August Burns Red’s Jake Luhrs: Why I Support As I Lay Dying
August Burns Red vocalist Jake Luhrs was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. He discussed the band's tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of their breakthrough record, Constellations, and why that album proved to be such a landmark for both the band and the metalcore genre.
Luhrs also spoke about his Heart Support organization, expressing support for As I Lay Dying and how not just fans, but people in general the world over, should be more forgiving and afford others a second chance.
Read the full interview below.
Let's talk about Constellations. It's the centerpiece of your tour this summer. Now, 10 years later, what makes that album continue to resonate, not only with the audience, but also yourself?
I think that Constellations, the album, is a really big album for our band. I mean, when we first released the record Thrill Seeker, no one really knew who we were. Then when we released Messengers, we were just starting to tour heavily and be opening acts. I think that Constellations was just a head-turner for the genre at that time.
For us, we really tried to grow as musicians and really showcase our abilities as artists with that album. [We have to] understand that there was a lot of pressure behind that record because Messengers people were really excited about it, they really clung to it, and they were [asking] who this band is because they are so young — where were they going to go? What direction? How are they going to develop or progress? So there was a lot of pressure and when that record released and I really think it was an epic album for the band and for our careers.
Coming back and rehearsing these songs [involved] a lot of work. There is a lot going on in these songs. They are very much to the point — very aggressive, very forward. My drummer and I are just out of breath just trying to keep up with some of these parts, but it's fun; it's exciting. Some of these songs we have never really played personally together as a band, so it's really kind of neat for us to kind of go back 10 years and revisit these.
Jake, your Heart Support organization is an advocate for As I Lay Dying. Why is it important to you to shine a light on their story?
First of all Heart Support is all about acceptance, and encouraging and forgiving. Our slogan is: "It doesn't matter the color of your skin, what you believe in, who you are in love with, what's been done to you, or what you have done, we accept you and want to help you where you are."
I think that AILD's story is a really beautiful one of redemption and forgiveness. It's one that I don't think a lot of people may think that forgiveness goes that far, or redemption is able at that point or forgiveness that we can really do that.
I really want to showcase and support them and give them a place to share that story and the truth about that and their process of forgiving each other and all of that, and kind of remind or see that we need to love each other.
We need to practice forgiveness and lean to second chances because it doesn't matter really. You can take that story, their story, apply that to your own life and in some degree, you will need acceptance for forgiveness; you're going to have to do that with other people. We're human. And if we choose love we can conquer a lot of evil and a lot of hurt and pain.
There's a new remixed and remastered release of Constellations, including a reinterpreted version of "Oceans of Apathy." What factors into a band deciding to revise such a well-regarded part of their history?
I think that because a 10-year anniversary tour is here now, we wanted to give the remastered version of the record for the people — almost like a rebirth. I think it's something that would be fun for people who really, really resonate with that album and might want us to do it a little bit cleaner and more produced in the current more modern sounds that we listen to today. The remix thing, I think was a little more fun - just for us to do something a little unique and different with it.
You can do something with it. This is the time that we have the ability to do any changes or have some fun, or maybe do something that we didn't think of 10 years ago when we wrote the record, and now we get to do that. So it's kind of something fun for us to do, and I think that our die-hard fans will really enjoy the little tweaks and changes.
The reissue of Constellations and the recent Phantom Sessions EP revisit different periods of the band. In what ways can looking back potentially inform the future?
I mean, each record in our opinion has its place. We're definitely more appreciative of where we came from. It's definitely a reminder of our roots as a band and not really try to stray from those roots, and I think that is one of the reasons why our fanbase loves us as much as they do. It's because we've continued to progress off of the foundation of August Burns Red and not veering from our own personal direction as a band.
And I think that it definitely keeps us in mind of growth. It kind of reminds us that we don't want to do the exact same thing on the next record, but to remember where we come from is definitely important for us to keep in the back of our minds as we continue to write music as a band.
Thanks to Jake Luhrs for the interview. Follow August Burns Red on Facebook where you can also see a list of the band's upcoming tour dates. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s radio show here.
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