Fright Exclusive Interview With ATREYU’s Alex Varkatzas!!

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Orange County’s Atreyu made quite the name for themselves, releasing their debut EP in 1998, followed by five studio albums of bone-crushing songs, showcasing an intensity mixed with impressive melody at the same time. Taking a much needed break in 2011, the members jumped into various other ventures, with vocalist Alex Varkatzas teaming up with Bleeding Through vocalist Brandan Shiapetti for the I AM WAR record, drummer/vocalist Brandon Saller taking the frontman role with his band Hell Or Highwater, etc. We touched base with guitarist “Big Dan” Jacobs last year, during the band’s hiatus (here), in which Jacobs mentioned a possible reunion in the future.

Fans of the band are getting ready to be treated to that reunion, as the band is back and ready to go with a handful of shows, as well as releasing “So Others May Live“, a free track that takes fans back to that signature sound that the band was quite known for. A juggernaut of a song, with an equal dose of melody, the track takes a welcomed political approach, showing a new side of the band (in a great way). Varkatzas was nice enough to answer a few questions we threw his way recently, talking about the band’s downtime, their re-energized outlook and what the future holds for the band. Read on!


Atreyu vocalist Alex Varkaztas

Atreyu vocalist Alex Varkaztas

Let’s just jump right into it: “So Others May Live” hits hard right from the beginning, feeling a lot like something that would’ve been on “The Curse” and also showing that you guys are definitely back and haven’t lost that edge in the time that has passed. The last time Icons of Fright interviewed you, there was talk of “maybe something special for the 10th anniversary of The Curse”, but not a full blown record/reunion. What sparked getting the band back together?

Thanks for taking the time to ask us/me some questions about the band. The band didn’t really break up. We just needed a rest. We have been working hard since we were kids (Brandon, Dan and myself started playing together at 12-14yrs old, chasing this dream of being in a band).

So it was easy when Dan started bringing up the subject of starting to create music again and play some shows. We all do other things now , but Atreyu is a part of who we are and I think we all missed each other, the people who support us and the music. When we took our break, things had stopped being fun because it was like a decade of the same. The time apart made us appreciate what we had and could still do.

In the off-time, you’ve all kept very busy with different full time projects, you run your own gym and also did the I AM WAR album, Brandon sings for HELL OR HIGHWATER, Marc works in the film industry, etc. Is Atreyu getting back together and going for it again putting those things on hold, or are you all able to juggle all of those other ventures?

We are all super lucky to get to do every thing we love. Before, it was overkill on Atreyu. We played too much and to me it became work. We will be active a lot less, work smarter and harder, but no more overkill. You won’t see us in your town 2x a month anymore. For the first time in our careers we dictate 100% of what we do. It’s great.

Fans seem to be responding to the new track in a positive way, and there seems to be a specific message in the song, what was the inspiration of “So Others May Live“?

It’s very nice to see the people who have been supporting us for so long enjoying the song. Extremely encouraging and fun to give something back to them for free. The song was inspired by our deep respect for the US armed forces, and their mistreatment/abuse at hands of our own government.

A good friend of mine is retired USGC. “So that others may live” is their motto, as well us US Airforce Para-rescuse’s. Brave soldiers whose job is putting their ass on the line every time they go out. Basically if you look at the socioeconomic background of the majority of these people, it’s comprised of the middle class and below. No rich politicians, sons and daughters fight the wars that their parents wage. It’s a pretty easy to risk lives when you can’t relate to the people. It’s like kings sending peasants to war. So I praise the troops and condemn the politicians in this one.

Your first show back is at Chain Reaction, a venue that you played many times as you were coming up. What’s it feel like to revisit that venue and play a comeback show for a lot of the fans who were there from the beginning?

We are eagerly anticipating the Chain show. We have been rehearsing a lot and we will be ready. It’s been many years since we played Chain (a place we used to frequently perform).
To be able to return after our break and share this night with some of our originals supporters is super cool. I can’t think of a better first show back .

What can you tell us regarding the upcoming shows/etc? Can fans expect a new album and a bigger tour in the future?

We’re writing a record and hope to be able to discuss actual release dates soon. As for touring , we will play shows, but they will be much more thought out than in the past. We used to play any show that came our way, it was fun but led to our burnout. Now we will put a bit more thought into the offers we accept, and create a much more special show than if you saw us 2-4 times a year. This year we play Chain , Aftershock, and Knotfest , then Sound Wave OZ in Feb/March. We can’t wait.



To get a free download of Atreyu’s “So Others May Live“, visit http://atreyuofficial.com/ and stay up to date with upcoming shows.

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