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Atreyu’s Alex Varkatzas Talks The Concept Of Metalcore & The Band’s Upcoming Australian Visit

Written by Mike Hohnen on October 17, 2016

The return of Atreyu is sure to go down in the annuls of heavy music as one of the greatest reunions of the scene. Following years of silence, the band were back with tour dates, and a brand new album Long Live.

Now, some months after the fact, it doesn’t look as though the seminal group is losing any steam. The band announced their second trip Down Under since reuniting, this time with Bullet For My Valentine. It’s a tour straight out of the good old days and Music Feeds spoke to vocalist Alex Varkatzas all about it.

Music Feeds: How’s everything in your world right now?

Alex Varkatzas: I am lucky enough to be home with my wife and kids for a couple of days before we head out on Warped Tour, we leave in two days.

MF: It’s been far too long since Atreyu has performed on Warped Tour!

AV: Yeah man, it’s been ten years since we’ve played Warped Tour, I think. It’ll be fun to get back out there. We’re gettin old, man

MF: You’ve got plenty more work ahead of you. Soon you’ll be heading down for an Australian tour with Bullet For My Valentine, which is great seeing as you were here not too long ago for Soundwave. Did it take much to convince you to come back so soon?

AV: Short answer: No. First off, I’m a picky guy. I have a discerning palate. Some of the bands that we tour with…I don’t necessarily like all of them, how’s that? And they probably don’t like us so the feeling is mutual. But, I enjoy Bullet. I enjoy them as people and I enjoy them musically. Like they’re crazy dudes in a rock band but I genuinely believe Matt and the guys are nice, lovely dudes.

So when somebody like that whom you actually like and respect asks you to go on tour to one of your favourite places in the world – and that’s not ass kissing – I’m more than happy to do it. It’s ano-brainer.

My wife and I went for a two-week or so honeymoon in Australia. It’s a great place.

MF: You announced the reunion then announced a new album Long Live. Now that it’s had some time to find its footing, how do you think the album went down with the fans?

AV: I think it went over well. I think we surprised some people. One of the fun things about making music and being in a band is not letting people know what to expect a lot of the time. I think that Long Live, nobody really knew what to expect, and I think what we did was the right thing. It was a super heavy, aggressive record; it was fun to make and fun to play. So I’m stoked.

I think it may have surprised people who were maybe disappointed with our last release, or the one before that for whatever reason. I think Long Live brings a lot of people back into the fold. We’ve still got some more rockin’ to do.

MF: Do the negative comments compound over the years and become harder to push through when it comes to making more music?

AV: You know what, I’ve never really functioned on that level of trying to please people. Instead of please people, I like to wow people. I want either shock and awe or bone-crushing disappointment.

MF: You played Soundwave, now Warped, a lot of the bands you’re playing with must be directly influenced by you, are you seeing that these days?

AV: Now that we’re back there’s definitely a bit of that vibe…It’s cool when now, I guess some of our peers and stuff, they’re like ‘Hey I listen to you guys, you meant something to me’ That means something to me, you know? Like Rancid. I love that band, that band is directly responsible for me playing music just by their sheer existence.

There was some article that just got passed across my desk and the singer from The Amity Affliction was talking about us. The singer listens to us, or something like that. Poor guy, you know? But that’s a cool thing for him to say. I just wish he was listening to a better band but we’ll take it bro, we love compliments. You know, you’re welcome.

MF: I did wonder what it must be like for Atreyu, being fans of the music but not being able to be fans of Atreyu, such a culturally important artifact for us.

AV: It’s a lot more interesting and fun to be part of something that develops. Banks like Poison The Well, Atreyu, Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God…fuck I feel like I’m forgetting some of my friends who were from the time period and age, because Bullet are a bit younger than us. I feel like these bands, we kind of created a sound. We all sound a little different – Lamb of God on the heavier end of the spectrum but we’re all singing, screaming metal bands. When we were doing that at first, nobody else sounded like us. I mean, my influences are Rancid and Sepultura who sound nothing like Atreyu.

So now when people ask me ‘What do you think of Metalcore‘ I’m like ‘I don’t even know what that is.’ When we grew up there wasn’t Metalcore – I don’t know what that is. So when people are like ‘You’re kings of metalcore!‘ and this and that…I like punk, I like hardcore, and I like metal, but things are different now.

Now there are fans who just like that particular type of music and they label themselves as that, that’s interesting to me. I think it’s cool to be some sort of little footnote in a musical genres history.

MF: Now that you’re heading Down Under again, what’s on the cards? Will you be doing some Tattoos like on Warped?

AV: Yeah man I’m thinking about doing some tattoos down under but I’m thinking there’s some legal work that might be sketchy but I’m going to look into it. Another thing I’m going to do when I’m down there is hit some Fitness First, hit the beach…and honestly, Australian McDonalds. It’s great over there my friend.

MF: And before I let you go, what does the future hold for Atreyu, are there new album plans?

AV: You never know what tomorrow will bring but the tentative plan is January, February, March, -‘question-mark-timeframe’ – we start working on a new record and then I would say fall of 2017 maybe a new record will come out. Question mark? We’re going for it, baby. This is some of the closest we’ve put out a record together. We’ve gone from our biggest gap to like a two-year period. We’re gonna do our damnedest.

Atreyu’s Australian tour alongside Bullet for My Valentine kicks off this week. See details below.

Bullet for My Valentine 2016 Tour Dates

With Atreyu

Tickets on sale now

Thursday, 20th October
Metro City, Perth – 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, 21st October
HQ, Adelaide – 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Monday, 24th October – NEW SHOW
170 Russell, Melbourne – 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Tuesday, 25th October – SOLD OUT
170 Russell, Melbourne – 18+
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Thursday, 27th October

Big Top, Sydney – Lic A/A
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, 28th October
Eatons Hill, Brisbane – Lic A/A
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

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