No one saw it coming. August Burns Red were about to head out on the road with Killswitch Engage. Their new album Guardians was already making waves online with the release of the single “Defender”. Then it happened…
“We fully expect it to impact the album. Our fanbase is older, primarily 25-40. They still buy a lot of physical copies…The tour is postponed for now. We are hoping to do it sometime late summer, but we’re waiting to hear back.” says August Burns Red guitarist Brent Rambler
It may seem silly to focus on an album release in the face of a pandemic that has killed tens of thousands of people around the globe, but Brent’s strikes a certain chord. In times of crisis, people turn to the arts for comfort. With festivals, tours and (in some cases) album releases cancelled or postponed, that has become a lot harder in the past two weeks.
“We didn’t want to make it any worse for our fans,” says Brent about the decision to release Guardians on April 3rd amid the lockdown, “The tour was already cancelled. Our fans are probably out of work. We just didn’t want to take away another thing they were looking forward to.”
“Giving fans something to look forward to is more important to us than collecting another Top 25 release.”
For musicians stuck at home, things can seem pretty up in the air. The big rock stars will weather the storm no matter what, but mid-tier bands like August Burns Red, the shift can be extremely jarring.
“For the band, this is our source of income,” says Brent, “And nobody knows what ‘waiting it out’ will equal. How far down the road are we ‘waiting it out’? Things could keep getting pushed back. Who knows what ‘waiting it out’ could even mean?”
This may seem all doom and gloom. But Brent Rambler has some advice for the bands sticking it out.
“Take advantage of any assistance your government is offering. We’ll be looking into small business relief. If your band is registered as a small business, or as an independent contract, get on it.”
“And to bands that aren’t in our position, sell your merch online and sign up for Stageit (an online venue app that lets musicians livestream concerts). I hear about bands doing Twitch streams even. What it comes down to is your level of confidence, especially if you are a solo or acoustic artist. Or, of course, stay home and write some new music. Home recording is a great thing.”
“But then again, it’s hard to give any advice. I don’t know if this is going to be two months, three months, six months, a year. But none of this is anyone’s fault and nobody should feel bad about taking any help or assistance they can get.”
Guardians is out April 3rd on Fearless Records. Watch for rescheduled tour dates later this year.