Atreyu will soon be back on Australian shores touring alongside Bullet For My Valentine and Cane Hill. We caught up guitarist Dan Jacobs ahead of the tour to talk about their newest album Long Live and the tour.

SCENEzine
How’s 2016 going for you?

Dan Jacobs
It’s been good it’s been fun. We’ve been a lot busier than we have in the past half of a decade so it’s nice to be out and about getting to travel around the world again. It’s been fun it’s a good time it’s definitely where we belong.

SCENEzine
It’s around a year since your newest album Long Live was released. Looking back are you stoked with how it all turned out?

Dan Jacobs
Yeah I think for us the album is the first album of round two of Atreyu. With that approach we started off heavier and more aggressive like we did on our earlier albums. I think that’s a good foundation for us to build the next few albums as far as our overall goal. It’s been fun getting to play “do you know who you are” live. It’s kind of got that big Queen “we will rock you” vibe where people can clap along with it’s big chorus and duelling guitar solos all the good stuff. It’s been amazing so far and we are kind of wrapping it up in Australia so it’ll be nice to round it off with you guys.

SCENEzine
When you went into the studio for the album since it’s been a few years break did it take you guys a while to click again?

Dan Jacobs
No strangely enough it’s kind of like as they say riding a bike. We have always had a special chemistry when it comes to writing. Especially Alex, Brandon and myself we’ve been playing together twenty plus years now back since we were kids. We’ve always had a connection and I think because of that we know exactly how everybody writes and how they think. If we get stuck at a part somebody else can pick up the flag and keep moving. With this album it was actually one of the easier albums to write as far as how excited we were to write it and how many ideas we had in our back pockets ready to go.

I think that made it easier to get through it. Sometimes after you’ve written an album you get to a point where your like man I feel like we’ve done everything what can we do now that we haven’t already done to make people think we’re not doing the same thing over and over again. It came out pretty easily luckily it was really fun.

SCENEzine
During the bands hiatus I imagine you went into the desert to find yourself?

Dan Jacobs
(laughs) No lucky we all found some other cool opportunities to get involved with. Some of it musical or music related. Myself I played with a band called Angels Fall for a bit it was a really good time I met some awesome people in the process. I went on one of the most obscure tours I’ve ever been on in my life. After all of the years of touring I’ve ever done that tour is still hands down the strangest tour I’ve ever been on in my entire life. There was a story from everyday it’s mind blowing how crazy it was in the strangest way.

So aside from that I have a merchandising company called rock world merchandise. We make t-shirts, hats and anything really for companies like Rock star energy drink and Monster all kinds of stuff. You might of seen them on the internet we make these things called jack racks which are basically wall mounted key chain holders that look like guitar amps. You plug your keys in using a guitar cable quarter inch jack. It looks like your keys are plugged into a guitar amp. We’ve been doing that for a little while. I’ve been diversify myself the other dudes have been doing different things.

Alex tattoos now he had a gym for a little while. Myself Brandon and Travis all do song writing for other bands or TV commercials things like that. Marc does a lot of art like album artwork or for t-shirts for bands. It helped us all grow as people by taking the time off and giving ourselves an opportunity to focus on something as passionately as we do with our music. Now we have all of these things that we are really passionate about it’s pretty cool.

SCENEzine
You released an awesome video for the song “Long live”. Was that a cool experience to make?

Dan Jacobs
It was actually, in the sense especially that it was Marc’s first time directing something like this. Normally we hire someone to direct our videos but Marc had this vision because he’s the one that did the album artwork and everything as well. He’s a genius with all of that stuff. He was like lets do something where the album artwork also compliments the music video so that it’s all one cohesive thing. We basically based it off that, it was fun. We got to go to all these cool locations and we had stunt people there.

We know a lot of really amazing talented people that are our friends and have watched them grow over the years into successful talented people at what they do. We are able to call them in when we needed their help with the shooting of it. Without having to spend tons of money we were able to make something that we are really proud of it came out really cool.

SCENEzine
Another crowd favourite from the album is “Do you know who you are”. Did that song come quickly in the writing process?

Dan Jacobs
Yeah actually it’s such a simple song a lot of the song is driven by the groove of the kick and the snare and even the stomping clapping kind of like “we will rock you” Queen vibe. Most of the song was that aside from that it was just like let’s come up with a chorus more than anything. A big open kind of vibe chorus to compliment the big vibe of it all. From there once you get moving it kind of writes itself. All it is other than that is writing the melody and guitar solo.

SCENEzine
Throughout Atreyu’s career your love of shredding and solo’s is evident where did this love come from?

