It has been very quiet around Californian metal band Atreyu in the past couple of years. So we at RMP were over the moon when we heard the news that they were touring once again and releasing a new album! We, of course, like to share with you the resurrection of Atreyu and sat down at Groezrock to have a chat with guitar player Dan about their hiatus, the Never Ending Story and their many influences.
- Hi Dan, and welcome to Belgium. This year you and the guys are playing mostly big festivals like Pukkelpop,Reading festival and Rock Fest all over the world. Are you looking forward to this tour?
It's nice, we don't want to tour as heavily as we used to. We still want to be very active as far as performing but not just aggressively touring all the time. We’d like to cover a lot more ground by hitting the festivals, just to get to a lot more people faster.
- Today you'll play Groezrock festival. Is this your first time at Groezrockand how do you feel about the festival ?
It's awesome; it looks like there are tons of people here. Everyone seems to be having a really good time, it's so early in the day and people are having so much fun already. And the sun is out, I feel like I'm in California.
- In 2011 you decided to take a break. If we may ask, why did you take a break for a while ?
We were just a little bit burned out. We’ve just been touring for too long, too much. The fun was kind of coming out of it. We weren't that inspired any more.All the essential elements needed to be there to really be the best musician, best band, best songwriter that we could be weren't there anymore. We needed to take a step back, recharge essentially. We needed to plug ourselves back in the end of the wall for like four or five years and once were fully charged to jump back in the game again.
- After more than four years the band is back together. Is it different now than before the break ?
A little bit, we're a little bit older and wiser. We have a different perspective now of how we look at everything and do everything. We just try to be a bit smarter about how we handle our business. Like before it was “Who cares?Jjust go crazy and be rock stars” Now we try to be a bit more careful with what shows we play and where we play and how often we play; everything from merch to the presentation of our overall product that is Atreyu. I feel a little bit more confident now because we are a bit more knowledgeable.
Atreyu returned to the stage on September 14, 2014 at the Afershock festival in Sacramento, California. How did it feel to be back up on stage as Atreyu after all this time?
It feels good, especially since it's been that long. I was a little nervous. Can I still play? Do people going to still care? The first show you come back and it had sold out in like thirty seconds which is the fastest we ever sold out a show. That's a nice start. We'll take that. Feels like home to be back on stage.
- You’re band name comes from the main character Atreyu, from the movie the Never Ending story. Why the choice for this character ?
Initially we were another band called Retribution. Alex, Brandon and myself, we wanted to change our name as our music style was progressing. Something that was fresh and new to go along with that. A lot of the bands we were into were getting their names from sci-fi movies, fantasy, horror, movie character names or comic book titles, stuff like that. So we were looking into and the Never Ending Story came up and the lead character Atreyu was the one that fit the most.
- The band made a great cover for the song “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. Why did you choose this song in particular ?
I personally am a big fan of the classic 70-80's style rock. Everything was over the top with that. I feel there's a lot of that element mixed in with Atreyu. So I feel covering a song like that and doing it in Atreyu style just felt really appropriate. It's a fun song and everyone knows it so when we play it it's a fun time.
- The song “Her Portrait In Black” was the soundtrack of the movie “Underworld: Evolutions”. How was it to be a part of the soundtrack for this movie?
Just one of those things our label hit us up with. “Hey, these guys are interested in doing something with you.” We were like “Cool!” The song was actually to be on our third record, ‘A Death Grip On Yesterday’. We ended it up taking it off the record so it could be exclusively on this soundtrack. Which was cool but I really wish we could have put it on the album, it's such a rad song.
- The screaming guitar parts are a recognisable part of Atreyu. What bands influenced you on the guitar parts ?
I'm a big fan of all the 80's stuff, like Van Halen, Def Leppard, stuff like that. Scorpions,Queen even, I just love how over the top their playing was and how melodic it is. There's so much talent, just very inspiring to watch. Not being the lead singer but being worshipped like they are. For me that was always something I wanted to pursue, I wanted to be like a guitar hero. I don't just want to be the guitar player in the band.
- I heard you have a nickname, “Big Dan”. Is this correct ? And why “Big Dan” ?
It's kind of an ironic nickname I got when I was fourteen years old. I was one of the smallest dudes out of my group of friends but I got a big personality. So I feel my presentation of myself is larger and maybe for even more adult reasons. It just stuck.
- On record store day you released a 7” with the old song “So Others May live” and a brand new song “When The Day Is Done”. Why did you decide to release the new song in this way?
“So Others May Live” we wrote within the last year. So it's still pretty new. We put it out, just kind of give people a taste. We did a video for it and then “When The Day Is Done” is another song we recorded at the same time but hadn't had the chance to release yet. We never done a 7” record before, I have tons of 7”s at home. So we felt it was really appropriate. Especially for a band like us that grew up going to record stores. That was a big part of our lives. That's how you discovered new music. If you wanted a new style or didn't know what to get you could go to the guy of the record store and he was like the human box of Pandora. You just take the gamble and buy it.
- So how do you feel on the internet and how music is everywhere now?
It's really good and really bad at the same time. It's really good in the sense that it's so much easier to access new band’s music but in the same time because it's so accessible I feel a lot of people get lost in the mix. It's really hard to stand out. Before there weren’t many people on the internet so it was easier to get noticed. We were one of the first bands to get noticed through the internet in the early 2000's. I'm a fan of it because I wouldn't be here without it. You lose that kind of nostalgic feeling of going to the record store, read through the booklet, read all the lyrics, look at the artwork. Now you just go click a button and in a download you get that instant gratification that makes you not appreciate the music as you would have as it was harder to get.
- At the moment the band is working on a new album named “Long Live” that will be released in September of this year. What can we aspect from this album and what do you hope?
It's just the new Atreyu. It sounds like everything we've done in the past but it's a more updated version of it. It's a lot more aggressive than our last two records. I won't say too much, I want people to form their own opinion. If you like Atreyu you’re going to love this record.
- Any last words for our readers?
No, just good to be back. Especially here in Belgium, we always loved coming here. Good beer, good people. Just glad to be back.
– Jolien Krijnen & Frederik Geuvens