For more than 15 years, drummer-vocalist Brandon Saller was known for being a part metalcore legends, Atreyu. Now he's fronting Hell or Highwater (formerly known as The Black Cloud Collective) and he's about to wrap up a grueling run on the Uproar Tour.

As the tour hit California for a couple of wrap-up shows, Saller sat down backstage in Chula Vista with Noisecreep to talk about what's it's been like to return to the days of playing in an up-and-coming band.

"It's a grind, man" Saller laughed. "Just like back in the day with Atreyu. Long drives, averaging 8-10 hours a night between shows. I think this is the hardest tour out there, but we love it and it's been great for us. But we have had some RV accidents. We got ran off the road by a semi in Indiana and the RV got totaled. But our spirits are still high, we're selling lots of the new CD ('Begin Again').

"It's been kind of a whirlwind from day one on this tour. The reaction has been great, and you forget that sense of what it's like to have to win people over up real close, you know? As a front guy now it's sort of on me and I love the challenge. I'll see fans start off, quiet, bopping their head to the first tune. Then, by song three, the crowd is filling in, they're jumping around a lot more, really getting into it. For the most part, I try to focus on the performance, sing the best I can and let the crowd speak to me.

And Saller is not shy about getting the crowd worked up.

"I'm not scared to be in your face about watching the band. It's fun for us to be playing and I want it to be fun for everyone there. I'll find someone in the crowd who's not moving and say what's your deal, come on, have fun, feel the vibe! Then they'll be over at our signing at the merch booth telling us how much they liked the show."

Charles Epting
Charles Epting

When Noisecreep spoke to Saller at the start of the tour, he hinted that he and Avenged Sevenfold's M. Shadows might perform their song 'Go Alone' duet from 'Begin Again.'

"It hasn't happened, but we're talking about maybe doing it at one of the last shows this week. He takes his voice more seriously than anyone i've seen in my life - from the second he wakes up, every day it's all about his voice - he's amazing. But with the tour winding down, we're hoping we can get this done."

Listen to 'Hail Mary' From Hell or Highwater

As for Hell or Highwater, Sallers gets a brief break at the end of the Uproar Tour at home in Huntington Beach, Calif. before heading out for some more road work before the holidays.

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