Atreyu has released five studio albums since their inception in 1998, and recently surprised fans with an announcement stating they were on indefinite hiatus. Since then, several of the members have gone on to solo projects. This would include guitarist Travis Miguel, who would form Fake Figures with Bob Bradley formerly from Scars Of Tomorrow. With the help of new recruits (including Rus Martin from Hotwire), Fake Figures became a thriving entity, recently unleashing a debut EP entitled Hail The Sycophants.
In this interview, Travis Miguel discusses his new band and the various members, the current status of Atreyu, a friendly rivalry with Avenged Sevenfold, his advice for bands seeking a record deal, and many other topics of interest. Read on…
How long has Fake Figures been is existence and was the band already in the planning stages prior to Atreyu’s hiatus?
The initial idea for the project came about a few years ago, long before Atreyu decided to go on vacation. I’d have a few weeks here and there between tours to trade ideas back and forth with Bob Bradley (bass), and then off I’d go again. So this chunk of down-time from Atreyu has allowed us to concentrate on Fake Figures.
Is there any story behind the band name Fake Figures and who came up with it?
Ha, nothing too exciting really. When we trying to decide on a name we were demoing rough ideas for songs at our drummer’s house and Rus and I got to talking about the Twilight Zone and how even today, a lot of those episodes are really creepy. In the episode “After Hours“, a young girl finds out she’s really a mannequin or a “fake figure”. So we all kinda looked at each other and did the whole, “well that could be a cool name”. It doesn’t really mean anything at all…just kinda sounds cool…looks good on a shirt.
How did the other Fake Figures members become involved with the project?
Most were or are in some pretty well known bands. – We’re all basically in the same circles of friends. I’ve known Bob for a number of years through his time in Scars of Tomorrow. Atreyu and Scars played many a show together when we were coming up and then we eventually took them out on tour with us in ’05. He and I have always had pretty similar tastes in music. He kinda just asked me out of the blue if I wanted to start a project and I delightfully agreed. We didn’t even really know exactly what kind of project we wanted it to be, we just knew we wanted to do it. I’ve known Justin Pointer (drums) since we were in high school and have played in a few bands with him when we were younger. He also played for SS Nova with Bob. Next, came the bitch of a task of finding a singer. We didn’t really know any singers who would fit the music we were writing. We held a brief online audition, and most of what we got was the generic metalcore thing. We wanted someone who sounded like “Rus from Hotwire“. We figured why not just ask “Rus from Hotwire?” At first he was a little apprehensive about doing loud music again, but when he heard some of the rough demos we were working with, he jumped onboard. We initially planned on being a 4-piece, but all the guitar parts ended up becoming more and more layered. So we figured we’d need a 2nd guitarist. We called up our friend Heather Baker enthusiastically joined the fold.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Hail The Sycophants?
You’d have to ask Rus about that one. A sycophant is basically an ass kissing self serving parasite, so make of it what you will.
Where did you get the ideas for some of the lyrical content? Please select two songs from Hail The Sycophants and what inspired the lyrics.
Rus writes all the lyrics. He usually pretty vague and open-ended with his words. We like the idea of songs being open to interpretation. But, this is was Rus had to say about “Something Deadly“..”The inspiration to the lyrics on this one was primarily from the shooting in Arizona and Fort Hood. Also, how generally there is something deadly being birthed in someone around the world everyday…it’s just a matter of IF & WHEN they decide to release the monster. We can’t escape the manifestation of this kind of psychology, just try to better recognize it from its inception.” And this is what he had to say about “Day of Peril“…”it’s about the day in your life when you’ve hit rock bottom and you find yourself searching for a shovel to dig deeper rather than climbing back up.”
What could one expect from a live Fake Figures show?
Well, I doubt you’ll see us jogging in place or doing any leg squats in rhythm. Rus probably won’t show the audience the palm of his hand that isn’t holding the mic as he sings. I dunno…we just plug in, play, and have fun. Not a single fuck is given when we play.
Atreyu played all over the world on some pretty huge tours. Does it feel like starting all over with Fake Figures, and what experience from Atreyu do you being into the new band?
I think there are certain aspects of it that feel like it’s starting over which makes it exciting. But when we were younger and starting bands, we were all really green and naive. That naivite isn’t really present anymore….or I should say, it isn’t AS present anymore.
What advice would you give a new band seeking a record deal?
Plan on working hard for very little return. When we were starting out, the advent of the internet was just starting to blossom. Landing a record deal sure as hell didn’t guarantee any kind of success and that’s more prevalent today than ever. Nowadays, it’s really easy for bands to record, release, and promote their music on their own, which if you think about it, can be a blessing and a curse. Because it’s so easy, thousands of bands are doing it, and of these thousands of bands, which ones and how many will actually get attention? It’s harder to tour now than it’s ever been, so of these bands that may actually get any attention, will they be able to make enough money to tour? Even if they do tour, breaking even would be considered a miracle. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
Since both bands are from the same area, did Atreyu ever feel like there was any friendly competition with Avenged Sevenfold and their success?
There was probably some subconscious healthy competition, but no one obsessed over it or anything. We all basically just played as hard and as well as we all could. One of my first shows with Atreyu was at a backyard party with Avenged playing as well. It’s amazing to see how far we got since then…even more amazing as to how far they got. They sure as hell deserve it.
Do you still keep in touch with the other Atreyu members since the hiatus and what do you think of their various new projects?
We all still keep in touch. Whether it’s hanging out at the bar or stupid inside jokes via text or facebook. They’ve all seen Fake Figures play. I’ve seen Hell or Highwater play numerous times. Marc and I just saw Brandon (Hell or Highwater) play in LA not that long ago.. I absolutely love the other dudes’ projects. HoH is probably the most catchiest thing I’ve heard in a while. Alex’s Iamwar project is awesome as well. Shit’s piiiiisssed. I love it.
What was it like working with Shaun Lopez of Far and what did he bring to the overall recording process?
It was pretty surreal for us, being that we’re all longtime Far fans. It’s weird, but in a very good way. If you told me when I was 18 that Shaun Lopez would be involved in a record I was making, I would’ve laughed in your face in disbelief. We had a few rough mixes that Shaun wasn’t involved with and after listening to what he did to it after we handed it over to him, our jaws just dropped. He gave the overall sound and vibe a huge kick in the ass.
What’s up next for Fake Figures?
We’ve slowly started writing new stuff…bouncing ideas back and forth off each other and whatnot. We’re gonna be playing live as much as we can. We’ll be playing a couple of shows with Will Haven in early Feb which is a big deal for Bob and I seeing as how we grew up on a very healthy diet of Will Haven.
Any messages for longtime Atreyu fans wanting to check out what Fake Figures has to offer?
It’s a heavy record, but probably not in the way most Atreyu fans are used to. Judge it for what it is, not for what it isn’t. You’re either gonna get it, or you won’t. I’ve seen a couple of posts here and there saying something to the effect of “…but it’s not Atreyu.” Well, yeah, no shit genius. It doesn’t say Atreyu on the cover does it? Nailbomb didn’t sound like Sepultura. S.O.D. didn’t sound like Anthrax. PIL didn’t sound like the Sex Pistols. Postal Service doesn’t sound like Death Cab, Team Sleep doesn’t sound like Deftones, etc. It’s the reason side projects exist; to branch out and do something different. But, with that being said, enjoy!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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