Feature

Atreyu express their love for John Feldmann & desire to keep evolving, ahead of first SA tour

Sometimes forces align and you end up in the right place at exactly the right time.

I got the news that metalcore band Atreyu were headed to South Africa, to perform at Pirate Fest in Joburg and Mercury in Cape Town, the day before they were scheduled to play at Rock Im Park in Nuremberg.

Turns out they’re also part of my extended Monster Energy family, which ultimately saved me the mission of having to stalk them for a chat.

Brandon Saller (drummer and clean vocalist) and Travis Miguel (guitar) are fresher than I’d expect post-performance and signing session.

“Getting to travel and see new places is one of the biggest perks of getting to do this. Our job does not suck,” Travis tells me, laughing from behind his dark shades.

“I’m excited to see what this Pirate Fest is all about,” Brandon says, rubbing his hands together. “We’re all bringing our wives out as well for a little holiday and safari as well, so we’re super excited.”

After unclean vocalist Alex Varkatzas bowed out from Atreyu’s European tour due to health reasons, Brandon was drawn out from behind the drum kit, taking the reigns as front man and he’s taken to it like a second skin – working the stage and hyping the crowd like a natural during their set.

In a lengthily Instagram Post, Alex assured fans that he’ll be right as rain come the end of June. This, thankfully, means that in September we’ll be seeing Atreyu line up in their all their glory.  

But after 7 studio albums over 20-odd years it’ll be interesting to see what part of their catalogue is prioritized set-wise. I’m keen for anything from the #1 Rock Album Lead Sails Paper Anchor or their latest release In Our Wake, both helmed by producer and genius, John Feldmann.

“It’s actually the first time we’ve ever used a producer again,” Brendon explains when I ask him about working with John. “It was a great experience working with John and that record did incredible things for our band. We hadn’t spoken [to John] in years and when we brought the idea to him he was still really stoked. He’s got that special sauce. His energy is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed–”

“He even makes me tired,” Travis chimes in.

“He’s really good at getting us to swing for the fences which is what we wanted on this album and that’s exactly what we got,” Brandon smiles.

In fact, they’re so confident with their latest release and how its been received, that Atreyu opened their set with new song, “The Time Is Now”, something that Brandon admits is “a rough one for a big festival, but it went over fucking great.”

But obviously, you’re never going to be able to please everyone and Atreyu’s constantly-evolving sound, see-sawing from metalcore to alternative metal to screamo and back again, has been the bane of some fans’ existences.

“We’re not a one-trick-pony,” Travis laughs. “If we were to keep doing the same thing over and over again it would get boring for us and the audience. Some people like it, some people don’t. If they don’t, hey, I’m sorry we outgrew your comfort zone.”

Tickets for the first Pirate Fest in September are going fast, with Phase 1 already sold out, so make sure you get yours now from Howler.