“This is us swinging for the fences” - Atreyu talk new album In Our Wake with hmv.com
When metalcore titans Atreyu reunited in 2014, they expressed a desire to return to the hard-edged screamo of the first years of their career, which they did on 2015’s Long Live.
After successfully touring the album, the band decided they want to step things up for what they did next. To do this they returned to producer John Feldman, the band behind some of All Time Low and Good Charlotte’s biggest hits.
Feldmann, who made his name as the frontman of pop-punks Goldfinger, is known for pushing bands to their absolute limit in a quest for the best results. Something you can definitely hear on Atreyu’s new album In Our Wake.
As In Our Wake comes out, we spoke to guitarist Dan Jacobs about working with Feldmann and how the album came together...
When did you start putting together the songs for this album? Are you always writing? Or do you need to be home and off tour to get going?
“With this record, it was quite a different process. In the past, we’ve pretty much written whenever we’ve felt like it. On the road, in hotels, at home, sometimes that’s together, sometimes not. Then we’ll meet up and bring all our ideas and make songs, then polish them up in the studio. We started from there, but then we decided to do the record with John Feldmann.”
And that changed things?
“John loves to vibe off the moment. At the most, we’d come in with a riff prepared, but mostly it was just what we felt like then and there. We would write up to three songs a day. There was so much great energy, we loved it, it’s so refreshing to work like that, rather than piecing songs together slowly over time.”
Why did you decide John was the right man for this record?
“He’s the only producer we’ve ever gone back to. We’ve tried a different producer with every album. We like to change things up and try different experiences. But he pushed us the most, he made us want to be more creative and get outside of our box. For any artist, that’s exhilarating. He also made our most successful album, so we thought, let’s do it again.”
He’s a bit of a hard taskmaster, isn’t he?
“He’s got a lot of energy, so much creativity, he’s got his foot on the gas all the time. He really fires you up. It’s so easy in the studio to just sit around and drink coffee, move slowly, gently. He really lights the fire under you. You can hear it in his records, the songs are so charged and incredible to listen to. He’s got a magical touch.”
If you wrote three songs a day, did you end up with a lot of songs?
“Not really. It was pretty quick. At the end of 2017, we did two weeks of writing, five days a week and we got half the album from those sessions. Then we came back a few months later and did it again. Recording took a bit longer, polishing the songs up, but it was a very fast record.”
Did you have a goal of how you wanted it to move on from what you’ve done in the past?
“There are so many different elements to Atreyu’s sound. Heavy screaming, really melodic songs, piano ballads, everything in between. Every album we put out seems to showcase one element a little bit more. Our last record we were coming back after hiatus and we wanted to go back to our roots, screaming and singing choruses, more traditional metalcore. For this album, we've treated it like a sophomore record, we wanted it to be a bit bigger. This is us swinging for the fences, a step forward in a new direction.”
As you say, your last album came after the hiatus, was there less pressure this time? Last time you must have been figuring out if you could work together again?
“We’ve been a band for 20 years and we feel like we’ve been through everything. Nothing shocks us anymore. We’ve learned to ignore the negativity and move forward, that’s got much easier over the years. We make albums to make us happy now.”
What kind of album is this lyrically? Is there a theme to the songs?
“A lot comes from the title, we fed off of that. In Our Wake is inspired by the idea that we all leave a wake behind us in life, whenever you interact with someone, you leave a positive or negative impression with them. What kind of wake are you leaving? Who are you leaving behind? Are you changing the world for good or bad?”
Was the title there before you started writing?
“It came in the middle. Our bass player Porter (McKnight) came up with it, he’d written it down in his notebook and he brought it to us. We got a lot from that title, it influenced so many songs. How it affects relationships and how you feel.”
Finally, how are touring plans coming together? When will we see you back in the UK?
“We’re touring the US in November and after that, it’s to be confirmed. But we’re looking to get over to Europe and we want to go everywhere. We’re excited to see everyone.”