Interview: Travis Miguel – Atreyu

After forming back in 1999, Atreyu have went on to release five albums and become a force in the metalcore scene in recent years. Most recently they released Congregation Of The Damned in 2009 and when they visited Glasgow on their most recent visit to the UK supporting Bullet For My Valentine on their UK arena tour I had the privilege of interviewing Travis before the show.

Hey, how are you?

Good man, really good.

How’s the tour going?

Good, this is uh, for us, 3rd show, started in Birmingham, then played Manchester, then tonight here in Glasgow and then we’ve got two more shows then we head off to Australia

Is that for Soundwave or the No Sleep Til’ Festival?

It’s the No Sleep Til’ Festival.

Congregation Of The Damned is possibly the biggest album to date, at least in terms of fan support if not selling figures, but I also noticed that Brandon takes over a lot more vocals from Alex, was there any reason behind this or just how the music flowed?

It’s exactly what you said, just the way the music goes, and we don’t really consciously say Brandon’s going to sing more or Alex is going to do this, it just kind of happens the way it happens.

I noticed Brandon has Black Cloud Collective as well, has that affected Atreyu or is it just a side project for Brandon at the moment?

Um, The Black Cloud Collective is his solo thing, just during the extended time off he’s going to be doing that and I’ve got a side project, even though we’re not going to be Atreyu we’re still going to be productive musically, just doing our own thing.

What’s your favourite song to play live?

That’s a hard one that, it depends on the week, there’s some weeks where I’ll think “I never want to play that song again, I hate it”, but right now I’d have to say Lips Gloss and Black, I don’t think we’ve ever had a set where that’s not been in it, right now I’m just happy playing that cause it’s older, I mean we’ve been doing this for 8 years, playing the older stuff is still a treat for us, when you’re in a band and starting out your first tour you can only play your first album, as you write more music you have to actually choose your set but going back to your older stuff is always great.

You were saying that you like to play older songs, I know that you’ve covered Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love A Bad Name”, I noticed that’s left your recent sets, will it make a return?

I’d say over the last 2/3 years we’ve put it in, taken it out and just shuffled it around depending on how much time we’ve got on stage and if we want to play it. We’ve been playing it for years, but every time we play it people enjoy it.

It seems to be one of the few Bon Jovi covers that people actually like.

Well yeah, when we chose to cover that song it was just for fun and something we decided to add our own twist to, it wasn’t exactly planned.

At Download this year Atreyu took the stage early in the time slot that was allocated for Flyleaf, why was this?

Scheduling, their flight came in late and we just sort of took the reins and stepped up to the plate.

Atreyu

In Congregation Of The Damned, there’s potentially 4/5 lyrical themes, is there ever a theme you try to take throughout the album or does it just go song by song?

No not really, we’ve never written a concept album, it’s just really how Alex writes, and it’s usually quite literally what’s going on in his head. If the songs are related, its pure coincidence, and I guess that’s kind of cool thing and I’m not sure what to say because I’m in the band but he’s a very intelligent lyricist but the lyrics are pretty much open to interpretation for the meanings. Even I don’t really know what the songs mean to Alex, well half the time anyway, when I was younger I would listen to lyrics and take my own thing out of it, and I don’t know if that’s the correct thing, in music you just take what you can out of a song.

I can hear something quite heavy coming out of your dressing room, is there any specific type of music you generally listen to when your own tour.

We all have our own things we listen to with a wide variety of tastes but there’s also a big pool of artist’s that we all enjoy that we would usually cite as influences, we all love Elvis Costello, Alkaline Trio, Hatebreed, Volbeat and we’ve been playing that like non-stop for the past 9 months. But then again we all like different things to, I like really weird, sort of Prog songs, like I love Sorosis and stuff like that and then you’ve got Brandon who’s into a lot of pop music. When you’re in a band you’ve got to just soak up music because you’re honed into what you’re playing so it’s always nice to branch out and listening to other stuff. Listening to music that we enjoy, that’s why we do this in the first place, we’re all fans of music and we’re just lucky to be playing it for a living.

The next 3 questions are about who you’ve played with, who you’d love to play with and best venue you’ve played in. I’ll start with what’s the best place on the planet you’ve played to, in terms of crowd participation and things like that?

That’s another hard one, um, the past few shows have been really cool, being from California, playing on the other side of the planet it’s just a childhood dream come true, the UK is always amazing because they always love music; it’s cool to play to people who love the music that they’re coming to see. I mean, I was that kid who loved going to shows, in a lot of ways I still am that kid, but we always have a good time and that’s one thing that’s for sure.

You’ve played with numerous bands either at festivals or actually went out on tour with them, whose the best artist that you’ve either toured with or seen live?

Best, um, well I’ve been a Deftones fan since I was around 15/16 and when we got to tour with them in the States in 2006 and I was just like a kid in a candy store, the 17 year old in me was just freaking out every night, and being on tour with them, walking down the hallways and when we passed by I’d try to play it cool rather than go insane. We then toured with Sepultura on our first ever time in Europe and I was just trying to keep the child in me controlled. I mean, I bought my first Sepultura CD when I was like 14 and I only really bought it because the cover looked cool, I never had a clue who they were and then I listened to it and things just took off from then.

Finally for this part, if you could play with anybody, living or dead, who would it be?

I’d have to say Metallica, they’re pretty much the reason I started this thing, well started paying attention to music, I mean, I grew up in quite a musical background but then I discovered Metallica and just thought “wow, I never knew music could be like this”. We’ve played festivals with them but we’ve never got to meet them or tour with them, I know other guys who’ve met Metallica and I can’t help but be jealous of them.

Your obviously the only American band on the bill, how does it feel being on a tour with two bands being touted as “The Future Of British Metal”?

Um, I kind of like it, we’re so use to touring with US bands its kind of cool to be the foreigner, I don’t know, it’s always nice to be so far away from and playing music to thousands of kids every night, it’s nice being, not the outsider, but like I said, the foreigner in the group.

And just on a more personal question, what’s it like trying to balance family with being on tour.

It’s not easy, definitely not. Two of us are married, Alex and Brandon are both married, and you know, you miss a lot of birthdays and holidays.

Do they bring their families out or do they stay at home?

When they can they bring them out, but I mean, this is our job, this is what we do, when we’re home we’re not going to work with them. But yeah, it’s definitely a balance, it isn’t easy on either party, we knew that getting into it, but it is definitely a give and take and you just need to learn to deal with it. But I have seen relationships crash and burn and some really fucked up shit when bands are on tour, so it isn’t easy but so far so good for us.

Thanks for taking the time for this interview and good luck.

Yeah no problem.

     

About Scott

I'm a fun-loving 18 year old Student from the sunny shores of Scotland! I love almost all kinds of metal and rock and always looking for new bands. A website designer as well as wanting to do journalism, I can be contacted about anything and everything on either Twitter or by Email.

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