeing people connect with our music on any level is awesome, so to have people connect with fresh stuff so quickly is a nice feeling!” before going into greater detail: “There’s so much going on in America socially and politically! When I say socially, I’m talking from social issues ranging all the way to suicide; whilst that’s a social issue in itself, I mean from the aspect of musical heroes and normal people having these same problems! I think our record touches on all these things and it’s cool that we’re able to express that all in one album. Quickly touching on the political aspect, we aren’t picking sides or anything like that! One of the good things about music is that in our own way, we can talk about things, express things and emote things! Whilst other bands might take it to another level, one of the good things about this country in general is that we have the ability to raise our voices; regardless of whatever manner we see fit or unfit, I think we should appreciate the ability to do that!”
Giving insight into the creation/recording process, Varkatzas quipped “we went about things in a same but different manner”, before going into further depth: “Whilst we went back to John Feldmann who produced ‘Lead Sails, Paper Anchor’, we wrote with him in a different way; we ended up writing in smaller groups, on different parts of songs. I also opened up more and lyrically worked more with the guys, taking more advice whereas in the past I hadn’t. The guys have been able to just chime in and we’ve worked so openly together! It’s worked well for me, as in some cases it would only be a line or two that I need help with; them helping would make me redo something else, change a bunch of things or even re-write the chorus. Whilst we’ve worked together for so long that we know what each other’s strengths are, it’s cool to see people fill in the gaps where you didn’t expect them to!”
When asked how many songs Atreyu had to whittle the final twelve from, Varkatzas exhaled in a sign of deep thought before explaining “I think we demoed somewhere around sixteen songs. But of the actual twelve, I think there’s two or three that we recorded and went the full distance on that didn’t make the record! We knew not all of them were going to make the twelve song cut, but we liked so many; it was hard to pick twelve, as I think we would pick differently each time we went back and tried to pick twelve songs again! It’s rough because as you listen to songs, they change and sometimes you end up liking them more. At the end it is what it is and we move on; however I think we should just write an eighteen song record next time and be done with it!”
Speaking with Varkatzas on a personal level, the first topic was about his favourite song on ‘In Our Wake’; Varkatzas quickly quipped “man, that’s hard because it changes all the time! At first I thought it actually was In Our Wake but I don’t know if it’s because I’ve listened to it six million times, it’s just not as new to me anymore. Whilst it’s a strong one and I like what it means, I think there’s some other songs like Blind, Deaf and Dumb that have a real cool vibe for us, as they’re a little different. Or if you look at a song like Safety Pin from a lyric perspective, I remember working on that with John and it was pretty rad how it came together. I know you want me to pick one song, but it’s tough as I could plug three in at the same time!”
Varkatzas then delivered an unexpected but much appreciated insight into the band’s mindset during the creation process:
“On ‘Long Live’ we put ourselves in a box on purpose and decided we were going to write one type of record. On this record, we tried to write it in such a way that every song has its own vibe, so it depends on what I’m feeling and what I want to listen to. Whilst the songs fit together and sound like us, we challenged ourselves to create something interesting to listen to, that isn’t just the pedal to the floor the whole way through. Even though we do have records like that, this record has its ups and downs, twists and turns or whatever stupid fucking cliché you want to use!”
Drawing the interview to a close, the last topic was whether there had been talk of a return trip to Australia before too long on the tour cycle. Varkatzas enthusiastically proclaimed “man, I wish I could say anything!” before concluding with a very diplomatic expression for his love of Australia: “Without being disrespectful to anyone else, I think Australia is my favourite place to tour; if it wasn’t so far, I’d love it just as much as touring at home in the States. If there was no plane ride, I’d love it just the same! I know the whole band wants to come to Australia as soon as we can, so it’s just a matter of time. Whilst 2018 is pretty much a write off, we’re shaping up to travel all over at least once in 2019; hopefully we’ll get to be there before fall next year but we’ll see what happens!”
PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY OF ‘IN OUR WAKE’ HERE!