Californian metalcore heavyweights Atreyu will be returning to Australian shores in 8 short days for the No Sleep Til Festival series, wrapping up the bulk of the tour cycle of their latest record ‘Congregation of the Damned’. The band also recently release a collection of covers called ‘Covers of the Damned’ with touring bandmates Architects, Endless Hallway, Blessthefall and Chiodos. We caught up with Atreyu’s drummer Brandon Saller to talk Australia, Atreyu, side projects and pumpkin curry.

Well Brandon, it’s been a couple of years now – the last time out was with Bullet and Avenged  Sevenfold in 2008 yeah?

Yeah it’s been a while – that tour was absolutely incredible. I’d say one of the best tours we’ve ever done.

Excited to be part of the No Sleep Til Lineup?

We are very psyched, we were planning on coming out to Australia anyway but to be a part of this festival is definitely a privilege. The lineup is amazing!

Too right, you’re a fan of the other bands then?

Absolutely, we can’t wait to see check out NOFX and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes… all the bands are amazing.

The covers of the damned EP – how did that all come about?

It was just our way of doing something special for the US tour we were doing and giving our fans something new. It was fun doing something different and collaborating with the other bands on the tour. While we all normally do our own records but then tour with other bands – we kind of decided that we’d mix the two together. We were touring with the other bands [Architects, Blessthefall, Chiodos and Endless Hallway] for six weeks, so we collectively figured we would do something cool for the fans.

Well I must say I’m impressed – The Aerosmith and Deftones covers were great. You’ve released quite a few covers now, including perhaps most famously Epic and You Give Love a Bad Name – do you ever incorporate them into your live set?

Thanks man, we do every now and then. We have been doing that Bon Jovi cover for years, and we have been doing that Aerosmith cover a little bit on this tour. We’re the sort of band that just play it by ear though, so every show is different.

You’ve had a good year of touring off the back of Congregation, did you notice the crowd reaction to the new songs increase as time went on?

Definitely, it happens with every record. As more and more people get their hands on the record, the reaction grows and playing new songs becomes a lot more fun for us.

Where can you see the next album heading?

It’s hard to say at the moment, but I would say there will definitely be some heavier moments on the Atreyu horizon. We want to take Congregation and beef it up a bit. We love Congregation but there is definitely more nastiness and balls to Atreyu and we’d like to see it come out in the next record.

Atreyu are a band that incorporate a lot of different genres into the mix, on a personal level though – who are some of your biggest influences?

My influences run all across the board, I grew up on Tom Petty and he has influenced me greatly. As far as metal goes I have always been into In Flames and modern metal bands like that.

Mad, you’ve recently been doing some solo stuff as well?

Yes I have, my solo project is called ‘Black Cloud Collective.’

Are you planning on putting a solo record out soon?

Absolutely – sooner rather than later hopefully. I’ll be touring off that as well, would be awesome to come down to Australia!

What do you prefer, obviously you get very different vibes playing with BCC to Atreyu?

It’s a whole different world. Atreyu is very aggressive and BCC is much more rock-based. It’s a whole different style of songwriting and I love it because I don’t get to write in that style with Atreyu. It’s also great being up the front playing guitar, I love drums but it’s exciting not sitting up the back for once. I don’t prefer either, just love both.

What’s the plan after Australia?

After the holidays I think we will sit down and evaluate what we want to do. I think we will probably do a little more touring off the Congregation record, I’ll put out this solo album…Well I guess it’s not really a solo album, it’s more of a side project…And yeah, we will just go from there – The next Atreyu record won’t be too far away.

What’s the strangest interview question you’ve ever been asked?

It’s always funny when you’re interviewing people from foreign countries and the language barrier comes into play. I did an interview not long ago when someone asked me ‘This new record isn’t as good as your last one, why?’ You can’t really answer questions like that, the international interviews sometimes get a little strange but it’s usually due to the language barrier which is understandable.

If the world were to follow you now, where would you lead them?

To the top of a mountain. I don’t even know why I said that, but it would be cool. Definitely in a positive direction, the world’s a crazy place at the moment so I would lead them to a place that would make everyone smile.

You’ve been here a few times now, developed a taste for any local cuisine?

Oh my god yes, every time I got to Melbourne I have to go to a restaurant called Veg Out Time, they have this crazy-good pumpkin curry. It’s probably the best thing I have ever eaten, so if you could get on to Veg Out Time and get them to bring me some Pumpkin Curry at No Sleep To Melbourne that would be awesome.

I’ll have to check it out! I think we’re out of time mate, but I’ll be seeing you at No Sleep Til Melbourne – Have a great time while your over here!

Will do bud, see you soon Australia.

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