Dan Jacobs
When I started really getting into music when I was about seventh grade I really loved music. I was looking through my parents records and things like that but when I started pursuing my own new music one of the first bands I found was Warrant before that I was listening to Queen a lot. Bands like that to me just blew my mind how the guitar solos would sing to you.

I thought that was really cool but it died off a little bit when the grunge scene was taking over. I started taking guitar lessons in this class that was guitar lessons but you did it with a whole band. One of the songs they wanted to do was “Panama” by Van Halen this guy with a mullet came in he was in his mid 40’s and played drums. He said the song I want to do is “Panama”. I’d never heard anything like that other than Warrant years prior. I was listening to the song and was like oh my god what is this dude. Eddie Van Halen was fucking ripping away in the most gnarly chaotic yet controlled guitar solo I had ever heard. I was used to listening to Warrant which is more buttery melodic solo’s but this was different. Just like controlled insanity.
I had to learn the guitar solo to play the song, ever since I was like I want to learn how to play guitar solos more like Eddie Van Halen and all the other 80’s dudes that were similar.

SCENEzine
Are you excited to be coming down to Australia with Bullet For My Valentine and Cane Hill?

Dan Jacobs
Yeah all those dudes are incredible humans and all really fun to hang with and party with. We’ve known the Bullet guys for over a decade we’ve been touring with them for years. Even touring with them and Avenged Sevenfold over in Australia back in 2008. It’s cool to be able to tour with guys we’ve been with for that long there’s not many bands that have made it as long as we have them and us included. Aside from that Cane Hill they are a band that we met recently we are both managed by the same company so we run into them a lot. We took them out on tour for a little bit. They are a good group of young dudes that are really talented and doing something a little bit different which is refreshing. Its going to be awesome we have a solid tour anybody that’s coming out to see this tour is going to get their face melted.

SCENEzine
Do you have a favourite Australian touring memory?

Dan Jacobs
Yeah I’d say probably the first time we were in Melbourne we were doing two nights because you do the underage show and then the overage show. For the underage show it was sold out and we played the show it was absolutely insane. It was our first time in Australia and we were like holy shit this Australia is the best place in the world this is crazy. So we get off stage and we walk out the back and they have vans that take you from the venue back to your hotel. We get out there and the van had already pulled up and there’s tons of people everywhere surrounding our van. We were like what the fuck what are we the Beatles we had never seen anything like this before. We were just some young hardcore band from Orange County who had never been to Australia before. We were never a band that thought we would have that kind of response. So we had to squeeze past people to get in the van and as we were driving away everyone was applauding and cheering. We were like what the fuck, we’ve never had anything like that before. It was definitely a milestone moment for us. Not just in Australia but in our career.

SCENEzine
Back in the mid 2000’s your album The Curse was huge and so was Myspace. Do you think it was easier back then for people to discover new bands?

Dan Jacobs
Yeah I think it’s harder now just because it’s so much more accessible and people are much more computer savvy and social media savvy. So because of that there’s a lot of competition.
Everybody can be a Youtube star, everybody can be in a band. Or everybody can be a DJ and put something together. You can just go buy a laptop and have garage band on it and you literally can record album quality stuff on your computer then throw it on the internet to compete with the other millions of people that are trying to do the exact same thing.

Don’t quote me on this but we could of been potentially the first band to get signed because of the internet. Like found on the internet and signed because of it. Way back in 2001 we just had a website that we put up and posted a song that we did on this website. It was super old school style where basically somebody out there that was really into trying to find random new bands found our website somehow and listened to this song and really liked it. He happened to be friends with this girl named Kathy who worked at Victory Records and said hey check this band out then she emailed us. We had sent our CD out to everybody in the hardcore scene except for Victory Records and nobody emailed us back except for Victory Records who we hadn’t emailed. They emailed us and we thought it was a joke and told them to fuck off first because we were like we didn’t even send you anything how do you even know who we are. They said somebody found us on the internet and told Victory about us and we ended up getting signed because of it.

SCENEzine
Lastly you guys do a great cover of Bon Jovi’s “You give love a bad name”. How did the decision come about to cover that song?

Dan Jacobs
We wanted to do something 80’s those songs are so big and sound so timeless. We wanted a big 80’s rock song and especially one that a lot of people are familiar with. It’s fun for us because we love that song but when you play live especially at festivals or at a show where your not the headlining band. If you play in front of an audience that has never seen you live before or is not that familiar with your songs if you play a song like that it gives them one songs that they can engage in and they are familiar with. They are like oh I know this song now I feel like I’m part of the show I have a connection with this band now. Because I got to participate with them and I’m not just standing there not knowing any of their songs.
So that’s our song for that.

(Interview by Christian Ross)

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