On Friday, Grammy-nominated band August Burns Red release their new album Phantom Anthem on Fearless Records. Charged by the singles "Invisible Enemy" and "The Frost," the 11 track album is sure to be one of the biggest metalcore releases of the year. Guitarist Brent Rambler took some time to talk about the new record and gives his thoughts on the evergrowing world of streaming. Next year, the band will embark on their headlining trek for the record, which includes stops at The Showbox in Seattle on Jan. 20, The NorVa in Norfolk on Feb. 13, and Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on Feb. 15. Tickets will go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. local time.
AXS: The new album Phantom Anthem is based around hidden passions / talents inside each of us. What was the catalyst for choosing this theme?
Brent Rambler: Matt named the album based on the thought that we walk by people every day, and we don't think about them or what they have to offer to the world. Sometimes, we never give people a second chance, and that's a mistake because everyone has something of value inside them.
AXS: What is something unique about each of you as individuals that is your "Phantom Anthem" (Ex: how drummer Matt Greiner is secretly / not so secretly a farmer)?
BR: Thanks to social media, I think its hard to keep secrets like that anymore, but here we go:
JB - He has a collection of only Cliff Lee baseball cards. Possibly over 1,000.
Jake - Plays hockey on an intramural hockey team when we are home
Dustin - Loves space...like the universe.
Brent - Has a comic book collection that has eclipsed over 500 different titles
AXS: You worked with longtime producers Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland on the record. What is it about those two that click with the band while recording?
BR: We like working with them because they are our friends and want the band to successful, so they aren't afraid to give us ideas tell us if something should change. Also, Grant is a great vocal producer and helps tremendously in the studio when we track vocals. They grew up listening to a lot of the same music as we did, so we have very similar tastes in music, which really helps for those out of the box moments in our songs. Their studio is literally a 6 block walk from my house, so that's also nice.
AXS: Even with a string of critically acclaimed releases, do you still feel any sort of pressure when working on new material?
BR: We always put the pressure on ourselves to make great records, so we don't really feel any from the outside world. We want our records to be good, so we take the time to make sure they are.
AXS: While streaming has been on the rise and more people seem to be content with singles, do you still feel the overall aspect of the album is still relevant today?
BR: I think that the whole album is still important in this genre of music 100%. Singles are important if you are reaching for radio play, but our music is so abrasive to the average listener that we don't focus on what could or could not be on the radio, because the chances are it won't be. People tend to stream our entire records as much as they stream single songs. I think they like hearing how the songs are supposed to flow together as a full body of work.
AXS: Every single music video the band has ever released has its own unique flair. When it comes to visuals, who normally pitches ideas?
BR: We usually let a director pitch us the idea for a video, and then we choose which one we like the most. Sometimes, we have our own ideas like when Dustin had the idea to make "Identity" a beach themed video.
AXS: Another thing that comes to mind is the album artwork. Records such as Messengers and Rescue & Restore feature some great art. What's the usual process for finding artwork that portrays the album's theme?
BR: We've had the same person create the album artwork for every album. His name is Ryan Clark, and we just think he understands what we like. We just send him the album title, and tell him the gist of what it means, and then he creates the art based on his interpretation. We went back and forth a little more on this record because it is so simple that every little piece stands out, so it needed to be perfect. We think it turned out great.